Damani Ralph will square off with Ben Olsen and D.C. United on Saturday.
Allen Kee/MLS/WireImage.com

Fire fight United for third place

Fire get back to business Saturday at D.C. United
The Chicago Fire (7-10-8, 29 pts.) will look to capture their first three-game winning streak of the 2004 campaign this Saturday when the club travels to the Nation's Capital to face D.C. United (7-9-9, 30 pts.) at RFK Stadium at 6:30 p.m. CT in a match that can be seen live in Chicagoland on Comcast Cable. Fans of the Fire can also listen live to the match via 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). As did their last meeting on Sept. 4, this Saturday's showdown will go a long way in determining positioning for the MLS Cup Playoffs, as United currently sits one point ahead of Chicago for third place in the Eastern Conference table with five games to go for both sides in the regular season.

Former Fire captain Peter Nowak's D.C. United team has been a welcome sight for the Fire in 2004, as the "Men in Red" will look to finish off a season sweep of the "Black-and-Red" at RFK Stadium after going a perfect 3-0-0 against United so far this year. The Fire are 3-5-1 all-time in the regular season on the road against United, which included the team's first victory of the 2004 campaign via a 1-0 victory at RFK Stadium on Apr. 24. The Fire now hold a 9-7-3 record in the regular season against D.C., and the "Men in Red" will carry a six-game overall winning streak over United heading into Saturday's contest, including a pair of 2-0 wins in last year's MLS Eastern Conference semifinals.

Forward Andy Herron joins Fire for training Monday
Costa Rican national team forward Andy Herron, who signed with the Fire last month, joined his fellow members of the "Men in Red" for the first time at the club's training session this morning at Lake Forest College. The 26-year-old Herron, who comes to Chicago on loan from Costa Rican team Club Sport Herediano, was signed on Aug. 31 after the Fire executed a trade with the Dallas Burn, acquiring a Discovery Option from Dallas in return for the Fire's 2005 natural third round selection. Herron, who will occupy the Fire's third and final Senior International spot, was a member of Club Sport Herediano from 2002-2004, helping the team to Costa Rica's Torneo Clausura title in 2004, while also leading the league in scoring with 12 goals and 13 assists. Herron has also impressed on the international level for Costa Rica, scoring four goals in his 13 appearances for the "Ticos," including a pair of tallies in three games (all starts) for Costa Rica during the semifinal round of CONCACAF region qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Pending medical and Visa approval, and receipt of his international transfer certificate from Club Sport Herediano, Herron will be available for selection by Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan for Chicago's match this Saturday at D.C. United.

Chicago Fire AthletiCo Sports Medicine injury report
Armas, Chris - R arthroscopic knee surgery - out
Capano, Craig - R knee Grade I MCL sprain - questionable
Razov, Ante - R arthroscopic ankle surgery - out

Fire welcome back Zach Thornton, waive Sumed Ibrahim
The Chicago Fire have acquired goalkeeper Zach Thornton from Major League Soccer in a move that reunites the 30-year-old netminder with the Fire, with whom he starred for the club's first six seasons. Per MLS policy, terms of the signing were not announced. After Thornton signed with MLS last week, the Fire had the first right of refusal to its former player, giving the "Men in Red" the option to reacquire the goalkeeper who was a fixture in the team's line-up from 1998-2003. The five-time MLS All-Star, who spent the last eight months with Portuguese First Division side Benfica, helped Chicago to four championships (MLS Cup '98 and 1998, 2000 and 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups) and three conference titles (2000, 2001 and 2003) during his first tenure with the Fire. To make room for Thornton on its 18-man senior roster, the club waived M/F Sumed Ibrahim.

