Blog

jeff crandall

22 September 11:49 am

Though the end result was another draw, there were a few great GIFable moments in Saturday's 3-3 stalemate with D.C. United at Toyota Park.

For starters, Quincy Amarikwa perhaps showed the best finish of any of the 10 goals he's scored across all competitions this year to give the Fire a 1-0 lead...

His celebration after the fact was simple, yet effective...

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Then Quincy went and earned this penalty kick, his league-leading fifth of the season...

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Jeff Larentowicz redeemed himself for his penalty miss from the week before, bagging his fifth goal of the season...

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And then D.C. United did what they did, leading to Matt Watson's first career MLS and Chicago Fire goal...

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And the celebration...

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26 August 9:35 am

Every season I like to take in a few away matches as a fan and with a Toronto away date finally coming on a weekend again, I did so on Saturday.

The ups and downs of that match are easily memorable and even though the team didn't walk away with three points, the fighting spirit displayed to earn a point at a bolstered TFC side gave positive feelings as we walked away from BMO Field.

During that maze of an exit through the carnival going on at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Section 8 Chicago chairman Pattrick Stanton pointed out to me that both Robert Earnshaw and Quincy Amarikwa scored against their former side Toronto FC and said, "That has to be the first time two players have ever done that for the Fire."

While I fancy myself a "stat man", i honestly couldn't rifle through the previous 520 matches in my head to confirm. With the help of a small bit of free time, I can confirm that Pattrick is right.... sort of, with an asterisk*

Technically on August 25, 2001 Ante Razov -AND- DaMarcus Beasley scored in a 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy at The Rose Bowl. The reason this stat was asterisk worthy was because while Beasley, who scored a second half brace in that match was originally allocated to the LA Galaxy in 1999, he never played for the side that year.

Instead the Fort Wayne, Ind. native played a couple games with the Project-40 team (a precursor to Generation adidas) and the bulk of his time that year with the U.S. U-17 National Team that finished fourth at the World Championships in New Zealand. At that tournament, DMB was awarded the Silver Ball, as second best player of the competition behind teammate Landon Donovan.

In other words, while Beasley was part of the Galaxy, a lot of his time was spent away from LA before being traded to the Fire for the club's natural first round SuperDraft selections in 2000 and 2001... HISTORY SIDE BAR: The Galaxy selected Danny Califf (2000) and Isaias Bardales, Jr. (2001) with those picks. 

So with that in mind I'll make up a new stat...

Saturday's goals from Earnshaw and Amarikwa were the first from Fire players in the same game who actually played for the former team they scored against. A mouth full for sure, but certainly noteworthy.

In my research, I also found three instances where a player scored a brace against his former side. All of these are listed below. 

Date Game/Result Goal Scorer(s)
May 22, 1999 3-1 W vs. Kansas City Diego Gutierrez 27' 75'
August 25, 2001 4-1 W at LA Galaxy Ante Razov 5', DaMarcus Beasley 64, 93'+
June 12, 2004 2-3 L at LA Galaxy Ante Razov 28', 67'
October 12, 2008 2-2 D vs. Columbus Crew Brian McBride 13', 79'
August 23, 2014 2-2 D at Toronto FC Robert Earnshaw 70', Quincy Amarikwa 90'

 

13 August 9:16 am

Looking back on losses is hardly fun to do, though it's an important exercise -- a reminder of what was and what might have been.

The Fire and Sounders have battled plenty in league play over the years but its Open Cup gameday and the two teams met in the 2011 Final.

A Fire side in the midst of a second half of the season playoff push (not unlike this year), heroically navigated their way to the 2011 final in Seattle. Having to balance important games on either side of the Open Cup clash, the team went to CenturyLink Field as underdogs (just like tonight), going up against the Sounders without the ailing Sebastian Grazzini.

The gameplan was sound enough. Marco Pappa, now a Sounder, had a decent chance for the Fire during the first half while the Men in Red survived two Seattle attempts off the bar. Finally the dam broke as Fredy Montero pounced on a rebound before Osvaldo Alonso iced the game late.

Re-watch the match:

I know you're asking why I made you sit through that. That's because even in defeat, Fire supporters rallied around the team following the match, with nearly every Fire fan in Seattle consoling AND congratulating the team at the hotel bar following the match. It made it all more digestable and remains one of my favorite Fire memories of all-time.

Since you did go through that, here's another video you'll enjoy more:

28 July 2:29 pm

Prior to Saturday's friendly vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Fire players Patrick Ianni and Matt Fondy joined Spurs counterparts Zeki Fryers and Tom Carroll to pay visits to patients at the University of Illinois Children's Hospital. 

A look at some of their stops:

08 July 11:27 am

It had been a long-time coming and put off a bit by Gonzalo Segares' ankle injury earlier this season but the Costa Rican's appearance in the Fire's 1-1 draw at Sporting KC had a ring of history to it. 

With the 90 minute shift, Segares played his 216th regular season game for the club, moving him past goalkeeper Zach Thornton for third all-time on the club's MLS regular season appearance list, joining current Fire assistant coach CJ Brown (1st, 296) and teammate Logan Pause (2nd, 279).

Fire kitman Charles Raycroft worked a little magic and made the trio these jerseys to commemorate the occasion...

