Will Xherdan Shaqiri take the field tonight when the Chicago Fire host LA Galaxy before a massive crowd at Soldier Field (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV and CF97 Live)? Will his hulking left calf be strong enough to play?
“We will see.”
That’s how Shaqiri left things after a news availability on Wednesday, and Fire head coach Ezra Hendrickson didn’t do much to clear things up after Friday’s training session—which saw the Fire’s star designated player training separately from the rest of his teammates.
“We’ll see how he feels,” Hendrickson told reporters Friday.
If Shaqiri can play, you can bet he will. Tonight’s crowd at Soldier Field will almost certainly top the 25,477 we saw for the 2022 home opener against Orlando City, and could eclipse last season’s record of 31,308 against Real Salt Lake. In other words: it’s going to be a big crowd, so get there early. Parking at Soldier Field is often made unnecessarily difficult, so allow yourself plenty of time so you don’t miss kickoff.
Of course, Shaqiri’s not the only star drawing fans tonight. Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, will be in town with the Galaxy, hoping to ruin the night for Fire fans. LA is coming off a taxing, 2-1 win over crosstown rivals LAFC, which saw Chicharito score the opener. After such a massive result, LA needs to remain focused to avoid a letdown against the Fire.
“If you want to be a champion and you want to lift trophies, you need to play every single game like the one we just played against El Trafico,” Chicharito said. “Of course it has a special feeling, emotion and everything, but it’s just an extra kind of thing. The standard should be as high as that game.”
The Fire have allowed a league-best two goals all season, but in Chicharito, they’ll be facing one of the league’s best—and craftiest—goal scorers. Chicharito is known for his ability to sneak away from defenders and find space, and has a knack for finding the ball when other players can’t.
“He’s a top class player, and we know he’s very good, especially in the box, the 18-yard box,” Hendrickson said of Chicharito. “He’s someone that we have to be aware of in the run of play, knowing exactly where he’s at at all times. But we’ve been doing a lot of things this week preparing the players for that, especially our back four, just at all times getting pressure on the crosser and also finding him in the box.So we’ll be ready, we’ll be prepared.”
Chicago Fire vs. LA Galaxy
MLS Match #7 | Saturday, April 16 | Soldier Field, Chicago
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Streaming: CF97 Live (streamed live at ChicagoFireFC.com and the Chicago Fire app for viewers watching in the Chicago TV market)
Out of Market Streaming: ESPN+
Talent: Tyler Terens (play-by-play), Tony Meola (color commentary)
Radio: TUDN 1200 AM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown
Chicago Fire Injury Report
- QUESTIONABLE: Fabian Herbers (right hip)
- QUESTIONABLE: Xherdan Shaqiri (left calf)
LA Galaxy Injury Report
- OUT: Adam Saldaña (left ankle)
- OUT: Jorge Villafaña (left knee)
Upcoming Chicago Fire Schedule
Tuesday, April 19 - Chicago Fire vs. Union Omaha, U.S. Open Cup Round 3, Soldier Field, Chicago (7 p.m. CT ESPN+)
Saturday, April 23 - Minnesota United vs. Chicago Fire at Allianz Field, St. Paul. MN (4 p.m. CT, ESPN)
Saturday, April 30 - Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls at Soldier Field, Chicago (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV and CF97 Live)
Saturday, May 7 - Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta (5 p.m. CT, WGN-TV and CF97 Live)
Saturday, May 14 - Chicago Fire vs. FC Cincinnati at Soldier Field, Chicago (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV and CF97 Live)