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2018 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Djordje Mihailovic (20')
  • Nemanja Nikolic (29' PEN)
  • Aleksandar Katai (66')
  • Diego Rossi (73')

LAFC stumbles against Chicago Fire in quest for first-round playoff bye

Djordje Mihailovic and Nemanja Nikolic each scored first-half goals as the Chicago Fire pulled away for a 3-1 victory in its their first match against visiting LAFC.

Aleksandar Katai put the match away for the Fire in the 66th minute, entering as a second-half substitute and immediately scoring a breakaway goal off an assist from Mihailovic and Nikolic. Mihailovic scored his first of the season, Nikolic delivered his 15th and Katai scored his 12th.

The loss dealt a blow to LAFC's hopes of earning a first-round bye in the MLS playoffs. The top two teams secure a first-round bye and LAFC would have moved into a tie with FC Dallas (pending the club's Saturday night match with Portland) for the top spot in the Western Conference with the victory.

Trailing 3-0, Diego Rossi scored for LAFC in the 73rd minute off a pass from Lee Nguyen. It was Rossi's 10th goal of the season.

The Fire (8-16-7, 31 points) rebounded from a defeat Wednesday at New York City FC that eliminated them from playoff contention. Despite struggling this season, Chicago is now unbeaten in four of its last five matches, going back to a 1-1 draw with Columbus on Aug. 23.

LAFC (14-8-8, 50 points) saw its six-game unbeaten streak come to an end. It was the first loss for the expansion side since a 2-0 setback Aug. 11 at Sporting Kansas City.

The Fire have just three matches remaining this season, including one more home match, Oct. 28 against D.C. United to end the season. LAFC has four matches remaining, including two at home where it is 8-1-6 this season. On the road, LAFC is now 6-7-2.

The match marked the return of LAFC head coach Bob Bradley to Chicago, where he coached the Fire to an MLS Cup championship in the side's expansion season of 1998.

Bradley's LAFC team needs six more points in its inaugural season to match the point total of that 1998 Fire side.

Major League Soccer Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 LAFC 34 +48 72
2 Seattle Sounders FC 34 +3 56
3 Real Salt Lake 34 +5 53
4 Minnesota United FC 34 +9 53
5 LA Galaxy 34 -1 51
6 Portland Timbers 34 +3 49
7 FC Dallas 34 +8 48
8 San Jose Earthquakes 34 -3 44
9 Colorado Rapids 34 -5 42
10 Houston Dynamo 34 -10 40
11 Sporting Kansas City 34 -18 38
12 Vancouver Whitecaps 34 -22 34

Major League Soccer Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 New York City FC 34 +21 64
2 Atlanta United FC 34 +15 58
3 Philadelphia Union 34 +8 55
4 Toronto FC 34 +5 50
5 DC United 34 +4 50
6 New York Red Bulls 34 +2 48
7 New England Revolution 34 -7 45
8 Chicago Fire 34 +8 42
9 Montreal Impact 34 -13 41
10 Columbus Crew SC 34 -8 38
11 Orlando City SC 34 -8 37
12 FC Cincinnati 34 -44 24