Bridgeview, IL – The Chicago Fire has gotten off to a poor start to begin the 2013 season, but Sunday's opponent at Toyota Park, Chivas USA, might be the perfect remedy.
Chicago has yet to score a goal through three games this season, and the club picked up its first point of the year in a 0-0 draw against Sporting Kansas City last time out.
But the Fire has had a lot of success against the Goats over the past few seasons, posting a 6-0-2 mark against the club from California in the last eight meetings between the teams.
The Fire will be missing both goalkeeper Sean Johnson and midfielder Joel Lindpere because of international duty, meaning that Paolo Tornaghi will likely take up Johnson's position between the posts.
"Sean is coming up in the U.S. system and doing well," Tornaghi said. "I have to understand in my position - you don't have a lot of minutes to play so I think it's important in every training to remind yourself in any minute that you could be called onto the field. I'm always ready to step in."
Lindpere had a streak of 91 straight starts snapped last weekend in Kansas City when he began the game on the bench, but his presence in the attack will be missed while he is away representing Estonia.
Chivas got off to a poor start in the opening game, losing 3-0 at home against Columbus, but since then, the Goats have claimed four points from their last two games, including a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last time out.
After being criticized for its poor home attendance as well as play on the field, Chivas head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola felt as though his side gained a measure of respect after coming back from a goal down with 10 men to snatch a draw against the Galaxy.
"On the field, we won a point, but off the field we won 100 points in respect," Sanchez Sola said. "At this point, when we talk about respect, we are a team that deserves to be champion. Our rival is one of the best in the league; they have my admiration and respect for what they do. As for my players, as usual, they kept on fighting, made a great effort, and I would like for everybody to respect that effort. I would like for this institution to be respected as well, that is the way it should be. This institution deserves respect."
One player who Chivas will be looking to for big things this season is Carlos Alvarez, who was the No. 2 overall pick in this year's SuperDraft.
Alvarez made his MLS debut as a substitute in the second half against the Galaxy, and he made quite an impression as he scored the late equalizer.
"Alvarez was a great college soccer player but the MLS level is different and he's adjusting to it. He keeps on making the effort day in and day out, but please, let's talk about Alvarez the human being, the young guy with big charisma, the guy who today, making his debut in the league, scored his first goal and nonetheless against the Galaxy," Sanchez Sola said.
Chivas has conceded the first goal in each of its three games this season, but the fact that the club has earned four points from that position is another good sign for a rebuilding club.
Last season, Chivas was 1-16-4 when giving away the first goal in a game.