Blog

jeff crandall

04 December 7:34 pm

Since 2001, the Mock World Cup Draw has been a fixture of sorts in the Crandall Household. Let’s be real though, the scale of it was quite small and usually just consisted of me pulling names out of a hat alone in my room.

Alas, Wednesday I took advantage of the soccer constituency available around the club’s Toyota Park office and welcomed my co-workers to the 2014 Chicago Fire Mock World Cup draw in Conference Room 1...

Chicago Fire 2014 Mock World Cup draw

All of the spelled out procedures for Friday’s draw were followed, such as pulling the odd ninth team out of the European Pot. Fire Season Ticket Services Representative Emily Morris assisted with this and randomly selected England.

We also automatically placed hosts Brazil into Group A…

Chicago Fire 2014 Mock World Cup draw

And then began placing the remaining seven seeds into their groups...

Which ended up looking like this...

Then in order to place England into a group, we put the four South American teams back into a Pot, and drew....

Finally, we drew the mixed South America/Africa pot and came away with this grouping...

Emily then began to draw the mixed CONCACAF/AFC pot...With many in the room holding U.S. and Mexico cheering interests, this proved most dramatic...

 

The European pot was the last to be drawn, adding to the drama and finality of the mock draw. A proud U.S. Men's National Team supporter, Emily was left doing this face after completing the draw...

And this is why...

Suffice to say, no U.S. fan came away from this exercise doing this...

...but thankfully, I'm not Sepp Blatter and this thing was just for fun.

Do your own mock draw ahead of Friday's official event (the spelled out procedures can be found here). Then join us for our World Cup Draw Bracket Brunch Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Ave.).

04 December 10:29 am

FIFA revealed the pots and procedures for the 2014 FIFA World Cup draw set to be held Friday morning in Coasta do Sauipe, Brazil.

The Pots:

Pot 1 (Seeds): Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2 (CAF/CONMEBOL): Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria
Pot 3 (AFC/CONCACAF): Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, USA
Pot 4 (UEFA): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia*

The procedure:

Step One: This is really the only variation from the previous wisdom on the draw. Instead of putting the lowest seeded team (in this case France) into Pot 2, FIFA will randomly draw one team out of Pot 4 to go into the mix CAF/CONMEBOL group of teams.

Step Two: Pot 1 will be drawn with Brazil automatically going into Group A. The rest of the seeded teams will be randomly drawn into Groups B-H and will also automatically take Position 1 (B1, C1, D1, etc…) in their group. This is important because there is already a set schedule which corresponds to each group position.

Step Three: With a mixed pot of three confederations, Pot 2 would run the risk of breaking FIFA’s rule of geographic separation which keeps nations from the same confederation (outside of two from UEFA) from being in the same group. In order to avoid having three European teams, there will be an additional “Pot X” featuring the four seeded South American teams. The country drawn out of this pot will automatically be grouped with the carryover UEFA team in the already established group.

Pot two will then be drawn, with all countries being pulled with a corresponding number to assign their group position. In the event that Chile or Ecuador is drawn into a South American seeded group, that group will be skipped with the country going into the next available (European seeded) group.

Step Four: Draw pots three and four.

Step Five: Celebrate or mourn your country’s prospects for next summer in Brazil.

Watch all the drama go down with your fellow lovers of the "Beautiful Game" at our World Cup Bracket Brunch this Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Avenue)! Stay tuned to Chicago-Fire.com as we'll conduct our own mock draw later on Wednesday.

Chicago Fire 2014 World Cup Bracket Brunch on Friday, December 6 at Fado Irish Pub

03 December 12:27 pm

Mike Magee became the first Chicago Fire player since Wilman Conde in 2009 to grab an MLS Best XI selection on Tuesday. The Chicago native joined an exclusive club of 14 players that have earned the honor while with the Men in Red, adding up to 22 total selections (third highest in MLS) since 1998.

For the record, former Fire captain Chris Armas has the most Best XI selections with the club, earning five (1998-2001, 2003) during his 10-year career with the Men in Red.

See below the club's previous MLS Best XI selections:

01 December 12:11 pm

Two schools with Fire Academy ties will continue their quest for the 2013 NCAA College Cup in the tournament’s third round on Sunday.

Coming off the program’s first ever NCAA tournament win last Sunday vs. Akron, the #9 Marquette Golden Eagles travel to Charlottesville to take on perennial collegiate powerhouse #8 Virginia at noon CT.

Ex-Fire Academy goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made eight saves to push Marquette past the Zips in last week’s 1-0 overtime win and is joined by Fire alums Bryan Ciesulka, Brady Wahl, Louis Bennett II and Eric Pothast on the Golden Eagles squad.

Fans can catch the match LIVE via CBSSports.com beginning at noon CT.

Later that afternoon, catch much-talked about Fire Homegrown Prospect Harry Shipp as he leads #3 Notre Dame against #14 Wake Forest at 6pm CT in South Bend, Ind.

The ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Shipp tallied two goals in the Irish’s 4-0 second round win last weekend over Wisconsin to reserve Sunday’s date vs. the Demon Deacons and is joined in South Bend by fellow Fire Academy alum Danny Lojek. 

Catch the game LIVE at 6pm CT on WatchND.com

26 November 11:10 am

Just eight days away from Major League Soccer's MVP announcement and Mike Magee has picked up another endorsement, this time coming from SBNation.com's merry band of soccer editors. SBNation.com is of course the parent organization of Chicago Fire-related blog, "Hot Time in Old Town".

