CHICAGO - An exciting weekend of action in the Eastern Conference settled the ranking of its top three sides, with the Chicago Fire (15-12-4, 49 points) settling for the third seed after a 2-1 loss to Columbus Saturday night. Meanwhile, D.C. United (16-10-5, 53 points) dropped a 2-1 decision to the MetroStars Saturday, meaning that former Fire captain Peter Nowak's squad will settle for the second seed to set up a battle with the Fire in the Eastern Conference Semifinal Series for the second time in three years. The home-and-home series between the Fire and United will begin with Chicago hosting D.C. in Game 1 at Soldier Field on Friday, Oct. 21 (8 p.m. CT).
Game 2 of the series will be played in the Nation's Capital on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 3:30 p.m. CT in a match that will be aired nationally on ESPN2. The winner of the two-game series will face the winner of the New England Revolution vs. Kansas City/MetroStars series to determine the 2005 MLS Eastern Conference Champion.
Tickets for Game 1 of the Fire-United Eastern Conference Semifinal Series and a possible home contest in the Eastern Conference Championship are now on sale, with every seat at Soldier Field during the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs costing only $25. Group prices for 10 or more seats are available for $20. The Fire has also introduced its Special RED ALERT Playoff 4-Pack, which includes four playoff tickets and four RED ALERT playoff T-shirts for a cost of $96. Tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 312-559-1212 or by visiting their official website at www.ticketmaster.com. Season ticket holders are asked to use Bonus Game/Parking Pass "B" for Game 1 of the Fire-United series.
Additionally, Executive Suites are available for only $1,000, with the pricing including 20 tickets and four parking passes. For information on the Fire's Executive Suites at Soldier Field, please call Michael Colletti at 312-705-7239. For additional information, please call the Fire offices at 1-888-MLS-FIRE or visit the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.
The Fire and DC are no strangers in the postseason. In 1998, the expansion Fire, led by current D.C. Head Coach Peter Nowak, stunned the defending MLS Cup Champion (1996 and 1997) D.C. United, shutting out then-Head Coach Bruce Arena's squad 2-0 to claim its first-ever championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. The two squads would not meet again in the postseason until November 2003 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, as Chicago swept United 2-0 in both games en route to its third appearance in an MLS Cup Final.
The Fire will kick-off its public on-sale for Bridgeview Stadium on Monday, Oct. 17 beginning at 10:00 a.m. CT. The event will offer fans the opportunity to pick out their seats for the club's inaugural season at the new, world-class facility, located on the corner of 71st Street and Harlem in Bridgeview. Fans can pick out their seats by checking out the Bridgeview seating chart in the Ticket section at www.Chicago-Fire.com. For more information on the public on-sale, please call 1-888-MLS-FIRE.