I’ve never been on the west coast for “The Big Game”. First time for everything and thanks to the Fire coaching staff, we’ll all have the afternoon off to watch the game beginning at 3:30pm out here on the west coast.
In advance of the “match”, I polled Fire players on who they wanted to see win the game. What ensued was a bit of an open conversation, interjections of soccer terminology and other hilarity…
Jeff Crandall: Hey Steven Kinney, who do you have in Wednesday’s “Big Game"?
Steven Kinney: I’d like to see the Ravens win. I’d like to see Ray Lewis go out on top. 1-0 Ravens.
JC: What about you Chris Rolfe?
Chris Rolfe: I have Coach Harbaugh.
JC: The Gaffer has already been joking about that... You can’t steal his thunder.
Chris Rolfe: Who’s playing? I like the 49ers. Tied: 1-1.
JC: Why do you think the 49ers?
Chris Rolfe: Because we’re in Northern California
JC: We’re in Southern California.
Logan Pause: We did drive an hour and a half north of LAX but we’re still in Southern California. California’s a big state.
JC: Who do you have winning the Super Bowl, el capitan?
Logan Pause: I have the Baltimore Ravens Football Club. 2-1 Ravens.
JC: When did they add FC to the title? Why do you have them?
Logan Pause: They’re on a great run right now, riding a lot of emotion. It’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon.
JC: Jalil Anibaba, you’re from NorCal… Who do you have winning the Big Game?
Jalil Anibaba: I’m a bit indifferent because I’m a Raiders fan. I like Ray Lewis a lot but I gotta stay with my Cali team and go with the 49ers. (2-2 tie).
JC: Hell freezing over? A Raiders fan cheering for the Niners?
Jalil Anibaba: I think they play good football. Their attack – I mean its not soccer – their offense is amazing and they’re exciting to watch so I’m going with them.
JC: Arne Friedrich, you’re a self-described “big Bears supporter”. Who do you have in Sunday’s match?
Arne Friedrich: I have no interest in either of these teams. For me it is always about the Bears.
JC: Arne, folks want to know what you think.
Arne Friedrich: If you’re forcing me to an answer, I’ll say Ravens but I don’t like it. (3-2 Ravens)
JC: Hey Gonzalo Segares, you’re from Costa Rica, I bet you’re a long-time 49ers fan.
Gonzalo Segares: Yes, the 49ers are actually my team. (3-3 tie).
JC: I was just joking. They’re your team? How so? Since when?
Gonzalo Segares: Since living in Costa Rica. In the early 90s my cousin was a 49ers fan so he had Steve Young and Jerry Rice posters – since then I’ve been following them.
JC: So you actually followed American football in Costa Rica?
Gonzalo Segares: Yes that’s where I learned how it was played by watching it on TV and then I became a bigger fan when I moved to the States in college
JC: So we’re tied at 3-3 (21-21 in American football). This is about as high scoring as soccer gets. To break the tie, I’ll ask Equipment Manager Charles Raycroft who he thinks will win.
Charles Raycroft: San Francisco 49ers. I like Colin Kaepernick and I do not like Ray Lewis.
JC: As always Charles, you're short and to the point.
There you have it, according to the Chicago Fire, the San Francisco 49ers will be crowned champions of “Big Game XLVII”.
Good evening from Ventura, Calif. where the first team escaped the snow of Chicago Saturday morning to begin Phase Two of 2013 Training Camp.
After arriving at our beach-side hotel, the team quickly ate and changed before heading to Oxnard Community College for a little over an hour long training session.
Notes from today:
- The long-rumored trade that would send forward Dominic Oduro to Columbus in exchange for Dilly Duka seems to have happened according to both players Twitter accounts and multiple reports. Oduro is not in Fire camp and Duka tweeted Saturday that he was headed to join the team in California. Expect an official announcement Monday.
- The Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz also added a significant rub to the trade: the Fire will also reportedly gain the MLS rights to out-of-contract U.S. international Robbie Rogers.
- 2012 Fire Defender of the Year Arne Friedrich trained with the team for the first time after being allowed to take extra time off while the side was in Ave Maria, Fla.
