CARSON, Calif. (March 2, 2019) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club opened its 2019 MLS regular season with a hard-fought 2-1 loss against the LA Galaxy before 25,866 fans at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday evening. Forward CJ Sapong, who recently joined the Fire, scored the game's opening goal in the first half, tallying his first goal for his new Club.
- WATCH: #LAvCHI Match Highlights
Five players made their debut for the Fire in Saturday's match, including goalkeeper David Ousted, defender Marcelo, midfielders Przemyslaw Frankowski and Cristian Martinez, and Sapong. Saturday's contest marked Marcelo and Frankowski's first appearance in MLS league play, with both players joining the Fire ahead of the 2019 regular season.
The Fire took the lead in the 49th minute of play when Sapong intercepted a misplaced pass in the final third. Running toward goal, Sapong rounded goalkeeper David Bingham and carefully placed his final effort into the back of the net (WATCH).
The Galaxy managed to equalize in the 68th minute of play when a cross into the box found defender Daniel Steres, who nodded the ball into the back of the net from close range. With 10 minutes remaining in the match, the Galaxy took the lead when the ball was deflected to the back post toward forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was able to convert from close range.
Next up, the Fire will host Orlando City SC at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday, March 9. Beginning at 12:00 p.m. CT, the Men in Red's home opener will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and transmitted locally on Univision Radio WRTO AM 1200.
Forward CJ Sapong scored his first career goal for the Fire and the 57th goal of his MLS career.
Four players made their first MLS starts with the Fire, including goalkeeper David Ousted, defender Marcelo, midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski and Sapong.
Saturday's match marked the Fire's 44th regular-season contest against the Galaxy, dating back to 1998.
With Sapong's goal, the Fire have scored 50 goals against the Galaxy since beginning play in MLS in 1998.
Chicago Fire 1:2 LA Galaxy
CHI - Sapong (1) (unassisted) 49'
LA - Steres (1) (Alvarez) 68'
LA - Ibrahimovic (1) (unassisted) 80
CHI - Marcelo (Caution) 44'
Chicago Fire: Ousted; Campos (Hasler 72'), Marcelo, Kappelhof, Corrales; McCarty ©, Schweinsteiger, Frankowski, Mihailovic (Bronico 76'), Katai (Martinez 67'), Sapong
Subs not used: Sanchez, Lillard, Herbers, Nikolic
Shots: 17 Shots on goal: 5 Fouls Committed: 8 Fouls Suffered: 7 Offsides: 2 Corners: 7
LA Galaxy: Bingham; Feltscher, Steres, Polenta, Skjelvik, dos Santos, Carrasco, Alessandrini (Boateng 19'), Cuello (Alvarez 59'), Antuna (Pontius 76'), Ibrahimovic ©
Subs not used: Lampson, Romney, Hilliard-Arce, Araujo
Shots: 13 Shots on goal: 5 Fouls Committed: 7 Fouls Suffered: 8 Offsides: 3 Corners: 9
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson, Jeremy Kieso
VAR: Kevin Stott