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Weekly update: Fire burning brightly

Fire Rockin' The Eastern Conference This Week Against KC/DC
The Chicago Fire (7-5-1, 22 pts.) will look to extend its third winning streak of the 2005 season this week when it travels to face D.C. United on Wednesday, June 15 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC (6:30 p.m. CT, Comcast Cable Systems) before returning to Soldier Field for a matinee match-up against the Kansas City Wizards this Saturday, June 18 (3:00 p.m. CT, ESPN2). Fans can follow both contests on Chicagoland radio stations WRTO-AM 1200 (Spanish) and WNVR-AM 1030 (Polish) and the Fire's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com (English), where links for the Spanish and Polish radio broadcasts can also be found.

Series History vs. D.C. United
The Fire will head to the nation's capital for the final time during the regular season on Wednesday to face off against the defending MLS Cup Champions. The "Men in Red" got a point out of their first visit to the District, with rookie striker Chris Rolfe's 50th minute equalizer earning the Fire a 1-1 draw and the team's first point of the 2005 campaign back on Apr. 9 at RFK Stadium. The result brought the Fire's record against the "Red-and-Black" to 9-8-4 in regular season play, including a 3-6-2 ledger in games at RFK Stadium. The Fire will host the last two games in the season series at Soldier Field on June 29 and Aug. 6.

Series History vs. Kansas City
Domination is the only way to put the Fire's series with the Kansas City Wizards in perspective, as the "Men in Red" have rolled up a 14-4-2 record during regular season play against their new Eastern Conference rivals entering the first of four games between the two sides this Saturday. The Fire has been perfect at home against the Wizards, posting a spotless 9-0-0 record against Kansas City in games played in Chicagoland. While the Fire has handled the Wizards during the regular season, the blue-clad club has gotten the better of the Fire in their two biggest meetings, posting 1-0 victories over the Fire in both the 2000 MLS Cup and 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final.

Chicago Fire AthletiCo Injury Report
Armas, Chris - R ankle sprain - Questionable
Capano, Craig - L torn ACL surgery - Out
Herron, Andy - R hamstring strain - Doubtful
Pickens, Matt - R groin strain - Out

Marsch Looks to Join MLS' 200-Game Club Wednesday at D.C. United
Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch will join the ranks of captain Chris Armas - and 12 others MLS players - by suiting up in his 200th regular season match the next time he hits the field, which could be as early as Wednesday's match at D.C. Untied. Marsch hit number 199 by starting and playing the full 90 minutes in Sunday's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Soldier Field. In his 10-year MLS career, the "Fire Original" has made it to the starting eleven 171 times while posting 20 goals and 30 assists. Marsch's 200th appearance could bring his career full circle should it take place against D.C. United, with whom he began MLS career back in 1996. Marsch might not be the only "Mr. 200" on Wednesday, as D.C. United striker Jaime Moreno also enters the contest sitting on 199 career games played. Marsch should hope to equal the task of Armas, who scored a goal and an assist while becoming the 12th player in League history to reach the 200-game plateau on May 28 in a 3-0 Fire win at Real Salt Lake.

Barrett Goal Lifts U.S. U-20s to Upset Win Over Argentina in FIFA World Youth Championship
The Unites States Under-20 Men's National Team saw Fire forward Chad Barrett's first half goal stand tall last Saturday, as the Red, White & Blue opened up play in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships with a shocking 1-0 upset victory over pre-tournament favorite Argentina last Saturday at Arke Stadium in Enschede, Holland. Barrett sparkled in the match, as he helped the USA put consistent pressure on the South Americans, including his header in the 39th minute off a Marvell Wynne cross that would prove to be the game's lone tally. The 20-year-old striker put in 85 minutes of work in the contest before leaving the match in favor of defensive specialist Danny Szetela. Fire M/F Will John was an available sub for U.S. Head Coach Sigi Schmid's team, but was not utilized in the contest. The U.S. (1-0-0, 3 pts.) will have the opportunity to clinch the top spot in the "Group of Death" tomorrow when they take on Group D co-leaders Germany (1-0-0, 3 pts.) at Arke Stadium at 1:30 p.m. CT (8:30 p.m. local time) in a match that will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. The U.S. will round out pool play this Saturday, June 18 when it faces Egypt (0-1-0, 0 pts.) at 6:30 a.m. CT (1:30 p.m. local time) at Arke Stadium (live on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision). Fans can also follow every U.S. match at the World Youth Championship via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

Johnson Helps Canada Gain Draw in World Youth Championship Opener
Fire forward Will Johnson helped the Canadian Under-20 Men's National Team to a 1-1 draw against Syria yesterday at the Willem II Stadium in Tilburg, Holland in the opening contest for both sides in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. Johnson, who had scored in both of the Maple Leafs' two previous matches, played the entire contest for Canada (0-0-1, 1 pt.), who sits in a second-place tie with Syria in Group E behind leaders Colombia (1-0-0, 3 pts.). Canada will face off against Colombia this Wednesday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. CT (8:30 local time) before finishing group play against Italy this Saturday, June 18 at 6:30 a.m. CT (1:30 p.m. local time).

