Blog

Player

08 April 12:20 pm

Maicon Santos' 83rd minute goal on Sunday was big for more than one reason. Yes it was the game-winner. Yes it got the 899 minute scoreless monkey off his back but it also stands as the 700th regular season goal in Chicago Fire history.

See below the list of other Fire centurions... Ironically enough, three of the club's seven centurion goals came against New York...

Number Player Result/Date
100 Josh Wolff 8/22/1999 4-3 L (SO) at Dallas
200 David Hayes 6/30/2001 3-1 W vs. MetroStars
300 Damani Ralph 7/19/2003 3-1 W vs. New England
400 Thiago 8/10/2005 3-2 L vs. Kansas City
500 Chad Barrett 5/25/2008 5-1 W vs. New York
600 Peter Lowry 10/8/2010 vs. Columbus
700 Maicon Santos 4/7/2013 vs. New York

Now, what could be better? Maicon's 83rd minute winner is also up for MLS Goal of the Week. VOTE HERE or Text G5 to 22442!

06 April 11:24 am

A quick update on the injury front for Sunday's game vs. New York...

MLSsoccer.com's Franco Panizio reports that forward Fabian Espindola, who has been listed as questionable all week with a hamstring strain, will not be traveling to Chicago for Sunday's game.

Espindola also missed Red Bull's 2-1 win over Philadelphia last week.

Panizio also reports that frontline partner Thierry Henry will be part of the 18, though he seems likely to come off the bench for the second-straight week.

Also listed as questionable in recovery from an MCL strain, the Frenchman played 31 minutes and scored the game-winner in his team's victory over the Union.

On the Fire front, the latest Athletico Injury Report released Friday saw Michael Videira and Steven Kinney removed from the list, though both have been out of action for multiple weeks.

The Fire will be thin in midfield if questionable players Dilly Duka and Patrick Nyarko (hamstring tightness) and Alex (calf contusion) are unable to go on Sunday. 

05 April 1:16 pm

You've seen Logan Pause and Joel Lindpere preview Sunday's match vs. New York (and if you haven't Click Here to watch it). Now check out the Red Bulls take on the match.

05 April 8:54 am

After another tough loss two weeks ago against Chivas USA, the Fire look to pick up their first win of the season against the Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon (4pm CT on ESPN2/La Ley 107.9FM). New York relied on a bit of Henry magic to pick up three points against Philly last week. Here are some things to look for from a tactical perspective:

Targeting Holgersson – get him in 1v1 situations

Anyone who has watched MLS over the past few seasons knows that Jamison Olave is one of the league’s great defenders. One of Olave’s great strengths is his recovery speed, something his partner Markus Holgersson doesn’t possess. While Holgersson is very adept in the air, if the Fire can get him separated from Olave, it may open the Red Bulls up. The more times the Fire can get players like Chris Rolfe in 1v1 situations with the Swede, the better.

TICKETS: Fire vs. Red Bulls Sunday at 4pm CT

Pause, Lindpere Preview Red Bull

Holgersson also has a tendency to switch off at times, as was seen in the goals Red Bull gave up against Philly last week and against Montreal in a 1-0 loss earlier in the season. As is the case with Arne Friedrich for the Fire, Jamison Olave makes everyone around him better, but if the Fire manage to separate him from Holgersson, they must take advantage.

Stopping Juninho – stifling the deep lying playmaker  

The 38-year-old Brazilian Juninho has excelled in the deep lying playmaker role for the Red Bulls so far this season. Juninho plays ahead of the back four and receives the ball from the defenders before starting the attacks from a very deep position.  

His exceptional passing range means he can easily look to play the ball up to Dax McCarty through the middle, play it out to the wing, or look for a long ball up to Tim Cahill who is excellent in the air.

The Fire must try and make it difficult for Juninho to start the attacks, and the prime candidate for this role is the second striker, namely Rolfe or Alex (if he’s available). In the second leg of the recent Champions League match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, United forward Danny Welbeck did a great job of stifling Madrid’s deep lying playmaker Xabi Alonso and I look for Rolfe or Alex to try and emulate that on Sunday.

When the Fire lose the ball in the attacking third, someone must immediately look to pick up Juninho and try and make it difficult for the Red Bulls to play through him.

Athletico Coaching Corner with Matko

Helping out on the right – don’t isolate the right back

Last game, Wells Thompson did a solid job filling in a right back, a position with little player consistency for the Fire due to injuries this season. Chivas USA did look dangerous however when the managed to get Wells in 1v1 situations, especially in the first half.

READ: Stopping Thierry Henry

With Logan Pause nearing fitness it may be the case that Pause slots in on the right with Wells moving ahead of him but in either case, the right midfielder must track back and help. The Red Bulls love to have Henry drift wide and the Fire must try and prevent him from getting in 1v1 situations at all costs.

Though many would argue the Red Bulls’ weakest players are the wingers, outside defenders like Heath Pearce are not afraid to get forward and support in the attack. Red Bull’s movement off the ball from players like McCarty and Henry make them a hard team to defend against.

Though the Fire are the home team, head coach Frank Klopas said that the number one goal for Sunday’s match is keeping a clean sheet. With that in mind, a solid defensive effort from front to back is essential.

Prediction: 1-0 Fire with a goal from Sherjill MacDonald who looked to be almost back to his old self last weekend.   

Stephen Piggott is a contributor to Chicago-Fire.com. Follow him on Twitter @Irish_Steve.

26 March 2:11 pm

Here at the Fire we love Twitter in more ways than one. It's a great source of communication, but also the only place to find #JumperThoughts.

Fire defender Hunter Jumper is a man of infinite wisdom, and his tweets reflect that. So without further ado, I give you #JumperThoughts Vol. 1... Enjoy!

20 March 10:07 am

We're happy to introduce a new video series to Chicago-Fire.com called "Both Sides of the Badge".

This week we talk to Daniel Paladini about his devotion to the club's supporters and ask him to do his best Frank Klopas impression: 

20 March 9:01 am

If It seems like its Goalkeeper Week here on Chicago-Fire.com, well maybe it is... Sean Johnson is with the U.S. Men's National Team, meaning Paolo Tornaghi is the starter on Sunday, making way for Alec Kann to officially sign with the club on Tuesday in order to back him up.

I got a lot of quotes from goalkeepers (and their coach) the past few days... It'd be a shame if they went to waste so I've included some of the more interesting ones here...

Chicago FIre goalkeeping coach Aron Hyde

On having two returning goalkeepers for the first time since 2009

"Its never easy in MLS with the salary cap to maintain players year-to-year. In previous years we’ve looked to experienced guys to guide Sean along in his development and this year we didn’t need that. We’ve got a very young goalkeeping group – its probably the youngest in the league. Sean’s not a young goalkeeper anymore –he’s at nearly 80 games in his career. We don’t have any issues there anymore. Obviously he can get a little more continuity in the group and Paolo is a good goalkeeper and is more than capable of stepping in. He didn’t let the side down last year and we’re positive and optimistic he’ll do the same on Sunday."

On Alec Kann's attitude as the third goalkeeper

"He’s coming in willing to learn. He has a good attitude, he works hard – you can’t fault him for anything there. He’s a good guy to work with. He’s been good with the other two and you hope he realizes he’s here to push and he wants to play as well. He has to be ready."

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi

On communicating with a changing backline

"Its important when everyone steps on the field to have a positive performance. I thought our defensive line was very good on Saturday. We work together every day so to me it doesn’t matter who the first 11 are, all the players train and stay focused to be ready for Sunday."

19 March 5:03 pm

So if you're like me, you were watching Sunday's SuperClasico between LA and Chivas to get a better understanding of the Fire's upcoming opponents.

Around the 40th minute, you were sort of shocked to see the Goats Joaquin Velazquez sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar for this play…

If anything, Colin Clark could have received a card on the play but nonetheless, Chivas was forced to play the remaining 50 minutes a man down and still found away to earn a 1-1 draw against the reigning MLS Cup champs. 

Flash forward to today and an Independent Review panel has rightly rescinded the red card and the one-game suspension that came along with it for this Sunday's match vs. the Fire.

This is the second time in MLS history that a red card has been rescinded. The New England Revolution's Fernando Cardenas saw his red card taken away after he was sent off in a 2-1 loss to Seattle last May.

What do you think? Is it good that the league is willing to rescind red cards when obvious mistakes are being made? Chime in below. 

18 March 9:43 am

Twitter is great for many reasons. Today's its awesome because we got an update on how the team's star center back is doing on his hamstring rehab in Germany...

See you next Tuesday, Arne!

14 March 10:37 am

We're having a lot of fun with GIFs lately. Since its #RivalryWeek in MLS, we thought we'd do one on Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes being mad. 

Also, props to @ricecakeonfire for tweeting me his compilation of the many faces of Peter Vermes: