Weekly update: Battle for first place
Best in East Meet In First-Place Showdown at Soldier Field
After completing its first nine-point week in nearly five seasons with a 1-0 victory at Chivas USA last Saturday, the Chicago Fire (10-6-2, 32 pts.) will return to Soldier Field this Saturday, July 9 to face its fellow Eastern Conference co-leader, the New England Revolution (9-1-5, 32 pts.), with kick-off at the lakefront venue set for 7:30 p.m. CT. The bitter rivals will be facing each other for the third time this season, with first place in the Eastern Conference standings again on the line as it was in their first two meetings. Fans that can's make it to Soldier Field on Saturday can follow the match on Fox Soccer Channel or on radio stations WRTO-AM 1200 (Spanish) and WNVR-AM 1030 (Polish) and the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com (English), where links for the Spanish and Polish radio broadcasts can also be found.
The Fire would like to put its recent history against New England in the past, as the "Men in Red" have dropped their last three contests against the Revolution, including their first two meetings in the 2005 series. New England's 3-0 win at Soldier Field on Apr. 27 and a 2-0 result on May 7 at Gillette Stadium pushed the Fire's regular season mark against the Revolution to 7-10-5. The Fire has collected a 4-3-4 record in games contested in Chicagoland, with its loss in May breaking a four-game undefeated streak at home against the Revs (2-0-2). Like they did in 2004, the Fire and Revolution will close out their respective 2005 regular season campaigns in a head-to-head match-up on Oct. 15 in Foxboro, MA.
Chicago Fire AthletiCo Injury Report
Capano, Craig - L torn ACL surgery - Out
Jaqua, Nate - L ankle bone bruise - Probable
Pickens, Matt - R groin strain - Out
Thiago - L knee ligament tear - Out
Thorrington, John - L hamstring strain - Out
Fire Must "Mass-ter" the Competition in U.S. Open Cup Third and Fourth Rounds
U.S. Soccer has announced the Fourth Round pairings for the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with the Chicago Fire set to square off against the New England Revolution should the "Men in Red" advance past the Third Round. Chicago must first get past United Soccer Leagues Second Division side Western Massachusettes Pioneers, who advanced out of the second round last Wednesday with a 5-0 win over Reggae Boyz FC of Indiana. The Fire-Pioneers Third Round match will take place on Wednesday, July 13 at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, MA at 6:30 p.m. CT. Should the Fire advance past Western Massachusetts, Chicago will return to Lusitano Stadium to face the Revolution in the Fourth Round on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Tickets Now Available for This Month's" Summer Soccer Celebration" Events at Soldier Field
Tickets to the MLS-international doubleheader at Soldier Field on July 16, featuring the Fire taking on the Columbus Crew in an MLS Eastern Conference showdown followed by a friendly between global club powers Real Madrid and CD Guadalajara (Chivas), are now on sale after being released to the public over the weekend. Tickets for the doubleheader are as follows: $40, $45, $55, $75, $100 and $125. Tickets for the Fire's July 27 World Series of Football contest against Italian powerhouse A.C. Milan are also now on sale after having been released to the public last Friday, with tickets for that exhibition match ranging in price from $30-$75. Fire Season Ticket holders can use their "Bonus Game A" tickets to gain access to the A.C. Milan match, but Flex Plan vouchers will not be available for redemption for the contest.
Fans can purchase tickets for either match by visiting the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com. Fans can also secure individual or group tickets through the Fire office by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE or by visiting the Fire office, located at 980 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1998, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on Monday-Friday. A limited number of suites will be available for both dates and can be acquired by contacting the Fire's Premium Seating Department at 312-705-7230 for more information. For more information on the Fire-International doubleheader or the club's historic match against A.C. Milan, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE or visit www.Chicago-Fire.com.
Four More Days to Vote "Men in Red" Into 2005 MLS All-Star Game
Only four days remain for fans to cast their votes for the MLS All-Stars who will take the field against English Premier League club Fulham FC in the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game. On July 30, "MLS All-Stars Take on the World" as Major League Soccer's best take on Fulham FC at Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH in a game televised nationally on ABC Sports (2:30 p.m. CT). Fans can vote for the starting XI by filling out the online ballot on the League's official website www.MLSnet.com until Friday, July 8, 2005. Fans can vote for 11 starting players from a pool of 144 total candidates via the online ballot - one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. A maximum of 10 ballots may be submitted per person per day and there are no limits on how many days fans can vote. The online fan balloting will comprise 25 percent of the total, with MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent) accounting for the remainder.
