BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Fire winger Patrick Nyarko didn’t mince words when talking about Sunday’s match against the league-leading LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.
“It’s the biggest game of the year,” Nyarko said. “They are pretty much dominating the entire league, so we have our work cut out for us, especially going over there.”
Although he realizes that the Galaxy will provide a tough test, Nyarko is confident that Chicago can walk out of LA’s home venue with a positive result.
“We just need to worry about ourselves and prepare ourselves mentally,” he said. “We know we’re a good team. On any day, we can beat anyone if we play that total 90-minute game we know we can play.”
And Nyarko does have good reason to be optimistic. Los Angeles, 2-3-1 in their last six games across all competitions, haven’t looked like the herculean team that only lost once in its first 13 MLS games. In a CONCACAF Champions League game on Tuesday night, the Galaxy were hammered at home 4-1 by the Puerto Rico Islanders, a squad that LA were expected to handle relatively easily.
The loss, which LA forward Edson Buddle called “embarrassing,” came a day before midfielder Landon Donovan, goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and defender Omar Gonzalez played in the MLS All-Star Game in Houston. Their participation could make for some tired legs against the Fire, who will be looking to catch LA on the counterattack.
“It’s in the game plan to beat them,” Nyarko said. “We should try to exploit [their fatigue] and hopefully we can do that to perfection and stop them and get the result.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @samstejskal.