Opening day is here as the Fire travel to Los Angeles to face the two-time defending champion Galaxy. While they're not the same side that captured a second consecutive MLS Cup last December, LA is still very formidable. Of course, Robbie Keane is still the main scoring threat but without David Beckham and Landon Donovan service will be harder to come by particularly if the Fire defense can force the ball onto the feet of the outside mids where the Galaxy have been somewhat lacking over the last two seasons. Even without Beckham in the middle of the park, Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas are dangerous enough for concern and are likely to test Sean Johnson from distance.
The Fire should be more a of a threat offensively on set pieces as Joel Lindpere has been entrusted with cornerkick duties but they must be aware of Omar Gonzalez on the opposite end. The big centerback has already scored two headed goals from corner kicks in his career against the Fire although both came before the duo of Arne Friedrich and Austin Berry shored up Chicago's aerial defense last season.
The Galaxy are in a bit of transition and if they struggle early in the season as they did in 2012, Chicago may be able to get out of Los Angeles with a result.
Fire 1 Galaxy 1
Projected Line Ups
LA: Cudicini; Franklin, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Dunivant; Stephens, Juninho, Sarvas, Clark; Magee, Keane
Chicago: Johnson; Segares, Berry, Friedrich, Anibaba; Duka, Lindpere, Larentowicz, Nyarko; Rolfe, MacDonald
Catch the Live Chat over at Chicago-Fire.com during the match. I'll be joining Jeff Crandall and Stephen Piggott in a shared session with the Galaxy. There should be a lot to talk about in this one.