The final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference will be decided between the defending Eastern Conference Champion Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution on Saturday, when the two teams meet in the final regular season match at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Chicago (8-12-9, 33 pts.) can clinch its seventh straight playoff berth with a win or a tie, while the Revolution (7-13-9, 30 pts.) need a victory at all costs to earn the No. 4 seed. The victor of Saturday's Eastern Conference showdown will earn the right to face the top-seeded Columbus Crew in the first round of the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs ... The Fire will be well-rested heading into Saturday's season finale in Foxboro, as the "Men in Red" last played on Oct. 6, falling 1-0 to Columbus in the Fire's home season finale at Soldier Field. Saturday's game will be broadcast live via Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports World/Fox Sports World en Español, and fans can also follow the game live online via www.Chicago-Fire.com and via Chicago radio stations WRTO AM 1200 (Spanish) and WNVR AM 1030 (Polish).
The Fire and New England have split the 2004 season series 1-1-1. The Fire hold a 7-7-5 all-time record against New England (4-2-4 @ Chicago, 3-5-1 @ New England). The teams last met on Sep. 25 at Soldier Field, as Andy Herron's two goals propelled the Fire to a 2-0 victory. Herron, along with fellow internationals Damani Ralph (Jamaica), Andy Williams (Jamaica) and Dipsy Selolwane (Botswana) will be available for selection by Fire boss Dave Sarachan. The Fire quartet left Chicago on Oct. 3 to join their respective national squads for World Cup Qualifying duty and missed the Fire's game on Oct. 6 against the Crew. The return of Herron, Ralph and Williams will be what the doctor ordered, as all three players have picked up points against New England this year. Ralph tallied the Fire's lone goal on July 11 in a 1-1 tie, while Williams scored his first goal the season on July 14 in a 1-3 loss, and Herron's two goals and four points on Sept. 25 lifted the Fire to a 2-0 victory in the Costa Rican international's first MLS start.
Chicago Fire AthletiCo Sports Medicine injury report
Armas, Chris -- R knee inflammation - questionable
Mapp, Justin -- R knee Grade II LCL Sprain - out
Pause, Logan -- R foot stress fracture - out
Razov, Ante -- R ankle and groin surgery - out
Whitfield, Evan -- L knee contusion - probable
Fire fall 2-0 to MetroStars in Hall of Fame game
The Chicago Fire dropped a 2-0 decision to the MetroStars in the first-ever MLS Hall of Fame match on Monday at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y. The match was part of the festivities that surrounded the induction of former MLS and Chicago Fire forward Eric Wynalda and former L.A. Galaxy defender Paul Caligiuri, as well as former U.S. women's nation team stalwart Michelle Akers to the National Hall of Fame's "Class of 2004."
With the playoffs just around the corner, both teams trotted out lineups heavy with reserves. Both of the goals came late in the first half, as Metros midfielder Pablo Brenes struck two minutes before the halftime whistle and forward Fabian Taylor pounded home a left-footed shot in stoppage time. Aside from the two goals, there were few good chances for either team. The Fire's best chance came in the 84th minute from guest player - and 2004 inductee -- Eric Wynalda. The former U.S. international entered the match for Nate Jaqua in the 73rd minute and nearly capped off his day with a goal, but pushed his shot from the top of the box wide right.
For the record:
"I'd like to thank the Fire organization for allowing me to be a part of the team on such a special day. It was a very special day and it brought back nice memories."
- Former Fire player and all-time U.S. national team leading scorer Eric Wynalda on playing with Chicago during the Hall of Fame Game after his induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame
"Eric [Wynalda] had a great chance. If he would have scored he would have been a hero, but that's the life of a forward. We're just glad he could join us on the field today. It was a very nice event. Thanks to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for allowing us to be a part of this special game."
- Fire head coach Dave Sarachan on the Hall of Fame game and Eric Wynalda
Fire's international quartet keeping busy
Four members of the "Men in Red" - forwards Andy Herron, Damani Ralph and Dipsy Selolwane and midfielder Andy Williams - were busy over the weekend as they helped their respective national teams during World Cup Qualifying. All four players - who missed the Fire's Oct. 6 contest against the Crew - saw playing time with their teams and earned important points. Selolwane (24 caps) came up big for his native Botswana, scoring his 9th international goal in 55th minute to help the "Zebras" to a 1-0 win over Kenya in the African Zone's (Group 5) semifinal round.
Ralph - the Fire's current scoring leader (11g, 3a for 25 pts.) - earned his 10th cap with the Jamaican national team last Saturday, helping Jamaica to a 1-1 tie against Panama at Rommel Fernández Stadium in Panama City, Panama. Williams made his 83rd appearance with the Jamaican national team when he came in as a second-half sub. The "Reggae Boyz" are tied with Panama for second place in the standings in Group 1, three points behind first-place U.S.A. The Jamaicans will host El Salvador on Oct. 13 at National Stadium in Kingston. Herron earned his 14th cap with Costa Rica on Saturday, helping the team to a 5-0 victory over Guatemala in San Jose, Costa Rica. Herron and the "Ticos" will continue World Cup Qualifying on Wednesday to face Canada from Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, Canada. Selolwane will rejoin the Fire in Chicago on Tuesday, while Williams, Ralph and Herron will return to Chicago following their international midweek matches.
Chicago Fire Juniors to hold tryouts for Boys U-15 through U-19 teams on Oct. 31 in Wheaton, Ill.
The Chicago Fire Juniors, the official youth soccer club of the Chicago Fire, has announced that it will conduct tryouts for the club's U-15 through U-19 Boys teams on Oct. 31 at Seven Gables Park in Wheaton, Ill. from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. CT. The tryouts will be held on fields A, B, C and D at Seven Gables Park, which is located between Roosevelt Rd. and Butterfield Rd. in Wheaton. In addition, a supplemental tryout will be held on Sunday, Nov. 7 at Seven Gables Park from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. CT. This date will also serve as a make-up date should weather cancel the primary tryouts on Oct. 31. For more information on the Boys senior teams tryouts, please call the Chicago Fire Juniors at 630-882-8428 or visit www.chicagofirejuniors.com.