Tecos holds Fire to scoreless draw

GUADALAJARA, Mexico - The Chicago Fire played to a scoreless draw against Mexican First Division club Tecos in an exhibition contest in Sayula, Mexico. The match - played under 100-degree weather at kick-off - marked the second game of a three-game exhibition schedule during the Fire's preseason run in Mexico. The Fire is scheduled to play its final exhibition match south of the border on Thursday against Mexican power Atlas at Estadio Jalisco.

"It was a great exercise for us. We played a First Division team with many of its starters," said Fire head coach Dave Sarachan. "Even though we didn't score any goals, I feel we created some very good chances and it was important for our players to get playing time. Overall I feel that we're making very good progress this preseason."

The match started out pretty even, with both teams creating few scoring opportunities. The home team almost got on the board early on, as midfielder Pablo Metlich blasted a close-range shot in the 9th minute, his effort heading straight into the arms of Fire 'keeper Zach Thornton. Fire defender Ivan Guerrero created a great opportunity for the "Men in Red" in the 33rd minute. The Honduran international collected the ball at midfield and found midfielder Brian Plotkin unmarked near the right edge of the box. Plotkin in turn made a nice cross to forward Chad Barrett all alone at the top, but the ball was too long for the UCLA product.

Both teams came out of the locker room at the half with a higher level of intensity. Tecos came out shooting from the start, but second-half goalkeeper sub Matt Pickens made two excellent back-to-back saves to keep the Mexican side off the board. The Fire's best opportunity came in the 58th minute, when Barrett's 10-yard blast hit the crossbar. The Fire's Mexican trialist Gustavo Napoles made a great effort in the 70th minute, making a run up the right flank and blasting a shot, but the former Chivas player was called offside. Tecos would continue to fight, as the team made three consecutive shots in the final minutes of the game, with two of those shots being saved by Fire 'keeper David Mahoney.

With today's result, the Fire improves its record in spring training to 4-1-3. The "Men in Red" will continue its two-a-day training schedule on Wednesday before playing its final exhibition match in Guadalajara this Thursday, Mar. 2 at 12:00 p.m. CT from the historic Estadio Jalisco-home of Mexican powers Chivas and Atlas.

Scoring Summary: None

Fire Lineup (3-5-2): Zach Thornton (Matt Pickens 31, David Mahoney 58), C.J. Brown-captain (Dasan Robinson 46), Jim Curtin (Tony Sanneh 46), Jack Stewart (Jordan Russolillo 46), Logan Pause (Scott Buete 46), Brian Plotkin (Floyd Franks 46), Justin Mapp (Gustavo Napoles 56), Ivan Guerrero (Terry Alvino 46), John Thorrington (Leonard Griffin 56), Calen Carr (Isaac Moreno 46), Chad Barrett (Jeff Curtin 70).

Tecos Lineup (3-5-2): Juan Pablo Montano (Marcelo Alatorre 46), Carlos Ayala, Eduardo Lillingston (Marcos Garay 46), Cesar Adame, Diego Jimenez (Fernando Yeh 46), Carlos Casartelli, Rafael Gaytan, Pablo Metlich (Jesus Ochoa 46), Mario Rodriguez, Ruben Rubio Juan Antonio Huerta (Alberto Ramirez 46).

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