CHICAGO – This was a potential moment for the club as they looked to make a statement in Major League Soccer in 2022.

Traditional power LA Galaxy arrived at Soldier Field on Saturday with a loaded roster, presenting Chicago Fire FC with their biggest challenge of the young season.

There were 30,582 fans that arrived to see what the club could do in their first game with their Western Conference foe since 2019 and the first match-up in Chicago in four years.

At the end of 90 minutes, however, those who have watched the Fire saw a very similar scenario play out: Strong defense, but not a lot of offense to speak of.

For a fourth time in seven matches, the club played to a scoreless draw with the Galaxy as offensive chances were limited for both clubs. It was, however, a physical match with plenty of battles going on outside of the scoring area over the course of 90 minutes with an enthusiastic crowd looking on.

Neither team registered a shot on goal, but VAR took away a score for the Galaxy’s Douglas Costa when it was ruled that he was offsides on his goal in the 50th minute. Defense ruled the day as the clubs went back and forth with a few tense moments, but neither the Fire or Galaxy were able to break the deadlock in the end.

The Fire are now 2-1-4 on the season, which puts them seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.

“I think I really gotta tip my hat off to these guys. I mean, every man, again, played. This was a game, I’m sure the fans loved it. It was end-to-end action from minute one to minute 90,” said Fire manager Ezra Hendrickson. “That’s the kind of game that we expected from them. They’re a very good team. They’re one of the better teams that we’ve played so far this year. But we didn’t back down from them, we went at it with them and that’s what the fans like to see: a nice, entertaining game like that, even at 0-0.

“The excitement was really there. And yeah, keeping it to zero is something that, we know if we do that, we won’t lose the game. And we just have this belief that we can keep every game at zero. But great, great job by the guys tonight. Really, really good. I’m really, really proud of this team and how they are coming together.”

It’s the fifth clean sheet for the defense and goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, who now has nine in 17 career matches for the club.

Chicago Fire FC’s offense did get any breaks before the match when both Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabian Herbers were once again ruled out. The Fire had seven shots and six corner kicks but couldn’t get anything on goal, but their defense once again was up for the challenge.

“I think it was a difficult game. I think we did a great job defensively. Offensively it was, like I said, difficult,”s said defender Rafael Czichos, who returned after missing two matches in the MLS’s health and safety protocol. “And we’re happy that we kept the clean sheet again. But we have to work on our game in the offense.”

That trend continued on Saturday in one of the biggest regular season matches for the club in a number of years.