Fire vs. Burn pregame report

After capturing a spot in the U.S. Open Cup Final courtesy of a 1-0 double overtime victory over the Charleston Battery in the tournament's semifinals on Wednesday, the Chicago Fire (5-9-7, 22 pts.) will return to MLS play tomorrow when it squares off in a Brimstone Cup showdown against the Dallas Burn (8-9-5, 29 pts.) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX at 7:30 p.m. CT. Fox Sports Net will air the match live, and Fire fans can follow the match live on Chicagoland radio stations WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish) and WNVR 1030 AM (Polish), while a simulcast of the FSN feed will be available worldwide via the internet on the team's official website, (English).

Chicago Fire at Dallas Burn
Saturday, August 28 @ 7:30 p.m. CT
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, TX
Satellite: KU Band AMC 9, Tr. 17
Radio: WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish), WNVR 1030 AM (Polish), (English)
Game notes

Chicago Fire ACE/Tru-Fit injury report
Armas, Chris - R knee inflammation - questionable
Marsch, Jesse - R ankle pain - questionable
Razov, Ante - R ankle bone spur - out

Fire history vs. Burn
With the fierce rivalry that has developed between the Fire and the Burn over the years, it should be no surprise that the series between the two "Brimstone Cup" combatants, which the Fire trails by a slim 9-10-1 margin, is one of the closest in all of Major League Soccer. While the overall margin is close, Chicago will be looking to improve upon its 2-7-0 mark against the Burn on the road. The Fire and Burn see each other only twice in 2004, with Saturday's match-up capping the season series, which Dallas leads 1-0-0 after defeating Chicago at Soldier Field on Apr. 17 by a 2-0 score.

Super sub Selolwane and Perez link up again to carry Fire to U.S. Open Cup Final
For the second straight match in the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, Fire forward Dipsy Selolwane headed in an Orlando Perez cross to give the Fire a 1-0 victory, this time in the 107th minute of last Wednesday's semifinal contest against the A-League's Charleston Battery at Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium in Naperville. As he did in the club's previous match in the quarterfinals at the Richmond Kickers, Perez sought out Selolwane from the left flank with a pinpoint cross, which the Botswanan international met with his head from just outside the six-yard box. The result sends the Fire into its fourth U.S. Open Cup Final in seven years, but the appearance will mark the first back-to-back title games for the "Men in Red." The Fire will face the Kansas City Wizards in the championship match on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. 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 is looking to become the first repeat champion in the competition since the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms accomplished the feat in 1982-83.

(#) 2 is a crowd... C.J. Brown joins Marsch and Thornton atop Fire record books
While Jesse Marsch recently landed in a tie with Zach Thornton for career games played with the Fire, that duo had to make room for one more fellow "Fire Original" atop the club's record books, as defender C.J. Brown tied the mark of 164 games in a Fire uniform last Saturday against the L.A. Galaxy. Brown wasn't done there, as he also tied Thornton for first place in career starts with his 162nd selection to Chicago's starting XI. Brown could make those records his own Saturday against Dallas at the Cotton Bowl, as the playing status of Marsch remains questionable. Brown has gained on the leaders in both categories by starting in all of his 16 appearances for the Fire in League play this season, including each of the last eight matches.

Playing for the Brimstone Cup
When the Fire and Burn renew one of Major League Soccer's most established rivalries Saturday in Dallas, it will be the Burn who sits in the driver's seat to lift the Brimstone Cup in 2004. The Brimstone Cup is awarded annually to the squad that takes the most points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw) in the season series between the two rivals, which includes MLS regular season, U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup Playoff matches. Dallas currently leads this year's standings 3-0 after taking their first of two encounters with Chicago on Apr. 17 at Soldier Field. The Burn is in prime position to win the Cup again this season and can do so outright with a win or a tie. Should the Fire even up the standings with a win on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, the Burn would likely retain possession of the Cup, as the previous year's holder keeps possession of the trophy in the case of a tie. The only way Chicago could lift the trophy this year is with a win or draw on Saturday and a victory in a possible rematch at The Home Depot Center on Nov. 14 in MLS Cup 2004.

Quick kicks vs. Burn

  • Both Chicago and Dallas have netted 36 goals in the 20 regular season Brimstone Cup clashes between the two sides.
  • The elder statesman of the Fire, captain Chris Armas, will be looking to have a win for his birthday this weekend. The leader of the "Men in Red" will turn 32 years of age on Sunday.
  • Fire defender Jim Curtin has continued to lengthen his streaks of games played and games started, which stand at 54 and 52 respectively heading into Saturday's contest at Dallas. The central defender currently holds the second longest active streaks in both categories, ranking behind only L.A. Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman's stretch of 59 consecutive starting nods and appearances. Curtin is also chasing the Fire record in the categories, as his marks are second on the Fire's all-time list behind only Jesse Marsch's 58 straight games and starts.

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