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06 February 2:45 pm

Today’s Numbers Game features a switch as second-year Fire midfielder Dilly Duka will now wear the #11. Acquired from Columbus this time last year in exchange for Dominic Oduro, the pair took each other’s numbers when they got to their new clubs (Duka taking 8, Oduro taking 11 in Columbus).

This year, with the Crew’s #8 shirt vacant, Oduro has switched back to his regular number while Duka completes the swap. Coincidentally, #11 became available at the Fire when the team traded Daniel Paladini to Columbus back in December.

“Number 11 is what I’ve worn going back to youth soccer,” Duka said. “It’s what I’m familiar with, it’s part of me as a player.”

Meanwhile, fresh off scoring the game-winner in Sunday’s friendly vs. Florida Gulf Coast Univesity, Giuseppe Gentile becomes the first player in Fire history to wear #92.

The dual Swiss-American citizen, who also happens to speak four languages and also shares a name with an Olympic triple jumper, went the Kellen Gulley route in choosing his number according to the year he was born, 1992.

So with that, we have two trivia questions for today…

1)      Dilly Duka  becomes the eighth player in Fire history to wear the #11 shirt, name the other seven.

2)      What four languages to Giuseppe Gentile speak? We’ll give you a freebie: English.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR ANSWERS)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

1)      Roman Kosecki (1998-1999), Diego Gutierrez (2000-2001), Billy Sleeth (2002), Nate Jaqua (2003-2006), Thiago (2007), John Thorrington (2008-2010), Daniel Paladini (2011-2013).

2)      English, Spanish, Italian and German

04 February 8:07 am

The Numbers Game rolls on Tuesday with the latest contestants being the center back duo of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, who were recently acquired from the Seattle Sounders in a trade that sent Jalil Anibaba the other way.

Let’s start with the Hurtado. The 29-year-old center back will continue to don the same #34 he wore for five seasons in Cascadia. Asked why he’s chosen a somewhat “off the beaten path” soccer number, Hurtado explained 34 was the number he was given when trialing with AC Milan in early 2009.

“The opportunity was a special one and it’s stayed with me ever since,” he told Chicago-Fire.com last week.

Though 34 isn’t the most common soccer number, two Fire players have worn it before. Former Trinidad & Tobago international Osei Telesford was the club’s #34 in 2007 while Austin Washington wore it from 2008-2009.

Meanwhile, Ianni has chosen to suit up wearing the #6 for the Fire this season. Interestingly, Ianni and Anibaba weren’t just in part swapped for each other but they’ve also taken one another’s number at their new club as the former Fire defender will suit up as Seattle’s #4 this season.

Asked about the choice of #6, Ianni said, “I just wanted a lower, defender’s number,” but the only two digits that fit the criteria for the Fire were #2 and #6.

Althought the #2 is free for anyone to choose, Ianni says he took into account the legacy of assistant coach C.J. Brown’s 13 years wearing  #2 for the Men in Red and the fact that it’s only been worn one other time for 27 minutes by another Fire player (Wells Thompson in 2012). 

C.J. Brown wore the number 2 for the Chicago Fire for 13 seasons from 1998-2010

In the end, the choice was simple.

“I have a ton of respect for what C.J. did here wearing that number and what that means to Fire supporters. The six shirt suits me just fine.”

QUESTION: Ianni becomes the ninth player in Fire history to wear #6 for the Men in Red. How many of the other eight can you name? (SCROLL BELOW FOR THE ANSWER).

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER: Brian Bates (1998), Tom Soehn (1998-2000), Sergi Daniv (2001), Kelly Gray (2002-2005), Brandon Prideaux (2008-2009), Julio Martinez (2010), Peter Lowry (2010), Jalil Anibaba (2011-2013).

01 February 7:53 am

After nearly a month of training camp and an early January trip to Brazil, Fire forward Mike Magee and goalkeeper Sean Johnson are set for Saturday afternoon's U.S. friendly vs. South Korea at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. 

For Johnson, January camp has become part of his preseason routine, while Magee's only been to one previous camp, way back in 2005. The 2013 MLS MVP spoke to ESPNFC's Doug McIntyre about his hopes of finally receiving his first U.S. cap at the age of 29 on Saturday and goal of making the U.S. team for this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil. 

