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Galaxy-Fire match features former Manchester United teammates

Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger does not need to review a scouting report on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the newest striker for the LA Galaxy.

After all, the two international stars played together at Manchester United before eventually heading to MLS.

"I'm very happy for him that he came over to Los Angeles and the MLS," Schweinsteiger said this week in video posted on his team's official website. "It's a great signing for the league.

"He's always very hard to defend. I've known him since a long time ago. I remember games where he was playing for Juventus. He's very difficult to play -- obviously one of the best strikers in the world. He's still very important for every team (to defend). You can already see that in the games."

The one-on-one matchup adds another layer of excitement into a game that features high stakes for both teams on Saturday afternoon. Chicago (1-2-1) is looking for back-to-back victories and LA (2-2-1) hopes to avoid back-to-back defeats.

The game already has been announced as a sellout at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Ibrahimovic said he hoped for an expanded role in his third game with the Galaxy. Coach Sigi Schmid cautiously has increased his workload in the first couple of matches.

However many minutes Ibrahimovic plays, he plans to bring energy to his teammates.

"If they are not hungry, I'll make sure they will be hungry," Ibrahimovic said to his team's official website. "You have to wake up not even in the first minute, but in the warm-up. That is where you start everything. There can be many small details that make the difference. Why are we not awake in the beginning, I don't know.

"I've been here one week. I look, I learn, and then I go for the kill."

In one week, Ibrahimovic leads the team with two goals. The Galaxy also have received one goal apiece from Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Chris Pontius, Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini.

Meanwhile, Schweinsteiger has three assists to lead the Fire. The team's top goal scorer has been red-hot Nemanja Nikolic, who has four goals in four games on only eight shots on goal.

Three other players -- Brandon Vincent, Elliot Collier and Aleksandar Katai -- have one goal apiece for Chicago.

Both teams have scored seven goals and given up eight this season.

This is the first meeting between the clubs since May 6, 2017, which ended in a 2-all tie. Chicago jumped out to a 2-0 advantage but could not maintain the lead as LA clawed back for one point in the standings.

This year's matchup carries more intrigue. With such a large crowd expected, the Fire are encouraging fans to show up early, with parking lots opening three hours before the game and gates opening one hour beforehand.

Until then, Schweinsteiger will share his inside knowledge of Ibrahimovic with his Fire teammates.

"Zlatan is a very, very smart player," Schweinsteiger said. "He has not only one option, he always has three options in his brain. ... It's going to be tough. We have to play as a team."

Updated April 12, 2018

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