Weekly update: Fire to tango twice

First-Place Fire Hosts Columbus Crew as Part of Saturday's MLS-International Doubleheader

After taking sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution last Saturday, the Chicago Fire (11-6-2, 35 pts.) will next set its sights in MLS play on the Columbus Crew (4-10-2, 14 pts.) when the "Men in Red" host their conference rival this Saturday, July 16 at Soldier Field as part of a historic MLS-International soccer doubleheader. The Fire-Crew match will kick off at the lakefront at 3:00 p.m. CT (live on ESPN2) and will be followed by an international club friendly featuring Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid taking on legendary Mexican side Club Deportivo Guadalajara at 5:30 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the Fire-Crew contest live 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 broadcasts can also be found.

The Fire and Crew have met just once so far in 2005, with Chicago taking a 2-0 decision on the road at Crew Stadium on Apr. 30, a result that bumped the Fire's all-time regular season mark against Columbus to 13-8-4. The "Men in Red" have defended their home turf well against Columbus, as the Fire will carry its 8-3-1 home record in regular season play against the Crew into Soldier Field on Saturday. The teams will meet twice more in regular season play following Saturday's contest, the Fire traveling to Columbus on Sep. 17 during the midst of a five-game road trip before playing its final regular season contest at Soldier Field on Oct. 8.

Fire Opens Up in the Open Cup Wednesday at Western Mass; Listen Live on www.Chicago-Fire.com

Before returning to MLS play over the weekend, the Fire will first begin its run in the 2005 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup this Wednesday, July 13, when the club travels to Ludlow, MA to take on the Western Mass Pioneers of the USL Second Division in a Third Round contest. Kick-off at Lusitano Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. CT, and fans can follow the match via an audio webcast on the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com, with play-by-play announcer Kenn Tomasch calling the action live from Massachusetts. The Fire will look to continue its already stellar history in the country's oldest soccer tournament, in which the club has made four Finals appearances and taken home three titles (1998, 2000 & 2003) in seven appearances since joining Cup play in 1998. Chicago has posted a dominating 18-4-1 record in the chase for the Dewar Cup and will be looking to march towards its third consecutive final appearance after taking home the 2003 championship and finishing as the runner-up to the Kansas City Wizards last year. Should Chicago win on Wednesday, the "Men in Red" will travel back to Lusitano Stadium in three weeks time for a Fourth Round match-up against the New England Revolution on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Chicago Fire AthletiCo Injury Report

Capano, Craig - L torn ACL surgery - Out

Jaqua, Nate - L ankle bone bruise - Questionable

Pickens, Matt - R groin strain - Out

Thiago - L knee ligament tear - Out

Thorrington, John - L hamstring strain - Out

Tickets Available for This Month's" Summer Soccer Celebration" Events at Soldier Field

Tickets are going fast for the MLS-international doubleheader at Soldier Field this Saturday, 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 Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas). Tickets for the historic soccer event are still available, with prices ranging 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 on sale, 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.

Fire to Hold Annual "Camera Day" Saturday at Soldier Field

The Chicago Fire will hold its annual "Camera Day" this Saturday, July 16, prior to the Fire's Eastern Conference match-up against the Columbus Crew. Members of the "Men in Red" will be made available to their fans for snapshots from 1:00-1:45 p.m. in the east side colonnades at Soldier Field. Fans are reminded that while cameras can be brought into Soldier Field for that day's doubleheader, no backpacks of any sort or size will be allowed into the stadium on Saturday.

Armas and Sanneh Help U.S. to Pair of Wins in CONCACAF Gold Cup

Fire midfielder Chris Armas and D/M Tony Sanneh made their returns to the U.S. Men's National Team last week, as the duo helped the Americans to a pair of victories that opened up the team's play in the 2005 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Armas was given the honor of wearing the captain's armband by Manager Bruce Arena in the USA's first contest, a 4-1 victory over Cuba at Qwest Field in Seattle, WA last Thursday. Both Armas and Sanneh (42 caps, 3 goals) played the full 90 minutes in the contest, which the "Red, White & Blue" pulled out with three tallies late in the contest. Armas would earn his 60th career appearance on Saturday against Canada, as he entered the match as a second half substitute and played the final nine minutes of the 2-0 triumph in Seattle that qualified the U.S. for this weekend's quarterfinal round. The U.S. (2-0-0, 6 pts.) will finish up Group B play this Tuesday, July 12 against group co-leader Costa Rica (2-0-0, 6 pts.) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA at 6:00 p.m. CT (live on Telefutura). The U.S. will take on an unknown opponent in the quarterfinal round this Saturday, July 16 at Gillette Stadium.