Five "Men in Red" Begin National Team Duty This Week in 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup
Five members of the Chicago Fire - captain Chris Armas, defender Samuel Caballero, D/M Ivan Guerrero, forward Will Johnson and D/M Tony Sanneh - have been named to their respective national team rosters for the 2005 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the region's championship tournament that takes place in seven venues across the United States from July 6-24. Armas and Sanneh are currently in Seattle, WA with the U.S. National Team, who will begin play in the tournament this Wednesday, July 7 against Cuba at Qwest Field (9:30 p.m. CT, Telefutura). Guerrero and Caballero left the "Men in Red" on Sunday to join the Honduran National Team in Miami, FL, where the "Catrachos" will begin the competition this Wednesday night against their counterparts from Trinidad & Tobago (8:15 p.m. CT, Galavision). The 18-year-old Johnson was named to Canada's 23-man roster for the Gold Cup, but will remain with the Fire through the duration of the tournament unless called upon by Canada Head Coach Frank Yallop. Armas, Caballero, Guerrero and Sanneh will miss Saturday's Fire clash against the New England Revolution and next Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup contest at the Western Massachusetts Pioneers (USL2). Depending on how deep the United States and Honduras advance in the tournament, the Fire could miss the four players for up to two more contests (July 16 vs. Columbus and July 23 at Colorado).
Fire Academy Camps Continue Next Week in Olympia Fields and Crystal Lake
The Chicago Fire Youth Development Program will stretch far and wide when continuing its summer series of Fire Academy Soccer Camps next week, with the program set to conduct weeklong camps in both northwest suburban Crystal Lake and south suburban Olympia Fields. Both locations will run their camps from Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15 during the evening from 5:00-8:00 p.m. CT. The Fire Academy Camps offer specialized training for individual players or teams, with the weeklong programs designed to accommodate players from ages 8 to 18. The Fire Academy will conduct its Development and Advanced level camps at both locations next week. The Olympia Fields camp will be held at Sergeant Means Park, located at the corner of 207th Street and Western Ave., while the Crystal Lake camp will be conducted at Northwest United S.C. Park, located at the junction of Valley View Road and SR 176. For more information on the Chicago Fire Academy Soccer Camps this summer, including registration information, please contact the Fire Youth Development Program at 312-705-7250.
Fire Reserves Look to Fend Off the Revolution Sunday at IIT
The Chicago Fire Reserves (3-2-2, 11 pts.) will continue their inaugural campaign in MLS Reserve Division play this Sunday, July 10 with their second meeting of the season against the New England Revolution Reserves (3-1-1, 10 pts.). Sunday's match will take place on the soccer complex on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, located at the corners of 31st and State Streets in Chicago, at 10:00 a.m. CT. The Fire Reserves currently sit in fourth place in the single-table Reserve Division standings, just four points below leaders D.C. United. The Fire Reserves fell to their counterparts from New England 1-0 in their first meeting on May 8 in Foxboro, MA.
The Fire family would like to extend happy birthday wishes to midfielder Craig Capano, who turns 20 years of age this Thursday, May 7. The midfielder, who is currently rehabbing from ACL surgery, has been a member of the Fire since 2002, when the Fire made him the club's youngest ever draft pick at the age of 16.
It was a rough week for the Chicago Fire Premier, who was removed from the U.S. Open Cup before suffering their first defeat in PDL regular season play since the 2003 season. The Fire Premier first traveled to St. Paul, MN, where the squad fought valiantly but fell to the USL First Division's Minnesota Thunder 2-1 in a U.S. Open Cup second round match at Griffin Stadium last Wednesday. The Thunder held a precarious 1-0 lead until the 89th minute, when a Fire Premier own goal would negate a possible equalizer from Brandon Moss in the 90th minute.
The Fire Premier would stay on the road during the weekend, traveling to South Bend, IN to face their Great Lakes Division rival, the Indiana Invaders. After the Invaders tied the match at 1-1 with one minute to go in regulation, the squads would trade goals and ejections during the course of two "silver goal" overtime periods, with Indiana finally coming out the victors of a 3-2 result that ended the Fire Premier's 35-game undefeated streak (32-0-3) in regular season action. The result put the Invaders ahead of the second-place Fire Premier (8-1-1, 25 pts.) by two points in the Great Lakes Division standings, but the Chicagoland-based side has a pair of games in hand against their neighbors from across the I-80/90 corridor. The Fire Premier will return to the road for another pair of contests this weekend, starting Friday night at the Kalamazoo Kingdom (4-6-2, 14 pts.) in Kalamazoo, MI before heading southeast to face the cellar-dwelling Toledo Slayers (1-7-2, 5 pts.) in Maumee, OH on Saturday evening. For more information on the Chicago Fire Premier, including ticket information and directions to all home game sites, please visit www.chicagofirepremier.com.
Make it three in a row for the Chicago Gaels FC (3-5-1, 10 pts.), who collected a pair of victories last week to put its season-starting six-game winless streak far in the past. The Gaels used their first-ever road victory, a 3-2 victory over the West Michigan Firewomen last Wednesday, to build the squad's first-ever winning streak, which continued at Moraine Valley CC in Palos Hills last Saturday with a 3-1 result over the Cincinnati Ladyhawks. The Gaels will look to make it four in a row this weekend when they travel to Ft. Wayne, IN to face the Fort Wayne Fever Women (3-8-0, 9 pts.) this Friday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. CT. For more information on Chicago's newest soccer team, visit www.chicagogaelsfc.com.