The Chicago Fire and Real Salt Lake have executed a trade that sent veteran defender/midfielder Evan Whitfield and Botswana international Dipsy Selolwane to RSL in return for the Utah-based expansion club's third round selection in the upcoming 2005 MLS SuperDraft and a second round pick in the 2006 draft. A five-year veteran of the Fire, Whitfield registered 18 points on three goals and 12 assists in 103 career appearances (78 starts) since making his debut with Chicago on Mar. 25, 2000. The Duke University product became only the seventh member of the "Men in Red" to play 100 MLS contests with the Fire on Sept. 25, 2004, when he started in a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution at Soldier Field. Selolwane scored seven points (3g, 1a) in 25 matches (six starts) with the Fire after being drafted by Chicago 36th overall in 2002. Selolwane burst out the gates in 2004 by notching a club-high seven points (2g, 3a) during four games in CONCACAF Champions Cup play and also helped the Fire advance to the Final of the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by scoring a pair of game-winning goals in 1-0 victories in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. The deal leaves the Fire with two of its four available Senior International roster spaces in 2005 filled, with Costa Rican forward Andy Herron and Jamaican international Damani Ralph occupying the spots.
Fire and Brimstone (Cup)! Chicago Kicks Off 2005 Season at Soldier Field Against FC Dallas on Apr. 2
An old rivalry will begin anew for the Chicago Fire on Saturday, Apr. 2, when the Fire will open up its eighth season in Major League Soccer by hosting FC Dallas at Soldier Field at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Apr. 2 match will mark the continuation of the Brimstone Cup series against the re-named Dallas franchise (formerly the Dallas Burn) and will also serve as the final home opener for the Fire at Soldier Field, which will serve as the home venue for 16 games in 2005 before the club moves to its permanent home in Bridgeview in the Spring of 2006. The "Men in Red" will be looking to avenge the only two losses in a 3-2-2 record in MLS home openers, both of which have come against Dallas.
MLS's 10th season will open with First Kick 2005 and a full slate of six matches on Apr. 2, including the highly anticipated first game in the history of Club Deportivo Chivas USA as they play host to MLS Cup champion D.C. United at The Home Depot Center in a match to be broadcast live on ABC Sports (2:00 p.m. CT). The complete 2005 regular season schedule will be released later this month.
"Fire Family" Convenes in Carson for 2005 adidas MLS Player Combine
Fire General Manager Peter Wilt, Head Coach Dave Sarachan and his coaching staff will escape Chicago's chilly winter this weekend when the Fire contingent heads to The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA for the 2005 adidas MLS Player Combine, which takes place from Jan. 8-11. Wilt and the technical staff will not be the only members of the "Fire Family" in attendance, as seven of the 66 players invited to the camp were members of the 2004 Central Conference champion-winning Chicago Fire Reserves side this past summer. Boyzzz Khumalo (Coastal Carolina University), Cameron Knowles (University of Akron), Luke Kreamalmeyer (Bradley University), Julian Nash (Creighton University), Danny O'Rourke (Indiana University), Nick Pollard (Southwest Missouri State University) and Chris Rolfe (University of Dayton) will all take part in the annual event that showcases the best collegiate talent in advance of the MLS SuperDraft, which takes place next Friday, Jan. 14, 2005 in Baltimore, MD.
For the Record
"This is a difficult, but necessary trade to make. Dipsy has shown his abilities when he's been able to get playing time, but the Fire is crowded up front and he was using a valuable senior international slot. Evan is a consummate professional who has always represented the Fire well in games, in training and in the community. He has contributed much to the Fire organization and we will miss him. The moves bring two opportunities to draft talented young players in the future, but more importantly they free up two valuable roster spots that we plan to fill in the next month."
- Fire GM Peter Wilt on the trade that sent veterans Dipsy Selolwane and Evan Whitfield to Real Salt Lake