Blog

jeff crandall

08 July 12:27 pm

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 8:52 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 10:06 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 5:07 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 3:48 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 4:07 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...

 

06 June 3:39 pm

As the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders clash Saturday at Toyota Park, more than a few players will be lining up against their former teammates. A photographic trip down memory lane...

Drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2005, Chad Barrett made 82 Regular Season appearances for the Fire before being traded to Toronto FC in exchange for the rights to Brian McBride in mid-2008. Barrett has bounced around the league, playing with TFC, LA Galaxy and New England Revolution before settling in Seattle this season.

The former Fire first round draft pick has performed well in Clint Dempsey's USMNT absence, scoring a goal in each of the last two games for Seattle. 

Marco Pappa makes his first return to Toyota Park since being sold to Dutch Eredivisie side Hereenveen in August 2012. Things didn't work out for Pappa in Holland and he returned to MLS this season where Seattle grabbed him via allocation (though the Fire did make inquiries into bringing him back to Chicago). Pappa sits tied with Piotr Nowak for fourth on the club's all-time goal list (26) and is best remembered for some absolutely highlight reel strikes during his time in Chicago, one of which won the 2010 MLS Goal of the Year.

The Fire's first round selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Anibaba was a starter nearly his entire time in Chicago, appearing in 96 MLS matches over the course of three seasons. The defender was traded to Seattle the night before this year's MLS SuperDraft but has appeared in just five matches for the Sounders so far this season. 

Though he's a Sounder now, we will always remember his 2011 Chicago Fire Goal of the Year strike, "THROUGH THE GUISE OF SMOKE!"

Prior to being one piece of the deal that came to Chicago in the Anibaba trade, Patrick Ianni spent five seasons in Seattle after being acquired from the Houston Dynamo in 2009. The UCLA product made 83 MLS appearances and won three straight U.S. Open Cup titles with Seattle prior to January's swap. Ianni has provided depth for the Fire in defense this season and likely would have a few more appearances if not for a bout of sickness this past week.

The other piece to the Anibaba trade, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is the only Fire player other than Sean Johnson to play every minute of every game and has likely been the best on the back line in 2014. Like Ianni, Hurtado joined Seattle in 2009, appearing in 108 matches, helping the Sounders to three straight Open Cup titles -- he even played 90 minutes in Seattle's 2-0 defeat of the Fire in the 2011 final. 

"I'm excited to play against my former team," Hurtado told Chicago-Fire.com Friday. "I have only words of gratitude to the people at the Sounders, the fans, my friends back there. I spent five happy years there, my boys were born in Seattle, so it is a special place. Tomorrow is a new change. I'm here in Chicago, I play for the people here, the fans that live and die with us and we have an important game against Seattle before the World Cup."

05 June 12:23 pm

On this day 12 years ago, future Chicago Fire forward and strikers coach Brian McBride scored one of the most beautiful goals in U.S. World Cup history, diving to put in future Fire defender Tony Sanneh's cross from the right to give the Americans a 3-0 lead over Portugal in the team's opening match of the 2002 World Cup.

Re-live the match:

02 June 9:55 am

When Quincy Amarikwa earned a 67th minute penalty kick in Sunday’s 1-1 draw vs. LA Galaxy, it occurred to me that the Fire had received a lot more spot kicks in 2014 than they have in recent seasons.

Upon further review, the Fire have received six penalty kicks in 12 matches this season, averaging one every two games. It’s safe to say the Fire wouldn’t have earned as many opportunities without the ability of Amarikwa to draw so many penalties…

Have a look...

Date/Result Penalty Earned Penalty Taken Converted Miss/Save
3/16/14 - 1-1 at POR Quincy Amarikwa Jeff Larentowicz X  
4/5/14 - 2-2 vs. PHI Juan Luis Anangono Mike Magee   X
4/19/14 - 1-1 vs. NE Victor Pineda Juan Luis Anangono   X
5/18/14 - 2-1 vs. SKC Quincy Amarikwa Mike Magee X  
5/18/14 - 2-1 vs. SKC Benji Joya Mike Magee X  
6/1/14 - 1-1 vs. LA  Quincy Amarikwa Jeff Larentowicz X  

While the table serves as a reminder that the Fire probably would be further up the table if not for a few penalty saves in April, let me also point out that the rate of penalties so far this year is a club record to this point in any of the team’s 17 seasons of existence. In fact, there are only five other seasons in which the club has earned six or more spot kicks the entire year.

See below:

Season Overall Conversion Rate Conversion Through 12 Games
2000 5/10 0/3
2003 7/9 3/4
2005 4/7 1/1
2001 4/6 2/3
2006 3/6 1/2
2014 4/6 4/6

The penalty earned by Amarikwa Sunday was his fourth since joining the Fire last season.  It's a relatively small sample size, but the team has never missed a penalty that #QuincyTime has earned as Mike Magee also scored on the penalty he won last July in a 4-1 romp of D.C. United. 

Amarikwa seems perfectly built to be a player that can draw dangerous opportunities for his team. Strength on and of the ball along with lightning quickness that turn what look like "meh" opportunities into beautiful chances mean defenders have their hands full whenever he's on the field. 

There have been a few times where he's fallen gracefully (and been punished for it) and Sunday's penalty call *may* have occurred just outside the area but there's little doubt that something will probably happen in or around the box whenever Amarikwa is on the field. 

Like in the MLS Fantasy Challenge, perhaps "Penalties Earned" should become an official statistic in Major League Soccer. Until that happens, perhaps you should take in the latest episode of #QuincyTime

28 May 4:30 pm

Coming soon to Chicago-Fire.com, the #cf97 TrueCar Grand Prix! Select players along with Head Coach Frank Yallop, Technical Director Brian Bliss and Fire broadcasters Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan took to K1 Speed in Addison this afternoon to film a two-part video series for Chicago-Fire.com

If the tweets mean anything, clearly an exciting day of racing has been had... 

 

Stay tuned to Chicago-Fire.com to see how everyone did!