The Chicago Fire take on red-hot LA Galaxy tonight, who have been in incredible form as of late.
It’s no secret the Fire has continued to struggle, walking away with just a point earlier this week after a draw against Orlando City at home.

If they don’t want tonight to get ugly, which it most definitely can, there are a few things they must do in order to have a chance at beating Riqui Puig and his Galaxy.

1) Stay Defensively Set

LA is a team that looks to take the game to their opponent. They take charge immediately and look to be on the ball as much as possible. It’s a very different style than what the Fire tries to do. Tonight, the Fire need to make sure they are defensively set and organized in the back, ready to take on and absorb a bit of an attack because they will get hit all over the field – on the flanks and centrally through Puig, who loves running at defenders and exposing defensive gaps in the back.


Typically, at home, I would not usually like the Fire to come out defensively. However, you might have to go against an LA Galaxy that is scoring in bunches. In their last 10 games, they have scored 17 goals, only being shut out in two of them. I would like to see the Fire start the match in a 4-5-1, ensuring the center of the field is covered.

A 4-5-1 allows them to play with two center backs and a holding mid just in front of them, along with a left back and a right back.

Clogging the midfield tonight will be important so they can limit Puig’s explosive play. Aside from limiting Puig as much as possible, the fire will need to make sure that they are also mindful of Dejan Joveljić. The center forward has definitely found his form this season in 2024, with nine goals in just 14 league matches.

The Fire need to make sure that when they do get exposed out on the wings, they are tracking Joveljić at all times. He can be dangerous anywhere inside the box.

2) Look to Counter Quickly

As the Fire sit and absorb attacks throughout the night, which is going to happen, undoubtedly, there will be moments in the match where the Fire will find themselves in a perfect position to attack on the counter. They’ll need to take advantage of those opportunities and make the most of them because there won’t be too many.

So, how exactly is this counter-attack scheme going to work? Well, they’ll need a few players to step up and get involved.

I’d love to see Kellyn Acosta sit just above the two center-backs, serving as the clog in the midfield and then being the outlet once they look to counter. He is fantastic at receiving small spaces, which the quick decision-maker at the Fire will need tonight. You can also have Gaston Giménez play the pivot as a 6. However, he has not been a fan favorite lately. I believe he is the perfect player to sit inside the lines and disrupt everything defensively. With Shaqiri being away on international duty, you can either go with Herbers as a 10 or Guti. Both have been quiet in the past few games, but they started the season playing very well. Tonight could be that match that gets them going once again as they look to be that outlet receiver and start the counter. Like all great counter-attacking teams, the fire will need someone wide on the wings to be an option and stretch the field. The good news for the Fire is that they have the perfect player in Maren Haile-Selassie to do that. In my eyes, he has the best 1v1 player we have. His speed and quick footwork allow him to just glide past defenders when dribbling forward. He will need to be ready to receive the ball out wide and stretch the field so that the Fire can counter as quickly as possible.


Once the Fire get the counterattack going, it all comes down to one player inside the box who needs to be extremely hungry tonight, and that is Hugo Cuypers. It’s no secret that his performances this season have been a bit of a letdown; however, he just scored on Wednesday night and looked to be a bit upset when he was immediately subbed off by head coach Frank Klopas. I know there’s only one thing on his mind for tonight, and that is to score once again, proving that he should be on the field for 80-90 minutes. I don’t expect him to get too many chances tonight, but he will get a few, and he needs to be ready for when they come. Crosses into the box, services over the top, and through balls will be his best chances to score in consecutive matches.

3) Sense of Pride


The Chicago Fire and the LA Galaxy are probably two of the most historic MLS teams in the league’s history. Both clubs were at the top of the league in the late 90s and early 2000s. They also had a few slumps throughout the following decade or two. This year, though, for the Galaxy seems to be off to a different start. They sit in second place in the Western Conference with only two losses on the year. Spanish star Riqui Puig has put the team on his back and has really changed things around for the club. Not for tonight, but the Fire needs to remember its roots. They need to remember who they are as a club. All eyes around the league are on Los Angeles because of their great play lately. The Fire needs to use tonight’s matchup to send a message to the league and exclaim that they are not just walking, free 3 points. They need to put on their big boy pants, buckle up, and defend their turf with incredible pride. They need to come out with a sense of urgency and some respect for the colors that they represent.

Throughout the season, there seems to be a lack of heart and passion. They need to take it upon themselves tonight to stand up to the LA Galaxy and somehow take all three points at home. Their season is quickly slipping away.

All playoff hopes appear slim. In the past, most teams that get hot in the summer are usually the teams that do damage and MLS playoffs. Today is June 1, and the Fire must look at tonight as the beginning of a new season.

It all starts tonight for the Men in Red against those fellas from Los Angeles.


Leave Your Thoughts!

Check Also

A Tale of Two DPs

“O, Canada!” The Chicago Fire head north to Canada this Saturday to take on To…