Congrats to Gonzalo on joining the club and thanks to all three of you for your 791 regular season matches and 35 years of combined service to the Fire! 

For your reference, here is the club's Top 15 MLS Appearance List:

Rank Player Games Played Years
1 C.J. Brown 296 1998-2010
2 Logan Pause 279* 2003-present
3 Gonzalo Segares 216* 2005-present
4 Zach Thornton 215 1998-2006
5 Chris Armas 214 1998-2007
6 Jesse Marsch 200 1998-2005
7 Chris Rolfe 178 2005-2009, 2012-2014
8 Justin Mapp 174 2003-2010
9 Patrick Nyarko 169* 2008-present
10 Diego Gutierrez 157 1998-2001, 2006-2008
11 Ante Razov 155 1998-2004
12 Jim Curtin 151 1998-2007
13 Sean Johnson 116* 2010-present
14 Peter Nowak 114 1998-2002
15 Marco Pappa 112 2008-2012

See more historical Fire player stats in the TrueCar Player Registry.

01 July 7:52 am

Nothing better than pumping yourself up for a big match than reading Twitter messages from the guys actually set to take part... A selection of some of the #USMNT's tweets this morning from Salvador: 
 

24 June 9:06 am

If the experience around last week's 2-1 weather-shortened victory over Pittsburgh felt familiar, that's only because it was.

The game was just over a year on from a Fire Open Cup match vs. the Columbus Crew that never got off the ground on the original June 12 date as sever thunderstorms crashed in on Chicagoland throughout that night.

Instead the game was rescheduled for a noon kickoff the following day, with the Fire giving FREE entry to all fans that could make it Toyota Park for the match.

Take a trip down memory lane with highlights from that game:

Good news! Wednesday's kickoff forecast is perfect soccer weather: partly cloudy, with a temperature of 65 degrees and only 10% precipitation.

Get your tickets to the match here and book your place on $10 Pub to Pitch buses from Cleo's, The Globe and Fado at www.pubtopitch.com

23 June 4:07 pm

Mexico has every right to celebrate after today's 3-1 victory over Croatia pushed them into the Knockout Round in Brazil.

No doubt frustrated after another dubious call, Mexico eventually unleashed three goals in 10 minutes from Rafa Marquez (72'), Andres Guardado (75') and Javier Hernandez (82').

Even if you're a U.S. supporter, you have to appreciate that Mexico is through to the next round if only because of the possibility of more celebrations like this from manager Miguel Herrera. Go on, Mexico! 

Rafa Marquez goal

Andres Guardado's goal

13 June 2:48 pm

Holland wasn't supposed to be "up" for this World Cup and early on in their tournament opener vs. Spain, that seemed like it might be true. 

Then Robin van Persie score this goal to level things just before halftime... 

Braces from RVP (44', 72') and Arjen Robben (53', 80') as well as another goal from Stefan de Vrij have the world in shock as Holland has found payback from their World Cup finals defeat four years ago, defeating Spain 5-1 today in Salvador.

Let's just say I'm feeling pretty good about my Fire staff World Cup pool team right about now...

11 June 3:07 pm

I love World Cup draws almost as much as I love the next month every four years.

Last December, I had our staff help me in a mock World Cup draw for this year’s tournament. On Tuesday, I did my best <insert FIFA bigwig name here> and ran the staff World Cup pool. While I may never get to perform a true World Cup draw, Tuesday’s festivities served as just another milestone in my own career.

The draw was quite simple and straight forward as participants were asked to first choose a number 1-32 to determine the order. Once that was settled, we went about picking the nations with which we would live and die with over the next month (or maybe just a few weeks).

A photo blow-by-blow of the day’s festivities…

We'll start with Corporate Partnership's Matt Hoy who was so overjoyed with his choice of Cameroon (Odds: 1000/1) that he accidentally held the flag upside down. 

Then there was the great reaction from Jeff Harbert who wasn't exactly pleased with with the laughter that followed after he drew Australia (Odds: 1000/1)

Fire Technical Director Brian Bliss will hope Greece (250/1) repeat their Euro 2004 performance in Brazil...

Hailing from Brazil, Fire Creative Services Manager Kayser dos Reis interestingly pulled Portugal (Odds: 25/1)

And though she may not look like it, Sponsorship's Lauren Griswold was pretty happy to have chosen reigning World and European champions Spain...

Now, we're all busy and sometimes can't make the big draw. In that case, you can designate a proxy to draw for you, or if none is designated, yours truly does it instead. 

This was the case for Director of Business Development Paul Cadwell, who pulled Algeria (Odds 2000/1) and Team Videographer Leo Flores who got South Korea (Odds: 300/1)...

Of course, like any FIFA bigwig, I'd say I did myself proud enough by getting 2010 finalists, Holland (Odds: 25/1)...

But to be honest, the must successful Fire competitions draw participant by far is Mike Ernst. In 2010, he took finalists The Netherlands. In the Euro 2012 draw, he came away with eventual champions Spain.

Called over in passing when his number came up towards the end of Tuesday's draw, the Fire Sr. Vice President pulled World Cup hosts and favorites Brazil without the blink of an eye. 

Time will tell if Mike strikes gold again... See the full results of Tuesday's Fire Staff World Cup draw...