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27 June 4:49 pm

Daniel Paladini and defender Hunter Jumper took time out last week to answer questions for the Chicago Fire Kids Club newsletter, powered by American Family Insurance.

Check out their interesting answers to Kids Club member questions below and be sure to sign your young Fire fan up for the Kids Club for awesome giveaways at home matches, exclusive player autograph sessions and much more! Best part is it's FREE! Register here.

27 June 9:15 am

U-16s Open with 4-2 Win Over Clearwater

Tuesday was the Chicago Fire Academy’s busiest day at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Frisco, Texas as both the U-16 and U-18 sides were in action and came away victorious to keep hopes of advancement to next month’s national finals alive.
 
In the mid-afternoon 100+ Texas heat, the U-16 Academy opened their playoff run with a 4-2 victory over Clearwater Chargers (FL) in a match that saw the two sides trade the first four goals back and forth. 
 
Dealing with the weather conditions, the Fire went ahead 1-0 when Mississippi Fire Juniors product Marcus Epps fed Jeff Farina through in the 12th minute. Seven minutes later Clearwater would respond of what was described by Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland as “a long bomb”.
 
The Fire would get a bomb of their own from Epps on a 25-yard effort that screamed inside the bottom right corner in the 34th but Clearwater would again respond two minutes later to take things to 2-2.
 
“The heat here is incredible and is having a great effect on the play,” said Sunderland. “Through the first two goals, it looked as if both teams were playing five men on each side off the field and not playing with any type of midfield. We both looked tired 20 minutes into an 80-minute match.”
 
Luckily for the Fire, the team pulled away just before the half when AJ Jeffries slotted Farina into the box with a diagonal ball and the striker coolly finished for his second of the night in the 39th minute. Just after the break, Christian Henock was chopped down in the area to draw a penalty kick which Epps stepped up and finished in the 43rd.
 
With a two-goal lead in hand and taking advantage of a tired Clearwater team, the Fire possessed throughout the rest of the second half to kill of the game and take a 4-2 opening victory. With the result, the U-16s sit tied on three points with Real Salt Lake Arizona atop Group 4 who scored a matching 4-2 victory Tuesday over Seattle Sounders FC. 
 
The U-16s will look to move to six points when they take on Sounders FC at 6:30pm CT tonight in Frisco, Texas. Follow the game LIVE @ChiFireMatch
U-18s Leave it Late to Rebound from Opening Defeat 2-1 over Albertson
 
In what was another physical match against a bigger opponent, a smaller Fire U-18s side earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Albertson SC (New York) to keep their hopes for advancement to the National Finals alive Tuesday night.
 
Knowing the team needed a victory, the U-18s braved the heat, spreading the ball around to create opportunities but Albertson, who dropped their initial match 4-1 to Solar Chelsea Monday night resorted to long-ball and physical tactics to keep things scoreless at the break.
 
The Fire pressed the issue in the match after the break and thought they’d earned a sure penalty in the 72nd minute when forward Andrew Oliver navigated through three defenders into the box before being shoved from behind but no call was given.
 
The situation would be resurrected five minutes later when Manny Rios received the ball on the right and entered the box on the run before being hauled down. 
 
Fire midfielder Victor Pineda stepped up to the penalty spot and channeling Andrea Pirlo on Sunday, cheekily chipped his penalty effort right down the middle and just over the line to give the team a 1-0 lead.
 
“At that point in the match, when we’d played better soccer and things hadn’t been called, I didn’t mind Victor making a statement with his penalty,” said Sunderland. “We know Victor’s abilities and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for the club to have a player with the confidence in himself to do something like that.”
 
The Fire would stave off an equalizer in the 82nd minute when defender Dan Lojek cleared a ball off the line but Albertson would equalize in the 87th. 
 
Staring elimination in the face, late second half sub Manny Chavez would find the stoppage time winner for the Fire when he picked up a loose ball 25-yards out of the box and sent a looping effort that tucked inside the bottom right corner to clinch a 2-1 victory.
 
“The 18s haven’t played our best soccer of late but Tuesday night it felt we got our game back a little bit,” continued Sunderland. “Guys are excited and feel good about having to get three goals on Thursday.”
 