- After flying from Norway all day Friday, new signing Brendan King also trained for the first time.
- It was good to see midfielder Patrick Nyarko do some light ball work off to the side as he continues his comeback following a grueling 2012 campaign.
- Defender Hunter Jumper and forward Maicon Santos did not train with the team Saturday. Jumper pulled up lame in Wednesday's friendly vs. Columbus while Santos was unavailable for selection in the match after suffering an injury in the days leading up to the game.
- New trialists have arrive in camp. A full list will be published on Chicago-Fire.com in the coming days.
That's it for Saturday's notes... Take in some photos from training:
On this day 15 years ago, the Chicago Fire selected defender C.J. Brown first overall in the 1998 MLS Supplemental Draft.
Having spent the 1997 season with the San Francisco Bay Seals in the USISL D3 Pro League, Brown impressed then D.C. United head coach Bob Bradley as the Seals fell to the defending MLS Cup champions at the tournament’s semifinal stage.
Brown would of course go on to be part of all six of the club’s domestic titles and currently holds the Fire record for most competitive (372), regular season (296), playoff (25) and U.S. Open Cup appearances (25) amassed over his 13-year career in Chicago.
Last season, Brown forever wrote his name into Fire history as he became the seventh member of the Ring of Fire, joining Bradley, Piotr Nowak, Frank Klopas, Lubos Kubik, Peter Wilt and Chris Armas in the club’s Hall of Fame.
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson has been absent from camp in Ave Maria but like the past two January’s he’s had a good reason.
The budding American goalkeeper has spent much of the month in U.S. Men’s National Team camp with the gathering culminating in tonight’s friendly s. Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The Fire goalkeeper joined D.C. United’s Bill Hamid and Houston’s Tally Hall to round out the goalkeeping corps in Jurgen Klinsmann’s camp and like the past two January camps, will hope to earn another cap Tuesday night vs. the Canucks.
Though he hasn't made an appearance for the national team since the side's 1-0 friendly win at Panama a year a go, Johnson did earn a number call ups during the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying last fall.
Perhaps a good performance could put Johnson in the mix for a trip to San Pedro Sula as the U.S. opens up the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying at Honduras next Wednesday, February 6.
Catch Sean and the rest of the U.S. team Tuesday night LIVE at 8pm CT on ESPN2, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes.
Hope everyone's enjoying the snow back home... Just a bit of news for you on this lovely Friday afternoon in Ave Maria.
We're pleased to announce that Sunday's preseason opener vs. Florida Gulf Coast University in Ave Maria, Fla. will be live streamed here on Chicago-Fire.com beginning at 3pm CT.
A nice little recap from Thursday's trip to the beach in Naples. This one is for the ladies...
On Tuesday we reported midfielder Corben Bone would spend a week and a half training with Team for the World Alliance partners Atletico Madrid.
Today, we get photos from his visit to the Estadio Vicente Calderon. Check them out below...
The Section 8 Chicago Annual General Meeting is set for this Saturday, January 26 at 1pm in the Stadium Club at Toyota Park.
Open to ALL FIRE FANS, the AGM serves as a way for the Independent Supporters Association to discuss the past year and ftuture plans for supporter's culture. Its also when the ISA elects its board members for the coming year.
Along with the supporters activities, this year Chicago Fire Chief Operating Officer Atul Khosla will hold a Q&A session with those in attendance and you never know when someone from the first team may do a live look-in from Ave Maria, Fla...
Don't have a ride from the city? The ISA will be running a bus from Cleo's Chicago (1935 W. Chicago). Stay tuned to Section8Chicago.com or follow them on Twitter (@Section8Chicago) for more details in the coming days.
Prior to departing for Ave Maria, Fla. Fire Strength and Conditioning coach Tony Jouaux, with help from staff at the University of Illinois-Chicago's Human Performance Lab, put the team through the paces with the VO2 Max Fitness test.
What is the VO2 Max? Well, it tests the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during incremental exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of the individual.
Tony and some of the guys explain more in this video below but if you're wondering who the fittest guy on the team is, SPOILER ALERT, its Logan Pause.