After a two-week hiatus from league play, the Chicago Fire (4-8-7, 19 pts.) will look to gain some momentum heading into the final third of its MLS regular season slate by posting favorable results this week against two Western Conference opponents at Soldier Field. The "Men in Red" will first play host to the San Jose Earthquakes (6-6-6, 24 pts.) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT in the last meeting of the regular season between last year's MLS Cup 2003 combatants. The Fire will round out the busy week when it welcomes the Colorado Rapids (6-6-8, 26 pts.) to the Windy City this Saturday in a match that also kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT. Neither match will be televised locally, but both contests can be heard live via Chicagoland radio stations WRTO 1200 AM (Spanish) and WNVR 1030 AM (Polish) and online worldwide via the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com (English).
The Fire and Earthquakes will be squaring off for the third and final time this season when they meet on the banks of Lake Michigan Wednesday. Following their recent trend against each other, both prior matches between Chicago and San Jose this season have ended in ties - a scoreless draw on Apr. 10 at Spartan Stadium in San Jose preceding a 1-1 affair at Soldier Field on June 19. Seven of the last 10 meetings between last year's Conference champions have ended in draws, including the last four in Chicagoland dating back to the 2001 season. The Fire is 4-1-4 at home against San Jose and 7-5-7 overall against the Earthquakes in regular season play.
Saturday will also mark the end of the season series between Chicago and Colorado, who will meet for the third time overall and the second time at Soldier Field. Chicago will be looking for revenge, as the Rapids defeated the Fire 2-0 in their last meeting just two weeks ago on July 28 at Denver's INVESCO Field. The weekend affair will mark the rubber match in the season series, as Chicago won the first contest 1-0 on May 29 at Soldier Field. The Fire has dominated Colorado in Chicagoland, as evidenced by the squad's 9-2-0 record against the Rapids at home, which includes a six-game home winning streak that dates back to a 2-1 victory on Sept. 9, 2000 at the old Soldier Field. The Fire will look to improve upon its 11-7-3 all-time regular season record against the Rapids on Saturday.
Chicago Fire Injury Report
Marsch, Jesse - R ankle cartilage damage - questionable
Razov, Ante - R ankle bone spur - out
Whitfield, Evan - lower abdominal strain - probable
Fire Advances to U.S. Open Cup Semifinals, Road to Fourth Dewar Trophy Continues Against Charleston
The Chicago Fire continued its trek towards a fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship last Wednesday when it battled past a tough Richmond Kickers squad for a 1-0 quarterfinal victory at the University of Richmond Stadium in Richmond, Va. The Fire will next host another A-League squad, the Charleston Battery, in a semifinal contest on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at its former home of Benedetti-Wehrli Stadium (formerly Cardinal Stadium) on the campus of North Central College in Naperville, IL at 7:30 p.m. CT for the right to advance to the final of the 91st edition of the nation's oldest soccer competition. The Fire won twice in Naperville last year en route to its 2003 championship in the competition. Tickets for the semifinal match are for General Admission seating and cost $20, with discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Fans can purchase tickets online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE.
HDNet to Broadcast Oct. 6 Fire-Crew Match at Soldier Field
Major League Soccer and HDNet have announced the network's MLS broadcast schedule for the second half of the MLS season. The Fire will appear only once on the high-definition channel over the final two months of the season when it plays host to the Columbus Crew at Soldier Field on Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The broadcast will mark the first visit for HDNet to the new Lakefront venue since its opening last October. In addition to its regular season coverage, HDNet will also carry three MLS Cup Playoff games, including a Conference Final match-up on Saturday, Nov. 6.
For the Record:
"I tell you what, I like these yellow jerseys. Until we lose I'd like to say we'll keep them!" - Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan on the Fire's success in the team's new Puma third uniforms. Chicago is 2-0-1 in the yellow, blue and red Monarcas Morelia-inspired kits since debuting them on July 11 against New England, including both wins in the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Earthquakes and Rapids to Train at Moody Bible College This Week
Both the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids will train at Moody Bible College, located on Oak Street between Wells and Orleans Streets in downtown Chicago, in advance of their matches against the Fire this week. After arriving in the Windy City on Monday night, the Earthquakes will train on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. CT. The Rapids will conduct their training session on Friday afternoon beginning at 3:45 p.m. CT. Both practices are closed to the public but will be open to members of the media.