Sunderland refers to the scenario by which the U-18 side would find its way to the top of the group after Solar Chelsea defeated the Concorde Fire 2-0 in the day’s other group match. The Fire would need to defeat the Dallas-based club in the group finale Thursday at 11am CT (LIVE @ChiFireMatch) and hope Concorde doesn’t win by four clear goals in their finale vs. Albertson.
 
“I told them last night, since we’ve had these guys when they were 15 and 16, they always liked to make things interesting on themselves. We’ve scored three goals before and Solar’s given up three goals – we have nothing to lose on Thursday.”
DATE TIME CHICAGO FIRE OPPONENT FOLLOW/RESULTS
6/25 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Concorde Fire (GA) 1-2 L
6/26 4:00pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Clearwater Chargers (FL) 4-2 W
6/26 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Albertson SC (NY) 2-1 W
6/27 6:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Seattle Sounders FC (WA) @ChiFireMatch
6/28 11:00am CT Chicago Fire U-18 Solar Chelsea SC (TX) @ChiFireMatch
6/29 9:00am CT Chicago Fire U-16 Real Salt Lake (AZ) @ChiFireMatch

 

26 June 8:58 am

When you haven’t lost a game in 21 matches and the bulk of your team was the one that took a Development Academy national title in 2010, its fair to say you have a target on your back.

This was the case in the Fire U-18 Academy’s 2-1 loss to Concorde Fire (Ga.) to open the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Playoffs Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas.

Playing in the 94-degree early summer heat in Dallas, the Fire U-18s nearly went up in the 10th minute when Andrew Oliver had an effort cleared off the line.

The team continued to possess throughout the first half and got what seemed a back-breaking goal just before the interval. A long sequence of passes led to Oliver sliding Luis Barajas through the Concorde backline before the winger placed his shot past the opposing ‘keeper to give the Fire a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute.

The goal didn’t put the physically more dominant Georgian side down however as a scramble off a 35-yard free kick led to the equalizer in the 69th minute. Nineteen minutes later, a similar sequence off a free kick from nearly the same spot saw Concorde steal a late goal to upset the top-ranked Fire U-18s, 2-1.

“We didn’t play a complete 90 minutes,” Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland said following the match. “It never fails – when you cheat yourselves a little bit, it catches you. That’s what happened here.

“Concorde is a team we were going to have trouble with because they’re big, physical, direct and we’re a smaller team. Aside from those free kicks, they didn’t threaten us much but the muscle they play with kept them in the game. Credit to them for the win.”

With the gauntlet laid down and Solar Chelsea’s (Texas) 4-1 drubbing of Albertson SC (NY) Tuesday night, the Fire U-18s now have no more room for error and will likely need a little help in their remaining group matches. They also have little time to recover as their second game of the tournament comes tonight against Albertston at 8:30pm CT (LIVE on @ChiFireMatch).

While the U-18s prepare for another primetime match, their U-16 brethren will take their opening bow of the competition later this afternoon when they face Clearwater Charges (Florida) at 4pm CT (LIVE on @ChiFireMatch).

With the following two group matches coming against fellow MLS Academy sides Seattle Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake Arizona, a win Tuesday afternoon is considered key to advancement from the group. 

DATE TIME CHICAGO FIRE OPPONENT FOLLOW/RESULTS
6/25 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Concorde Fire (GA) 1-2 L
6/26 4:00pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Clearwater Chargers (FL) @ChiFireMatch
6/26 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Albertson SC (NY) @ChiFireMatch
6/27 6:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Seattle Sounders FC (WA) @ChiFireMatch
6/28 11:00am CT Chicago Fire U-18 Solar Chelsea SC (TX) @ChiFireMatch
6/29 9:00am CT Chicago Fire U-16 Real Salt Lake (AZ) @ChiFireMatch

 

25 June 9:24 am

Its playoff time! No, Doc Brown hasn't taken you in a Delorean to early November, rather, today kicks off the 2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy postseason at the FC Dallas training complex in Frisco, Texas. 

Having finished the 2011-12 USSDA Regular Season as the top ranked team in the nation, the Fire U-18 squad begins its bid for a place at next month's Finals Week in Houston tonight when they take on the Concorde Fire (Georgia) tonight at 8:30pm CT. 

