March 3, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire
CARSON, Calif. (March 3, 2013) - The Chicago Fire (0-1-0, 0 points) were undone by the two-time defending MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy (1-0-0, 3 points) 4-0 at The Home Depot Center Sunday afternoon. A hat trick from Galaxy forward Mike Magee and a goal from Robbie Keane proved the difference as the Fire were defeated in the first match of the 2013 MLS season.
Head coach Frank Klopas trotted out six returning starters from the Fire's 17-win season in 2012, however, he was without the services of Arne Friedrich and Logan Pause due to late-week injuries to the two veteran players.
The Fire did well to absorb the Galaxy pressure out of the gate and the Men in Red nearly took the lead in the 32nd minute. Chris Rolfe intercepted an errant Carlo Cudicini pass out of the back and dribbled in on goal. The Fire forward pushed his shot just wide of the far post and the match remained level.
The two-time defending MLS Cup champions would get on the board in the 38th minute. Fire defender Steven Kinney attempted to clear the ball out of the penalty area only for it to deflect off of Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant. The deflected ball floated across the box to Magee who smashed a well-timed side volley past Sean Johnson and rippled the net at the near post.
The Galaxy would double their advantage 30 minutes later when Robbie Keane held possession at the top of the area. The Irishman sent a looping pass to the back post finding Magee wide open. Magee would make no mistake smashing it home to give the home side a 2-0 advantage in the 68th minute.
Magee completed the hat trick in the 74th minute. The opportunistic, Chicago-born forward collected a rebound off a Keane shot, took a touch off his chest, turned and buried the ball into the back of the goal to give the defending champs a 3-0 lead.
Robbie Keane would round-out scoring in the 80th minute tucking in a tidy finish off an Omar Gonzalez header in the area.
The Fire host Opening Night at Toyota Park against the New England Revolution on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT live on NBC Sports Network and 107.9 La Ley. Advance tickets are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com or Ticketmaster.
* The Chicago Fire move to 5-4-5 in away season openers and 5-5-6 all-time in season openers. * Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson tallied six saves. * Fire defender Steven Kinney appeared in his first MLS match since rupturing his Achilles at The Home Depot Center Oct. 23, 2010, the final match of his rookie season. * Arne Friedrich (hamstring) and Logan Pause (quad) were kept out of the 18 due to injury. * The Fire are 15-19-4 against the LA Galaxy. * Jeff Larentowciz, Joel Lindpere, Dilly Duka, Maicon Santos and Yazid Atouba all made their debuts for the Men in Red. * Jeff Larentowicz donned the armband in the stead of captain Logan Pause.