Magee garnered 14 of the 25 available votes, doubling up on next closest candidate Robbie Keane.

The nod from SBNation.com is the latest in a series of endorsements featuring Landon Donovan (sort of), The Washington Post's Steven Goff and Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney. Let us not forget, Magee also collected Section 8 Chicago's 2013 Supporters Player of the Year Award on Saturday as well.

Joel Biden awards Mike Magee 2013 Section 8 Chicago Supporters Player of the Year award

The MLS Best XI (which Magee is expected to be on) is set to be announced next Tuesday, December 3 while the MVP award will be doled out Thursday, December 5.

Magee would be the first player in the club's 16-year playing history to garner the league's highest individual honor. 

Until then, watch the #MikeMageeMVP video one more time...

21 November 12:16 pm

It comes as little surprise, just a day after being named one of three finalists for the MLS Most Valuable Player award, gathered another important accolade Thursday as he was vote Section 8 Chicago’s Supporters Player of the Year.
 
The award comes on the heels of Magee already taking the Club’s Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot award just prior to the end of the 2013 regular season.
 
Mike will be on hand Saturday at A.J. Hudson’s Public House (3801 N. Ashland) to receive his award and check for $1,500 to donate to the charity of his choice. The event begins at 6pm CT with the ceremony taking place at halftime of the MLS Eastern Conference Final Leg 2 between Sporting KC and Houston Dynamo.

See you there!

21 November 10:38 am

On Friday, December 6, we'll all gather at Fado's for the club's "Bracket Brunch" with great hopes and prizes on the line for the FIFA World Cup draw. 

There's plenty to get you started on your "Drawology" now, with the below graphic representing the suspected four pots that FIFA representatives (or perhaps Brazilian celebrities) will use to determine the eight groups for the tournament.

What you should know…

  • It should be noted that the only confirmed pot are the seeded teams in Pot #1, which features the hosts Brazil and the next seven best teams according to October’s FIFA Ranking.
     
  • For the second straight World Cup, FIFA has somewhat controversially gone by October’s FIFA rankings to determine seeds, rather than the previous formula which factored in both FIFA rankings along with nation’s finishes at the previous two or three tournaments.
     
  • The change wasn’t felt quite as heavily for the 2010 World Cup as traditional powers like Italy, The Netherlands and England all remained seeds. Those countries have been upended this time around in Pot #1 by the likes of Switzerland, Colombia and Belgium.
     
  • The mix of CONCACAF/AFC (Pot #2) seems likely as both confederations have four teams each to make a round group of eight.
  • The only real question seems to be around which European team would join the mixed CAF (5 teams)/CONMEBOL (2 teams) in Pot #3 . If FIFA continues to go by their ranking procedure, France would be the lowest ranking European team, which could very well push them into the mixed pot, though this is unconfirmed and might not be known until the week of the draw.
     
  • Draw Makeup: Only nations from UEFA can be grouped with each other but only two per group and you obviously can’t be draw against countries in your own pot, so U.S. dreams of getting another crack at Iran (wither 1998) will have to wait.
     
  • DOWNLOAD our tournament bracket (PDF) and begin conducting your mock draws now! The Fire's "Bracket Brunch" is just two weeks away!

So there it is… On what we know (and suspect), what’s the best case scenario for your nation of interest? What's the worst? 

18 November 11:53 am

 

We're not far off from finding out the finalists for the 2013 MLS Most Valuable Player award and the case has more than been made for Mike Magee to take that honor.

Still, MLSsoccer.com's John Bolster recommends the Fire forward for another "not yet awarded" award, that being the league's Most Improved Player.

He makes his case for Magee here...

15 November 10:01 am

It's the end of the road for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2013...

Qualified for next summer's FIFA World Cup for two months, Jurgen Klinsmann will take a last look at his side with a pair of European friendlies beginning this afternoon at Scotland (LIVE 2pm CT on ESPN2, UniMas & WatchESPN). They'll close out the calendar year with another friendly Tuesday at Austria (LIVE 1:45pm CT on NBC Sports Network, UniMas).

Here's hoping Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson gets some time in one of the matches over the next week.

While the USMNT can continue their prep for Brazil, a number of European and African sides are still playing for their World Cup lives this weekend.

A full schedule of the games and where you can watch them on the TV set:

Friday - (UEFA First Legs)
Iceland vs. Croatia; 1:00pm CT on ESPN3.com, WatchESPN
Portugal vs. Sweden; 1:45pm CT on ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Ukraine vs. France; 1:45pm CT on ESPN3.com, WatchESPN
Greece vs. Romania; 1:45pm CT on ESPN3.com, WatchESPN

Saturday - (CAF Second Legs)
Nigeria vs. Ethiopia (2-1); 9:00am CT on beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Espanol
Senegal vs. Ivory Coast (1-3); 1:00pm CT on beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Espanol 

Sunday
Cameroon vs. Tunisia (0-0) ; 8:30am CT on beIN Sport, beIN Sport en Espanol

13 November 4:24 pm

Chicago Fire midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios and the Uruguayan National Team are [basically] on their way to Brazil next summer after an emphatic 5-0 demolition of Jordan in the first leg of the Intercontinental Playoffs earlier today in Amman.

Rios went 90 minutes in the heart of midfield while goals from Maxi Pereira (22'), Cristian Stuani (42'), Nicolass Lodeiro (69'), Cristian Rodriguez (78') and Edinson Cavani (92+') gave Uruguay what seems to be an insurmountable lead heading into the second leg next Wednesday in Montevideo.

HIGHLIGHTS: