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08 May 2:15 pm

After a scoreless 120 minutes, the Fire’s Team for the World alliance partner Internacional (Brazil) needed a shoot-out to edge Juventude 4-3 on Sunday, May 5 to clinch the Rio Grande do Sul state championship.

Inter played the same starting 11 for the third straight match in the final as former Brazilian international and national team coach Dunga clinched his first title with the club. 

As the winner of the first stage, the Piratini Cup, another tourney title in the Farroupilha Cup meant that they clinched the State championship. In the standard format the two winners face each other.

Internacional now moves on to open up the national Campeanato Brasileiro Saturday, May 25 against Vitoria.

The top four finishers from that competitoin qualify for the Copa Libertadores, the top club competition in South America.  

Congratulations to Sport Club Internacional from the Chicago Fire!

07 May 3:11 pm

UPDATE! The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass the the below resolution Tuesday morning.


The Chicago Fire today took part in hearings regarding a historic resolution regarding LGBT athletes to be introduced for passage by the Chicago City Council on Wednesday.

The Fire were represented at Tuesday’s hearings by Senior Director of Communications Dan Lobring who brought to light the club’s support for Robbie Rogers, participation with Equality Illinois in the 2012 Chicago LGBT Pride Parade and Section 8 Chicago’s “Our Diversity, Our Strength” tifo displayed prior to a game against the Houston Dynamo on April 15, 2012.

Sponsored in tandem by Alderman Joe Moore, the City Council’s Human Rights Committee and The Last Closet, should Wednesday’s resolution pass, Chicago would become the second city after San Francisco to declare its backing for LGBT athletes.

The end goal of the resolution is to ultimately get commissioners of all major North American sports leagues to state publicly their support for LGBT athletes, invite them to come out and pledge to make them safe and accepted. 

For more information on Wednesday's resolution, please click here.

02 May 2:26 pm

You could imagine my surprise when I saw the above headline on Grindtv.com...

I thought back to late February when I shot a viral video of an alligator watching the first team train at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The video has over 40,000 views so of course I wondered what I did wrong... 

As much as I like it when Section 8 Chicago sings "There's only one Jeff Crandall" at Fire reserve matches, I've come to terms with the fact that its probably not true.

I've also come to terms with the fact that I'm not the bravest Jeff Crandall in the world either...

From the article:

"A sheriff’s deputy didn’t bother to wait for a trained alligator trapper to deal with an unruly alligator that was snapping at cars near a dentist’s office in Oldsmar, Florida. Nope, Pinellas County Deputy Jeff Crandall decided to take action himself, since the animal was heading toward the roadway.

According to numerous reports, Crandall grabbed a rope from his trunk, lassoed the gator’s neck, jumped on its back and taped its huge mouth shut—exactly what wildlife officials tell you not to do."

I'd never have done that... In case you've forgotten, this is my closest encounter with a gator...

01 May 9:58 am

Select shots from the Fire's international friendly vs. Club America on April 29, 2009

30 April 9:44 am

The month of May is one day away which means the U.S. Open Cup begins just a week from today.

The 68-team field for the 100th edition of the historic tournament is set, with the play-in round commencing next Tuesday with two matches.

Then every Tuesday throughout the month of May will be a U.S. Open Cup date, with the Fire and Major League Soccer sides entering in the tournament's third round on May 28.

Coming off a difficult extra time loss to the Michigan Bucks at the first hurdle last season, there's no doubt that the four-time tournament champions Chicago Fire are chomping at the bit to get back to Open Cup play.

Be sure to keep up with this year's tournament via the excellent coverage provided by Josh Hakala and his team at TheCup.us

A quick look back on the Fire's four U.S. Open Cup titles:

29 April 10:10 am

Select shots from the Fire's match vs. the Montreal Impact

 

CREDIT: USA Today Sports Images

 

27 April 11:52 am

Our MLSsoccer.com friends Dan Haiek and Matt Doyle give their view on how Saturday's game vs. Montreal will play out...

24 April 3:10 pm

Big props go to Austin Berry this week after a sterling performance versus Columbus.

Austin did a great job containing the crew's offensive strength, and he just missed bagging his first goal of the season by about a half an inch.

For his efforts Austin has earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Week. This is his first on the year, and the third of his career. Congrats Austin!

23 April 9:52 am

I took two MLS virgins to the game on Saturday night at Toyota Park. Takeaways the night of:  Modelo and Tyskie were a plus, Section 8 is loud, my stadium blanket is missing a button or two.

But when I asked them about the game last night, the takeaways were different. “It’s like they were snakebit,” one of them said.

Snakebit is probably too kind. Cubs-related words start to come to mind when you miss the chances the Fire missed in the second half before Jeff Larentowicz finally scored in the 83rd.

Andy Greunenbaum was on fire, ok, and obviously if the finishes were a wee bit more clinical the Fire could’ve made it a laugher, but in the moment, in the stadium, freezing, it felt like the goal would never come.

Section 8 and the rest of the fans were torn between encouraging the team and letting out some boos (and grunts and groans and other moans) of frustration. In my section, a kind of supporter dichotomy emerged throughout the second half as one fan stood to admonish Chris Rolfe after a second half miss, while a soccer team sized group of young girls cheered Rolfe on, assuring him he’d get the next one.

But Gonzalo Segares had a shot from 10 feet right at the keeper in the 49th minute and Larentowicz badly sliced the follow up, Austin Berry was robbed in the 75th, Patrick Nyarko was blocked in the 51st and 54th, and Rolfe in the 56th and 75th. The crowd was exasperated and freezing and desperate to figure out what to make of the game.

Every good passage seemed to be punished or mercilessly ignored by Greunenbaum, who was scarily springy. Every time Nyarko’s hustle was rewarded with space behind the Crew or the decisive pass (which seemed like every time he was near the ball), nothing. Every time Rolfe turned his man, he booted the finish. That was what was most frustrating - it was like the game was ignoring how well the Fire were playing. It all felt sort of cruel.

And so it makes soccer-perfect sense that the goal didn’t come from a measured through ball or some quick passing, nor did it come from the high pressure that harassed Columbus all game. It came on a basically ugly long throw and an industrial finish from Larentowicz.
 

The game ran out of ways to keep the Fire from scoring, and the team reacted - erm, celebrated - with as much an exhale, like, “Finally,” as hysterical exuberance. Look at the gif above. After his goal, Larentowicz barely smiles!

But the game doesn’t care. In the end my friends had witnessed a fairly good introduction to Toyota Park. The game was exciting, the Fire won the day, and maybe most important, the cheering dilemma in my section was definitively decided in favor of the encouraging girls.

Between the Lines is a weekly column from Chicago-Fire.com contributor Ben Schuman-Stoler. Follow him on Twitter @bsto.