Weekly update: Mountain men

Fire Takes Five-Game Unbeaten Streak on the Road to Colorado for Saturday Clash

With last Saturday's historic Soldier Field doubleheader, including a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew, in the rear-view mirror, the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Fire (11-6-3, 36 pts.) will now turn its sights on the team's final match-up of 2005 against the Colorado Rapids (5-10-3, 18 pts.). The Fire and Rapids will square off this Saturday, July 23 at Denver's INVESCO Field at 8:00 p.m. CT in a match that will be broadcast live on Comcast SportsNet. Fans can also follow the Fire-Rapids 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 has not seen much success in the Rocky Mountains, going only 2-5-3 against Colorado on the road. Chicago has gone six straight contests in Colorado without gaining a victory (0-3-3) dating back to the 2000 campaign, with its last win in Denver coming via a 1-0 result on Oct. 6, 1999 thanks to an Ante Razov tally. The Fire took the two sides' first match-up this season by a 2-1 score at Soldier Field on May 21, pushing the Fire's career regular season record against the Rapids to 12-8-3.

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

"Men in Red" to Duel in Thursday's Gold Cup Semifinal Between USA and Honduras

There promises to be two members of the Chicago Fire in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, but which two will not be determined until this Thursday, July 21, when the United States and Honduras will do battle in the tournament's semifinal round. The two countries will square off at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ at 5:00 p.m. CT (live on Telefutura), with the victor advancing to the tournament's final this Sunday, July 24 at 2:00 p.m. CT at Giants Stadium (live on Univision). The U.S. roster features Fire midfielder Chris Armas (61 caps, 2 goals), who has garnered one assist while being capped in each of the Americans' four contests during the tournament (two starts), and D/M Tony Sanneh (43 caps, 3 goals), who has also earned a pair of starts in the competition. They will face off against a "catrachos" squad featuring Fire midfielder Ivan Guerrero (58 caps, 2 goals) and defender Samuel Caballero (47 caps, 17 goals), both of whom went the full 90 minutes in Honduras' 3-2 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica last Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA.

"Summer Soccer Celebration" Continues at Soldier Field With Fire-A.C. Milan Showdown

The "Summer Soccer Celebration" taking place across the United States this month will once again showcase Soldier Field, as the Chicago Fire will square off against Italian powers A.C. Milan on Wednesday, July 27 at 8:00 p.m. CT as part of the 2005 World Series of Football, presented by Samsung. Tickets for the high-profile contest against Milan are still available, with seats going for $30, $40, $50, $60 and $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 the July 27 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 the Milan friendly and can be acquired by contacting the Fire's Premium Seating Department at 312-705-7230. For more information on the Fire's historic match against A.C. Milan, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE or visit www.Chicago-Fire.com.

A.C. Milan to Hold Public Practice Session on Tuesday, July 26 at Soldier Field

The Fire has announced that 2005 UEFA Champions League runners-up A.C. Milan will conduct a public training session at Soldier Field prior to its World Series of Football contest against the Fire the following evening. Milan will hold a practice and a meet-and-greet session with fans on Tuesday, July 26 from 6:00-7:15 p.m. CT, with tickets to that event costing $15 for the general public. Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be purchased in advance by visiting www.TicketMaster.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase the day of the event at the Fire's Soldier Field Box Office. Fire season ticket holders can purchase tickets to each session for only $10 and will also be able to buy additional tickets to the practices at the same cost.

Special "A.C. Milan Practice Pack" Gives Fans Three Times the Soccer

The Fire has introduced a special ticket package that will allow fans the chance to see A.C. Milan during this month's "Summer Soccer Celebration" in addition to the "Men in Red" as they wind down their 2005 home schedule during their last season at Soldier Field. For $60, fans will receive one ticket to three events - A.C. Milan's July 26 practice session at Soldier Field, a Level 3 ticket for the next day's World Series of Football contest featuring the Fire taking on Milan, and a free ticket for one of the Fire's two remaining Wednesday night home contests - the team's Aug. 10 contest against the Kansas City Wizards or the Fire's second to last home match of the regular season on Oct. 5 against the MetroStars, both of which kick off at 7:30 p.m. CT. Fans can purchase this special package, in addition to individual and group tickets for all remaining Fire home contests, through the Fire office by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, or visiting the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com, or in person at the Fire office, located at 980 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1998, from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. CT.

Fire Academy Keeping Busy With Five Camps Across Chicagoland and Beyond 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 four Chicagoland communities - Naperville, Wauconda, Lake Zurich and Schaumburg - in addition to a westward trip to Rockford, IL. Registration is still available for all five camps, which will run from Monday, July 25 through Friday, July 29 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. CT, except for the Wauconda location, which will be held nightly from 5:30-8:00 p.m. The Lake Zurich camp will feature only the Fire Academy's High School level camp, while the other four locations will conduct the Academy's Development and Advanced level camps. 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. 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 or visit www.ChicagoFireJuniors.com.

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 as part of the 2005 World Series of Football. 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.

Etc...

• The Chicago Fire Premier sandwiched home wins over the Fort Wayne Fever (3-1) and Kalamazoo Kingdom (3-0) around a road victory at the West Michigan Edge (4-0) during a busy week that saw the club clinch the Great Lakes Division title, giving the squad its fifth division crown in as many seasons. The Fire Premier (12-1-1, 37 pts.) had seven different goal scorers during the three-game, five-day stretch, with Corey Sipos leading the way with three tallies, while goalkeepers Raymond Burse and Eric Pogue registered back-to-back shutouts against West Michigan and Kalamazoo, respectively, to help clinch the division championship. The Fire Premier will round out the regular season with a pair of contests at the Thunder Bay Chill (6-7-1, 19 pts.), the two sides meeting at Chapples Park in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada this Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23 at 6:30 p.m. CT. 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 (4-7-1, 10 pts.) traded road wins with the Cleveland Internationals Women last week, taking a 3-0 win in Ohio on Wednesday before falling at home by a 2-1 score in the return match on Saturday at Moraine Valley CC in Palos Hills. The Gaels will take to the road on Tuesday, July 19 to face the West Michigan Firewomen (3-8-0, 9 pts.) at 6:00 p.m. CT at West Ottawa HS in Holland, MI before returning to Moraine Valley CC to close out their inaugural campaign on Saturday, July 23 against the Fort Wayne Fever Women (4-9-0, 12 pts.) at 3:00 p.m. CT. For more information on Chicago's newest soccer team, visit www.chicagogaelsfc.com.


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