Fire look to build on Open win vs. Metros

The Chicago Fire (4-6-7, 19 pts.) will look to snap its seven-game winless streak in MLS play and reach closer to the top of the Eastern Conference standings when it travels to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ to take on the East-leading MetroStars (6-6-5, 23 pts.) at 6:30 p.m. CT. The Fire-MetroStars match will be televised live on Fox Sports Net and Fire fans can also follow the match live via Chicagoland radio stations WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish) and WNVR 1030 AM (Polish), and worldwide on the Internet at the team's official website, (English). The Fire, who defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Tuesday in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, will attempt to build on the momentum gained from that match to notch its first win in League play since June 5, when Chicago defeated D.C. United 3-0 at Soldier Field. Saturday's game will be the return match of a home-and-home series that began with a 1-1 draw in Chicago last Saturday and will be the fourth and final meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals during the 2004 MLS regular season.

Chicago Fire ACE/Tru-Fit Injury Report
Marsch, Jesse - R ankle cartilage damage -- out
Perez, Orlando - L quad contusion -- questionable
Razov, Ante - R ankle bone spur -- out
Whitfield, Evan - R abdominal strain -- probable

Fire History vs. MetroStars
The Fire and MetroStars will wrap up one of Major League Soccer's fiercest rivalries this Saturday when the two squads meet at Giants Stadium. The Fire continues to dominate the series against the MetroStars, as Chicago has collected an impressive 12-4-3 record in regular season play against its fellow Eastern Conference foe. Chicago has amassed a 10-1-3 record in their last 14 meetings, dating back to a 3-1 win at the old Soldier Field on Aug. 8, 2000. It has not mattered where the two squads have met, as the Fire has rolled to a 6-2-1 record at Giants Stadium and has gathered a nearly identical 6-2-2 mark in Chicagoland. In their prior three meetings this season, the Fire has come away with points in each contest, posting a 1-0-2 mark that has increased Chicago's current unbeaten streak against the Metros to nine games in MLS play (6-0-3), dating back to a 3-2 victory in East Rutherford on July 13, 2002. The Fire won the first meeting between the two clubs via a 3-0 victory on May 1 at Soldier Field. The teams fought to a 1-1 draw two weeks later on May 15 at Giants Stadium and reached a similar 1-1 result last Saturday at Soldier Field.

Sarachan Fined $500 by MLS Disciplinary Committee
Major League Soccer Thursday announced that the MLS Disciplinary Committee has fined Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan $500 for public criticism of game officials following last Saturday's 1-1 draw with the MetroStars at Soldier Field.

"Ironman" Curtin to Play in 50th Straight Match Saturday
Fire defender Jim Curtin shows no signs of stopping a pair of streaks that are tops amongst active field players in MLS. The recently named MLS All Star is expected to play in his 50th consecutive contest at Giants Stadium on Saturday, which is the most of any field player currently in MLS. Curtin enters the match having also appeared in the Fire's starting XI for 47 straight matches, a mark that is also the most among active field players in MLS alongside another "Jim" - Jimmy Conrad of the Kansas City Wizards. Goalkeepers Kevin Hartman (55) and Tony Meola (51) are first and second respectively in both categories among active MLS players.

Quick Kicks vs. MetroStars

  • D/M Evan Whitfield is expected make his return to the Fire line-up after a four game absence. The six-year Fire veteran missed one game due to a red card suspension and three matches from a strained right abdominal muscle.
  • Midfielder Scott Buete will also be available for Head Coach Dave Sarachan after he served a one game suspension last Saturday against the MetroStars. Buete earned the suspension after receiving a red card in Chicago's match at New England on July 14. Buete will also be one year wiser this weekend after celebrating his 24th birthday today.
  • Forward Damani Ralph has scored a goal in six of his seven career contests against the MetroStars.