Fire opens final season at Soldier Field tomorrow vs. Earthquakes

CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire (0-1-1, 1 pt.) will kick off its final season at historic Soldier Field tomorrow evening when the "Men in Red" host the San Jose Earthquakes (0-0-2, 2 pts.) on the lakefront at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the match can be purchased through TicketMaster by calling 312-559-1212 or visiting, or by visiting the Chicago Fire Offices, located at 980 N. Michigan, Suite 1998 in Chicago, by 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. Fans unable to see the match in person can watch the nationwide broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel, tune into Chicagoland radio stations WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish) and WNVR 1030 AM (Polish) or listen to the live webcast on the club's official website, (English).

Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Saturday, April 16 @ 7:30 p.m. CT: Soldier Field in Chicago, IL
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Satellite: VYVX Conf #1827996
Audio: WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish), WNVR 1030 AM (Polish), (English)
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Chicago Fire Recovery Room
Capano, Craig - L torn ACL surgery - Out
Herron, Andy - L ankle sprain - Doubtful
Rolfe, Chris - L groin strain - Questionable
Sanneh, Tony - R hip and hamstring strain - Out
Thornton, Zach - L oblique strain - Questionable

Series History vs. San Jose
Chicago holds an 8-5-7 advantage over the Earthquakes in their all-time regular season series heading into this Saturday's contest. That mark is due in large part to the Fire's success against its Western Conference foe in Chicagoland, where the "Men in Red" have dropped only one result while compiling a 5-1-4 mark against San Jose. The Fire will also ride a six-match unbeaten streak in regular season play against San Jose into Saturday, having posted a 2-0-4 mark in their 2003 and 2004 match-ups. The series has been fit to be tied as of late, as the Fire and 'Quakes have settled for a draw in seven of their last 11 meetings, including two last season (0-0 at SJ on Apr. 10, 1-1 at CHI on June 19).

Fire's Farewell to Soldier Field Begins Saturday
Saturday will mark the final home opener for the Chicago Fire at legendary Soldier Field, a building the club has called home for six of its eight MLS seasons. Chicago has come out of the gate with a 3-2-2 mark in its home openers, including a 3-2-0 record at Soldier Field. The Fire will be looking for its first win in a home opener since the 2001 season, when its opened up its Soldier Field slate with a 2-0 victory over D.C. United. The Fire dropped last year's home debut 2-0 against FC Dallas after drawing its two openers in Naperville's Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium (formerly Cardinal Stadium) in 2002 and 2003.

No Slim Pickens in MLS Debut
Second-year goalkeeper Matt Pickens came off the bench last Saturday in a rare relief appearance for starter Zach Thornton and shut the door on D.C. United, helping the Fire earn its first point of the 2005 campaign. The second half whistle marked the MLS debut for the product of Southwest Missouri State, who was loaned to the Virginia Beach Mariners by the Fire for much of the 2004 season while serving as the Fire's third goalkeeping option during his rookie year. With Thornton's status listed as questionable for Saturday's match against San Jose, Pickens could get the call from the opening whistle this time to earn his first MLS start, which would make him the second goalkeeper out of the Chicago Fire Premier (PDL) stable to start in MLS this season along with Chivas USA netminder Brad Guzan.

The Horseman Rides Again? Caballero Could Make Debut Saturday
After missing most of the previous month's action due to a hamstring injury, Fire defender Samuel Caballero is slated to make his much anticipated debut for the Fire in tomorrow's home opener. The Honduran international has played the full 90 minutes in a scrimmage against UIC on Apr. 5 and the Fire Reserves' inaugural match last Sunday at D.C. United in preparation for his debut with the first-team.

Quick Kicks vs. San Jose

• Defender Leonard Griffin will again be available for the Fire after sitting out a one-game suspension last week at D.C. for a red card he picked up in the club's season opener on Apr. 2 at FC Dallas.

• The Chicago Fire Reserves (0-1-0) will play their first-ever MLS Reserve League home contest this Sunday, Apr. 17 against their counterparts from San Jose at Flames Field, located on the campus of UIC at 901 W. Roosevelt St. in Chicago. Kick-off is slated for 10:00 a.m. CT and the match is open to media members and the public.