The Chicago Fire (5-9-7, 22 pts.) will be hitting the road this weekend to face the Western Conference leading Los Angeles Galaxy (9-6-7, 34 pts.) on Saturday at 9 p.m. CT at The Home Depot Center in an attempt to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference race. Fans will be able to watch the match via a tape-delayed broadcast on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. CT or hear it live via Chicagoland radio stations WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish) and WNVR 1030 AM (Polish) and online worldwide via the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com (English). Saturday's contest will mark the fourth of six straight matches against Western Conference foes.
The Fire and Galaxy will be meeting for the third and final time this season when they face off at The Home Depot Center Saturday. Both matches between Chicago and Los Angeles this season have been heartbreakers for the Fire, as the "Men in Red" lost both one-goal games after surrendering leads late in the second half. In the first match-up at The Home Depot Center on June 12, a pair of goals in the final 10 minutes gave Los Angeles a 3-2 victory, while Jovan Kirovski's 45-yard prayer sunk the Fire 1-0 in the lone contest at Soldier Field on June 27. The Fire trails the Galaxy 8-12-1 all-time in their regular season meetings and is just 3-6-1 on the road against Los Angeles. The Galaxy will be without Sigi Schmid, who was relived of his head coaching duties Monday afternoon. The active leading scorer for the Fire in Saturday's match is midfielder Jesse Marsch, who has scored his six points against the Galaxy on three goals. Injured forward Ante Razov is Chicago's all-time leading scorer against the Galaxy after scoring 16 points (5g, 6a) in 20 games against his former club.
Chicago Fire Injury Report
Countess, D.J. - R ankle sprain - questionable
Razov, Ante - R ankle bone spur - out
Fire to Welcome Defender Samuel Caballero and Forward Clyde Wijnhard For Trials This Week
The Chicago Fire continues its search for new players to add to the roster this week when it welcomes Samuel Caballero and Clyde Wijnhard to its Lake Forest training facility for trials. After beginning his career with Tegucigalpa of Honduras from 1996-2001, Caballero spent the last three seasons with Italian Serie A club Udinese before signing with Uruguayan club power Nacional in June. The 29-year-old central defender was a staple in defense during Honduras' qualifying run during towards the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is expected to be in the team's plans again as it continues CONCACAF qualifying for Germany 2006. The Fire is also looking at Clyde Wijnhard, a forward who last season played for SC Beira-Mar of the Portuguese SuperLiga (First Division). The Dutch striker has suited up for Leeds United of the English Premier League and Huddersfield Town, Preston North End and Oldham Athletic of the English First and Second Divisions since moving his career from the Netherlands to England during the 1998-99 season. Wijnhard's eight goals for Beira-Mar in its 2003-04 season tied him for the team's scoring lead. Cabellero will train with the "Men in Red" from Tuesday through Friday, while Wijnhard will serve his trial from Wednesday through Friday.
"Reggae Boyz" Ralph and Williams Head to "The Office" for Wednesday Night Clash vs. U.S.A.
Fire forward Damani Ralph and midfielder Andy Williams departed the club on Sunday to join up with the Jamaican National Team in advance of Wednesday's important CONCACAF Qualifying showdown between Jamaica and the United States. Ralph and Williams have been named by Technical Director Carl Brown to the team's roster in advance of the match, which will take place at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, with kick-off set for 6:00 p.m. CT (live on ESPN2). Big games like Wednesday's are nothing new for Williams, whose 79 caps include appearances in the 1998 World Cup and 2002 CONCACAF Qualifying rounds. Meanwhile, Ralph, who has represented the "Reggae Boyz" six times on the senior level, will be looking to make his third appearance in a World Cup qualifier after playing in both of Jamaica's preliminary round matches against Haiti in June.
Fire to Host U.S.-Jamaica Viewing Party at The Globe Pub on Wednesday
Soccer fans are invited to join the Chicago Fire this Wednesday, Aug. 18 at the team's official viewing party for the big CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying contest between the U.S.A. and Jamaica at Chicago's newest "soccer-friendly" bar, The Globe Pub - located at 1934 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago - beginning at 6:00 p.m. CT. Drink and food specials and Fire giveaways will be available for fans while they watch Fire favorites Damani Ralph and Andy Williams take on the Americans in the opening match of the semifinal round of CONCACAF Qualifying. For more information on the viewing party, call the Fire offices at 312-705-7235.
Wednesday Media Luncheon Returns at Lake Forest College This Week
After a nearly two-month hiatus, the Chicago Fire Media Relations Department will resume its weekly Wednesday Media Luncheons this week on Aug. 18, following the club's training session at its Lake Forest College training ground at 12:00 p.m. CT. Another pair of Wednesday clashes in the upcoming weeks means that the next of the Fire's four remaining Media Luncheons during the regular season schedule will come on Wednesday, Sept. 8.