Fire President/CEO John Guppy to Chat With Fans Online This Thursday
New Fire President/CEO John Guppy will log in for a one-hour online chat with soccer fans on the club's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com, this Thursday, June 16 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT. Guppy will chat with fans about what fans can expect from the Fire this season, his new role within the team and how the new Bridgeview Stadium project is progressing. Guppy will answer questions from the public during the chat, but fans are also welcome to email their questions prior to the event at sweeper@mlsnet.com. The 37-year-old Guppy was named President and CEO of the Chicago Fire on Apr. 11, 2005.

Watch Wednesday's Game With Fellow Fire Faithful at Kitty O'Shea's Viewing Party
Though the Fire will be out of town this week, that's no excuse to miss a chance to watch the "Men in Red" take on D.C. United on Wednesday night around your fellow Fire fans! The Chicago Fire will be hosting its official viewing party for its match at United this Wednesday at Kitty O'Shea's, located at 720 S. Michigan Avenue inside the Hilton Hotel, beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT. In addition to food and drink specials, fans that bring in a ticket stub from yesterday's Fire-FC Dallas match will receive a free appetizer. For more information on the Fire's away match viewing parties, visit the "Fans" section of the team's official website, www.Chicago-Fire.com.

Fire ESPN Zone Fan 4-Packs On Sale for "Soccer Saturday" Showdown
Fire fans can save big on ticket prices for this Saturday's "MLS Soccer Saturday" showdown against the Kansas City Wizards at Soldier Field by purchasing a Fire ESPN Zone Fan 4-Pack. The ESPN Zone Fan 4-Pack includes four 100-level Premier tickets in camera view, free cheer sticks and double points for the game room/arcade (requires ticket stub) at the Chicago ESPN Zone, located at the corners of Ohio and Wabash in downtown Chicago, for only $84 - offering fans a savings of $36 off the regular price! To order the ESPN Zone Fan 4-Pack, or other special Fire 4-Packs being offered throughout the summer, visit www.Chicago-Fire.com or call 1-888-MLS-FIRE.

Reiter Does the Double for Slovakia and Fire
It was an eventful week for forward Lubos Reiter, who made the most of his substitute appearances for his native Slovakia and the Fire in victories for both club and country. Reiter wasted no time in hitting the back of the net for the Slovakian National Team in their World Cup Qualifying contest at Luxembourg last Wednesday, scoring his ninth goal as a senior international just one minute after entering in the 59th minute of Slovakia's 4-0 victory. Reiter brought the momentum back with him across the pond, as the 30-year-old striker equaled the feat yesterday for the Fire, scoring the first goal of his MLS career in the 91+ minute to help Chicago cement a 2-0 victory over Western Conference leaders FC Dallas.

Fire Academy Camps Head to Wheaton and Windy City's Calumet Park
The Chicago Fire Youth Development Program will continue its summer series of Fire Academy Soccer Camps next week with five-day stops in Chicago and Wheaton. The Fire Academy Camps offer specialized training for individual players or teams, with the weeklong programs designed to accommodate players from ages 8 to 18. The Wheaton camp will take place at Seven Gables Park, located at the corner of Naperville Road and Danada Drive, from Monday, June 20 through Friday, June 24 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. CT, while the Chicago camps will be held at Calumet Park, located at 9801 S Avenue G, on the same dates from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. CT. For more information on the Chicago Fire Academy Soccer Camps this summer, please contact the Fire Youth Development Program at 312-705-7212.

Fire-Wizards Reserve League Match Moved to Lemont as Part of Doubleheader With Fire Premier
The Chicago Fire has announced a venue and time change for its MLS Reserve League match against the Kansas City Wizards. The contest, originally scheduled to take place this Saturday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m. at Soldier Field, will remain on Saturday but will now be held at Lemont High School, located at 131st Street and Bell Road in southwest suburban Lemont, IL, at 8:00 p.m. CT as part of a doubleheader with the Chicago Fire Premier of the Premier Development League, who will face off against the Thunder Bay Chill at 5:30 p.m. CT. Tickets for the doubleheader will cost $8 for adult and $6 for children. The Fire Reserves enter the contest with a 2-2-2 mark and eight points, tying them with Colorado and San Jose for a share of fifth place in the Reserve Division's single-table standings. The Wizards Reserves have gone winless (0-2-3, 3 pts.) in their first five contests.