Fire Fight for fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title Sept. 22 against Kansas City Wizards
For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Fire will take to the road for the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with the "Men in Red" squaring off for the title against the Kansas City Wizards next Wednesday, Sept. 22 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. at 7:30 p.m. CT. A 1-0 double-overtime triumph over the A-League's Charleston Battery in the tournament's semifinal round on Aug. 25 gave the Fire their first back-to-back championship game appearances in the team's history and their fourth overall trip to the title match in seven seasons of play in the competition. The two sides have met once before in a Cup final, when the Wizards used a 1-0 victory in MLS Cup 2000 to capture their only domestic title. The three-time Open Cup champion Fire are looking to become the first repeat champion in the competition since the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms accomplished the feat in 1982-83.

Marsch, Fire and FWFK Foundation to take part in Christopher House 5K Run/Walk for Literacy Thursday
The Chicago Fire and the club's charitable arm - the FireWorks for Kids Foundation - will sponsor the 8th Annual Christopher House 5K Run/Walk for Literacy, taking place this Thursday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT from Diversey Harbor in Chicago's Lincoln Park. As he did for last year's 5K Run/Walk for Literacy, Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch will serve as the Honorary Chairman for the event, and will be just one of many Fire players enjoying a rigorous run or a relaxing stroll along the shores of Lake Michigan to benefit Christopher House. This year's registration fee ($22 in advance, $25 day of race) includes entry into a raffle drawing, a post-race party, T-shirts for the first 600 entrants, awards for top three overall male and female winners, team winners and top three male and female in each of 12 age groups, a goody bag full of discounts and samples, and post-race refreshments at the race site. To receive more information about this year's Christopher House 5K Run/Walk for Literacy or to register for the race, please call Jill Antoniewicz of Christopher House at 773-472-1083 or log on to www.christopherhouse.org.

FireWorks for Kids Foundation to host First Annual Golf Marathon Challenge for Charity on Oct. 4
The FireWorks for Kids Foundation - the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire - has announced that it will hold the first-ever FireWorks for Kids Foundation Golf Marathon Challenge for Charity on Monday, Oct. 4, at the Ruffled Feathers Golf Club in Lemont, Ill. A maximum of 36 participants will be expected to finish one hundred holes of golf from sunrise to sunset to raise money for the FWFK Foundation during the pledge-based fundraising event. In the weeks leading up to the event, golfers will be asked to post a $100 refundable entry fee, which will be returned to the participant upon the commitment of a minimum of $2,500 in pledges. Green fees, a golf cart, golf balls, tees, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks will all be provided to the golfers throughout the day, and golfers that turn in a commitment card with their $100 refundable fee will receive a FWFK golf vest or pullover. Pledges above and beyond $2,500 will make participants eligible for prizes, which have yet to be determined. For more information on the FWFK Foundation Golf Marathon Challenge for Charity or to register for the event, please contact the FWFK office at 312-705-7260 or 312-705-7218.

Hall of Fame Induction set for Sept. 18 at Bob Chinn's in Chicago
Chicago Fire general manager Peter Wilt is one of eleven inductees into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. The 44-year-old Wilt will join fellow inductees Flo Dyson, Nedeljko Kralj, Federico Lopez, Peter Ioakimidis, Julio Parrales, Frank Tomek, Phil Riess, Joseph Soehn, Bruno Trapikas and Len Ziehm, all of whom will be honored with the state's highest soccer honor at ISSA's 2004 Soccer Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and Banquet this Saturday, Sept. 18, at Bob Chinn's Restaurant in Chicago beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT. For more information, please contact ISSA at 773-283-2800.


  • The Fire's Mexican league sister club, Monarcas Morelia, is still in search of their first victory in the 2004 COMEX Apertura season after suffering a 3-0 defeat at Tigres last Saturday evening. The "Monarchs" (0-0-4, 0 pts.) will have a pair of chances this week to climb back into the Group One race when it hosts another winless side, Cruz Azul (0-0-4, 0 pts.), this Wednesday at Morelos Stadium in Morelia at 8 p.m. CT before traveling to Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara to take on Atlas (1-2-1, 4 pts.) on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8:45 p.m. CT.

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