Guerrero Goes Full 90 Minutes For Honduras in Pair of Gold Cup Contests

Fire D/M Ivan Guerrero started both contests for the Honduran National Team in CONCACAF Gold Cup play last week at the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL, going the full 90 minutes in its opening 1-1 draw with Trinidad & Tobago last Wednesday and putting in another full match performance in a 2-1 triumph over Colombia on Sunday evening. Guerrero, who now has collected 57 caps to go along with a pair of goals in international play, and fellow Fire defender Samuel Caballero (45 caps, 16 goals) are both on the 23-man squad that is representing Honduras (1-0-1, 4 pts.) in the regional championship from July 6-24, and will miss at least the Fire's midweek match in the U.S. Open Cup at Western Mass. With Hurricane Dennis causing a one-day delay in the Group A fixtures, Honduras will now round out pool play on Tuesday, July 12 against its fellow group co-leader Panama (1-0-1, 4 pts.) at 6:00 p.m. CT. A draw on Tuesday would guarantee Honduras a spot in the quarterfinals of the tournament, which would take the "Catrachos" to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA for a match-up this Saturday, July 16, or to Houston's Reliant Stadium for a showdown on Sunday, July 17.

Fire Academy Camps Move On to Elgin and UIC Next Week

The Chicago Fire Youth Development Program will continue its summer series of Fire Academy Soccer Camps next week, with the program set to conduct weeklong camps in north suburban Elgin, IL and in the heart of Chicago on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Both locations will conduct the Fire Academy's Development and Advanced level camps from Monday, July 18 through Friday, July 22, and registrations for spots at both camps are still being accepted. 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 Elgin camp will run at the Elgin Sports Complex, located at 709 Sports Way in Elgin, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. CT each night, while the UIC-based camp will be held at Flames Field, located at 901 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago, from 2:30-5:30 p.m. CT daily. For more information on the Chicago Fire Academy Soccer Camps this summer, including registration information and details on upcoming camps, please contact the Fire Youth Development Program at 312-705-7250.

FireWorks for Kids Foundation to Hold Annual Jersey Auction During A.C. Milan Match on July 27

Fans have the opportunity to take home game worn Fire jerseys on Wednesday, July 27, when the Fire will take on Italian club giants A.C. Milan during the 2005 World Series of Football tour. To honor the Windy City, the Fire will wear its Chicago flag inspired PUMA third kits, a predominantly blue and white jersey that will be adorned with a commemorative FireWorks For Kids Foundation patch on the sleeve. The game worn jerseys will be auctioned off throughout the first half up until the end of halftime, with all proceeds raised benefiting the FireWorks for Kids Foundation. At the end of the game, each winning bidder will have the opportunity to meet the player whose jersey they won and have it autographed. One jersey from each player on the Fire roster will be auctioned off, and fans must be present at the match to bid on the jerseys. For more information on the FWFK Jersey Auction, contact Jessica Yavitz at 312-705-7218 or jyavitz@chicago-fire.com.

Fire Reserves Move to Second Place With 3-1 Win Over Revolution

The Chicago Fire Reserves (4-2-2, 14 pts.) used second half goals from forward Will Johnson (52') and midfielder Andy Rosenband (57') to break a halftime stalemate and push past the New England Revolution by a 3-1 final Sunday on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. The Fire Reserves, who also got a first half tally from midfielder Will John in the contest, used the result to move into a second place tie along the San Jose Earthquakes in the Reserve Division standings, setting up a possible battle for the top spot in their next contest against Division leaders D.C. United (5-2-0, 15 pts.) on Sunday, Aug. 7 in Chicago.

Etc...

  • The Chicago Fire Premier got back on track in fine fashion last Saturday, putting its first loss in 35 PDL regular season matches behind them with a 6-0 drubbing of the Toledo Slayers in Maumee, OH last Saturday evening. The Fire Premier (9-1-1, 28 pts.) have a busy week ahead of them, as the club will begin a three-match, five-day stretch on Tuesday, July 12 against the Fort Wayne Fever (6-6-0, 18 pts.) at the Lemont H.S. Soccer Complex in south suburban Lemont, IL at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Fire Premier will then move on to a pair of contests over the weekend, first traveling to Grand Rapids, MI on Friday, July 15 to face the West Michigan Edge (6-6-1, 19 pts.) in a match-up between "Fire Family" factions. The Fire Premier will then return to Chicagoland for its final home contest of the regular season this Saturday, July 16, when the squad will play host to the Kalamazoo Kingdom (4-7-2, 14 pts.) at 3:00 p.m. CT at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL. For more information on the Chicago Fire Premier, including ticket information and directions to all home game sites, please visit www.chicagofirepremier.com.

  • The Chicago Gaels FC (3-6-1, 10 pts.) saw their three-game winning streak come to an end last Friday, as the squad fell on the road 2-0 to the Fort Wayne Fever Women in Fort Wayne, IN. The Gaels will return to W-League action with a home-and-home series against the Cleveland International Women (5-4-0, 15 pts.) this week, beginning in Cleveland on Wednesday, July 13 at Coughlin Field in Lakewood, OH at 5:00 p.m. CT. The Gaels will return home to host Cleveland on Saturday, July 16 at 5:00 p.m. CT in the second game of a PDL/W-League doubleheader at Moraine Valle CC in Palos Hills, IL. For more information on Chicago's newest soccer team, visit www.chicagogaelsfc.com.


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