Fire's Senior Development Squad and Croatian Olympic Team Duel to 2-2 Draw
Nearly 1,000 fans saw the Chicago Fire Youth Development Program's Senior Development (U-23s) squad fight to a 2-2 draw against the Croatian Olympic Team (U-21) last Saturday at Winnemac Stadium in the first-ever national team match for the European country in the United States. The Croatians took a lead into the halftime break, courtesy of a Luka Modric penalty kick just past the half-hour mark. The advantage could have been larger for the visitors if not for some stellar goalkeeping from the Fire's Ante Cop, who made a handful of world-class saves on his fellow countryman to keep the home team in the match. The Fire came out with renewed energy in the second half that paid off just three minutes into the stanza, when Tyson Masur headed in a short cross from Paul Dolinsky to even the match at 1-1. A breakaway goal from Bayer Leverkusen product Josip Tadic put Croatia back on top, but an own goal on a failed clearance by Dejan Prijic would bring the score back to level in the 83rd minute. The result was an impressive one for the newly-formed Fire Senior Development squad, which was assembled by Head Coach Larry Sunderland and Assistant Coach Paul Cadwell just two weeks prior to the international exhibition and was playing only its second match together.

Fan Voting For 2005 MLS All-Star Game Now Live on MLSNet.com
Fans can now cast their votes for the MLS All-Stars who will take the field against English Premier League club Fulham FC in the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game. On July 30, "MLS All-Stars Take on the World" as Major League Soccer's best take on Fulham FC at Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH in a game televised nationally on ABC Sports (2:30 p.m. CT). Fans can vote for the starting XI by filling out the online ballot on the League's official website www.MLSnet.com until Friday, July 8, 2005. Fans can vote for 11 starting players from a pool of 144 total candidates via the online ballot - one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. A maximum of 10 ballots may be submitted per person per day and there are no limits on how many days fans can vote. The online fan balloting will comprise 25 percent of the total, with MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent) accounting for the remainder.


  • The Fire would like to congratulate the Chicago Fire Juniors U-17 Boys Team on its runner-up finish in the 2005 Illinois State Cup. The team, led by Fire assistant coach Daryl Shore, fell in the final over the weekend to the Chicago Magic by a slim 2-1 margin, losing in the eighth round of penalty kicks after finishing tied at 1-1 following regulation. The finish marks the best ever by a Fire Juniors squad in the statewide, knockout competition in the club's brief two-year history.

  • The Fire would like to extend birthday greetings to both defender C.J. Brown and M/F Will John. Brown, one of four remaining "Fire Originals" from the 1998 squad, will turn 30 years of age on Wednesday, June 15, while John is celebrating his 20th birthday today in Holland, where he is currently with the U.S. Under-20 National Team that is participating in the FIFA World Youth Championship.

  • There will be a "Chicago Derby" in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the second straight year, as U.S. Soccer has announced that the Chicago Fire Premier of the Premier Development League will take on the AAC Eagles of the United States Amateur Soccer Association (USASA) in a first round match this Wednesday, June 15. The contest, which will count as a home match for the Fire Premier, will take place at Jacobs High School in Algonquin, IL at 8:00 pm. CT.

  • The Chicago Fire Premier rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Michigan Bucks last Saturday at Lemont HS to stay atop the PDL's Great Lakes Division. The Premier (5-0-1, 16 pts.) used first half goals from Jeffrey Rowland and David Leung and a pair from second-half sub Nowaf Jaman to roll to a 4-0 lead in the contest between the division rivals. Following its U.S. Open Cup first round match this Wednesday, the Fire Premier will return to league play during weekend with a pair of matches against the Thunder Bay Chill. The first contest will take place this Saturday, June 18 at Lemont H.S. - located at 131st Street and Bell Road in southwest suburban Lemont, IL - at 6:00 p.m. CT and will be the opener of a soccer doubleheader that will also feature the Chicago Fire Reserves taking on their counterparts from the Kansas City Wizards. The Fire Premier and Chill will continue the series on Sunday afternoon at Moraine Valley CC Stadium in Palos Hills, IL at 5:00 p.m. CT. For more information on the Chicago Fire Premier, including ticket information and directions to all home game sites, please visit www.chicagofirepremier.com.

  • The Chicago Gaels FC hung tough for a half, but ultimately ran out of gas in a 6-2 defeat to the West Michigan Firewomen last Saturday at Lemont H.S. in Chicago. A 38th minute goal from Katie Champion brought the Gaels (0-5-1, 1 pt.) level at 1-1 heading into the halftime break, but a five-goal second half from the Firewomen put the result out of doubt. The Gaels will take an 11-day break between contests before returning to Lemont to host the Fort Wayne Fever Women (1-5-0, 3 pts.) on Wednesday, June 22 at 5:00 p.m. CT. For more information on Chicago's newest soccer team, visit www.chicagogaelsfc.com.

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