Catch the U.S. take on South Korea Saturday at 4:00pm CT on ESPN2, Watch ESPN and Unimas. 

UPDATE: U.S. Soccer has announced Magee will not dress for today's friendly due to food poisoning. I don't even know what to say. We love you Mike, feel better. 

30 January 11:02 am

As Sunday's first preseason friendly vs. Florida Gulf Coast University approaches, more number choices are being made.

Today's "Numbers Game" features the club's two new Homegrown players Chris Ritter and Harry Shipp who have chosen #21 and #19 respectively. Asked if their was any significance behind their number choice, both said, "No, not really."

Thanks guys!

The #19 shirt has been worn by nine players previously and was actually worn by six different player's in the club's first five years. Those were Josh Keller, Jeff Zaun, Yuri Lavrinenko, Chad Prince and David Vaudreuil before Craig Capano donned the shirt from 2002-2004. Jim Curtin's little brother Jeff wore #19 in 2007 while Corben Bone was the most recent #19 from 2010-2013. 

Most notably, Chad Barrett (pictured above) switched to the #19 shirt in 2008 when the club acquired Tomasz Frankowski who moved into the #9 shirt. Barrett wore #19 for half a season before being dealt to Toronto FC in the Brian McBride trade that August. So in closing, Harry has the chance to really make #19 his own.

Conversely, Ritter is just the fourth player in club history to wear the #21 shirt. Michael Videira most recently wore it the past three seasons but before him, two of the club's top offensive leaders wore #21.

They were... 

Dema Kovalenko (1999-2002)

Justin Mapp (2003-2010)

Coincidentally, the Fire acquired Mapp from D.C. United for Dema Kovalenko prior to the start of the 2003 MLS campaign. Kovalenko sits fourth on the club's All Competitions goal scoring list with 26, while Mapp sits fourth on the All Competitions assists list with 35.

24 January 3:06 pm

Miss Friday's "pre-preseason" press conference with Frank Yallop, Brian Bliss and C.J. Brown? 

Catch the whole thing in its entirety below, and see their individual remarks broken up further down:

Frank Yallop's Remarks: 

C.J. Brown's Remarks:

Brian Bliss's Remarks: 

24 January 10:22 am

Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause returns for a twelfth season with the Men in Red in 2014

A third round pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft, Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause had already capped off a decade with the Men in Red last year before extending his deal to come back for a 12th season with the club in 2014 on Friday.

Logan's longevity got me thinking about players that held the longest consecutive tenures in terms of both years and games played ith one MLS club. After some research, I found that Fire legend and new assistant coach C.J. Brown holds the record for consecutive seasons with one team at 13, while Logan will tie Cobi Jones (LA Galaxy) and Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) when he makes his first appearance for the Fire in 2014. 

A look at the Top 10 players with the most consecutive seasons at one MLS club...

Rank Player Club Years Consecutive Seasons Games Played
1 C.J. Brown Chicago Fire 1998-2010 13 296
2 Cobi Jones LA Galaxy 1996-2007 12 306
3 Pablo Mastroeni Colorado Rapids 2002-2013 12 216
4 Logan Pause Chicago Fire 2003-present 11* 274
5 Shalrie Joseph New England Revolution 2003-2012 10 261
6 Davy Arnaud Sporting KC 2002-2011 10 218
7 Jason Kreis Dallas Burn 1996-2004 9 247
8 Kerry Zavagnin Kansas City Wizards 2000-2008 9 237
9 Landon Donovan LA Galaxy 2005-present 9* 216
10 Jay Heaps New England Revolution 2001-2009 8 228

*-denotes active MLS player

You may be wondering where are Jaime Moreno and Ramiro Corrales? Good question. Moreno holds the MLS record for most seasons with one club, spending 14 years with D.C. United but he did have one stint with the MetroStars that broke up his two long stints in the nation's capital.

