The Chicago Fire only needed an early goal from rookie forward Calen Carr to beat fellow Major League Soccer side Chivas USA 1-0 in preseason exhibition play Saturday at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland, MS. Midfielder Thiago and forward Chad Barrett would assist on the decisive game-winning play, improving the Fire's overall record to 8-2-4 versus preseason competition.
Things would start out shaky early for the "Men in Red" in the 4th minute, a long Chivas USA pass from Jonathan Bornstein freeing an open Ante Razov in the Fire's own penalty area. Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton would off his line to make the play, fouling Razov for a penalty kick. Thornton is able to make up for his blunder though, saving the resulting Razov penalty kick and eventually clearing it out of the area.
Ten minutes later the Fire would answer back with offense of its own. A corner kick from Fire midfielder Thiago would connect with the head of Barrett, redirecting the ball toward Chivas USA's goal. Carr is able to redirect the Barrett header with one of his own for the goal, putting the Fire up 1-0 in the 14th minute.
Chivas USA would continue to pressure the Fire in spurts in the second half, with one of its best chances coming in the 63rd minute. A wide-open Chivas USA midfielder Jesus Pedilla would find himself one-on-one with Thornton, but his crack of a shot from eight yards out is quickly parried away from danger.
With the win, the Fire concluded its final preseason training camp in the Jackson, MS area, and will return home to Chicago early Sunday morning. The Fire will resume normal training sessions at Lake Forest College on Monday (subject to change), preparing for its game against FC Dallas as part of MLS First Kick 2006 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, TX on Saturday, Apr. 1 (3:00 p.m. CT, live on ABC Sports).
CHI - Calen Carr (Thiago, Chad Barrett) 14
CHI - Leonard Griffin (caution) 52, Jim Curtin (caution) 55
CHV - Jesse Marsch (caution) 62
Fire Lineup (3-5-2): Zach Thornton, Dasan Robinson, Jim Curtin, Leonard Griffin; Justin Mapp, Ivan Guerrero, Diego Gutierrez (John Thorrington 56), Logan Pause, Thiago, Calen Carr, Chad Barrett (Floyd Franks 90).
Chivas Lineup (4-4-2): Brad Guzan, Tim Regan, Claudio Suarez, Lawson Vaughn (Ezra Hendrickson 62), Jonathan Bornstein (Orlando Perez 46), Jesus Pedilla, Jesse Marsch, Sacha Kljestan, Francisco Mendoza, Juan Francisco Palencia (Drew Helm 46), Ante Razov