In Corrales' case, while he never played for another MLS club other than San Jose after being traded back to the Quakes in 2001, he did spend a few years abroad in Norway with HamKam that keep him out of the consecutive seasons count. Corrales spent a total of 12 seasons in San Jose over three stints (1996-97, 2001-04, 2008-13)

Just for fun, a look at the record number for consecutive appearances for MLS club is below too:

Rank Player Club Years Consecutive Games Played  Seasons
1 Cobi Jones LA Galaxy 1996-2007 306 12
2 C.J. Brown Chicago Fire 1998-2010 296 13
3 Logan Pause Chicago Fire 2003-present 274* 11
4 Shalrie Joseph New England Revolution 2003-2012 261 10
5 Jason Kreis Dallas Burn 1996-2004 247 9
6 Kerry Zavagnin Kansas City Wizards 2000-2008 237 9
7 Jay Heaps New England Revolution 2001-2009 228 8
8 Ramiro Corrales San Jose Earthquakes

2001-2004;
2008-2013

225 10
9 Nick Garcia Kansas City Wizards 2000-2007 224 8
10 Davy Arnaud Sporting KC 2002-2011 218 10

*-denotes active MLS player

17 January 12:49 pm

Who is Marco Franco? What's his playing style?

Re-live the 2014 MLS SuperDraft with this exclusive, not seen on TV interview with the Fire's draft pick Marco Franco.

10 January 9:23 am

Want to see new Fire Homegrown signing Harry Shipp's body of work or just need more Harry Shipp in your life? 

Watch the below highlight reel, courtesy of MLSsoccer.com:

 

11 December 12:03 pm

The club announced Wednesday that Fire Original and Ring of Fire member C.J. Brown would be returning to the Men in Red as an assistant coach under Frank Yallop.

As the longest tenured Fire player of all time and the club’s appearance record holder, C.J.’s return is a special one for old and young supporters of the club. To celebrate C.J. coming back to the Windy City, we’re giving supporters three chances to win autographed C.J. Brown jerseys today via Fire Social Media.

INSTAVIDEO: Upload your best impression of the “CJ Dance” to Instavideo with #CJsBack and be entered to win… In case you forgot what that looks like, watch it here...

FACEBOOK: Simply LIKE this post by 11:59pm CT Wednesday and be entered to win.

TWITTER: Simply RT the below tweet and FOLLOW @ChicagoFire by 11:59pm CT Wednesday and be entered to win.

STAY TUNED: We'll announce the winners on Thursday morning!

06 December 8:28 am

Newly crowned 2013 Volkswagen MLS MVP Mike Magee spoke briefly with local Chicago media via conference call Thursday. Below is a transcript of the conversation

On initial reaction to receiving the honor…

First and foremost, this still feels a little surreal. The year was great — all but the ending. I’m so thankful to be a part of such an amazing organization as the Chicago Fire and blessed to be home with my family. I’m pumped that people voted for me, and completely humbled by it. Like I said, it’s still very surreal.

On envisioning this moment/achievement beforehand…

I never envisioned receiving this award. I absolutely never had my sights set on it. Obviously, the last time I was thinking about getting an award like MVP was probably in U16 club soccer, so it’s been a long time. After 16, the first time I thought about it was probably when Taylor Twellman mentioned it during a broadcast of a game earlier this season.

On when winning the award became a realistic idea…

I think towards the end of the year, I thought I had a chance, but I was so focused on trying to get my team to the playoffs. Obviously, when we came up short, I thought I had no chance, and then once Camilo scored a hat trick in his game, I thought luck wasn’t on my side. So, this definitely came as a surprise.

On the award helping make a case for a call up to U.S. Men's National Team…

I don’t think it hurts it, but as far as helping it, probably not that much. I think Jurgen is a very smart man and obviously a good coach. I don’t think he’s going around checking stats or seeing what individual awards guys got. At least I hope not. Well, for my sake, I hope he is. [Laughs] But for the sake of our country, I hope he’s not.

On being grouped with other Chicago MVPs, such as Michael Jordan and Walter Payton…

When you put it that way, obviously, it’s amazing. Not by any means am I calling myself Michael Jordan or Walter Payton, but to be on a short list or any list at all with the likes of guys I grew up loving and pretending to be — to be on any list with them is a list I will certainly keep.