A bulk of the current squad were part of the club's 2010 U-16 National Championship team and have gone on to impress again this season with an 18-2-3 overall record. After last losing their first two matches of the season, the team is riding a 21-match unbeaten streak into this week's round-robin tournament and will be bolstered by current first teamers Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley (pictures left and right above).

Having finished the regular season sixth in the nation, U-16 Academy side kicks off its bid for Houston Tuesday afternoon when they take on the Clearwater Chargers (Florida) at 4pm CT. 

Fire fans can follow all six of the club's U16 and U18 Academy matches this week LIVE via @ChiFireMatch (see full schedule below) and here on Always on the Inside, we'll have daily updates on how both squads are doing this week in Frisco!

DATE TIME CHICAGO FIRE OPPONENT FOLLOW
6/25 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Concorde Fire (GA) @ChiFireMatch
6/26 4:00pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Clearwater Chargers (FL) @ChiFireMatch
6/26 8:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-18 Albertson SC (NY) @ChiFireMatch
6/27 6:30pm CT Chicago Fire U-16 Seattle Sounders FC (WA) @ChiFireMatch
6/28 11:00am CT Chicago Fire U-18 Solar Chelsea SC (TX) @ChiFireMatch
6/29 9:00am CT Chicago Fire U-16 Real Salt Lake (AZ) @ChiFireMatch

 

23 June 9:25 am

Five things you should know ahead of tonight’s match against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park (Pre-game on NBC 5.2 beginning at 7pm, radio broadcast on ESPN Deportes 97.5 FM beginning at 7:30pm).

1) ANOTHER UNBEATEN RUN… A 3-1 win over Red Bull on Sunday extended the Fire’s unbeaten run vs. New York at Toyota Park to 6-0-3 since the stadium opened in 2006. Tonight, the Fire have another unbeaten run to extend at Toyota Park against the Crew where the team has gone 3-0-4 since last losing to Columbus in Bridgeview on October 7, 2006.
 
2) WHITFIELD 15… Though he’d never say it, it must be somewhat difficult for Fire color analyst Evan Whitfield to watch as current players pass his amount of appearances. Earlier this year it was Patrick Nyarko who moved into 13th on the club’s all-time appearance list by passing the former Fire defender at 103 regular season games played. With an appearance tonight, Marco Pappa will do the same, moving past Evan into 14th place with 104 games played. 
 
3) LOGAN SECOND AGAIN… He sits second behind C.J. Brown in all-time Fire appearances and starts in MLS and across all competitions. With five minutes spent on the Toyota Park pitch tonight Fire captain Logan Pause (19,201) will move past Zach Thornton (19,205) into second all-time in MLS minutes played for the Fire.
 
4) MILLER LITE HOLOGRAM CUP… More of a promo than anything else but the first 5,000 fans 21 and up into Toyota Park tonight will receive this Fire hologram cup courtesy of Miller Lite!
 
5) #VoteFIRE… Twitter voting for the MLS All-Star game may be over but the Hashtag battle with the Columbus Crew runs through tonight at 7pm CT! Continue to find creative ways to #VoteFire in your tweets, to ensure we beat the Crew in the digital world before a win on the field tonight.
 
 
PREVIEW: FIre vs. Crew
21 June 9:24 am

Buon compleanno to the Fire’s resident Italian goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi!

In case Paolo was feeling a bit homesick on his birthday, we at “Always on the Inside” decided to bring a little bit of Italy to him.

Make sure you wish Paolo a Happy 24th Birthday today by commenting and liking this post on Facebook or Tweeting to him @PaulTornaghi!

21 June 8:27 am

"Soccer is a game about goals. It's a low scoring sport. We love it dearly -- when goals are scored, they need to be given." - NBC Sports Play-by-Play Announcer Arlo White's immediate comments following the above instance from Sunday's match vs. New York.

The idea of goalline technology has likely been floated since Geoff Hurst's "not-so hat-trick performance" for England in the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final but that was the 60's and this is now.

The above photo clearly shows former Fire defender and current Red Bull player Wilman Conde working to deny Dominic Oduro's 64th minute strike in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Red Bull. It was just the first instance this week of a ball clearly crossing the line without a goal being given (see also Ukraine vs. England on Tuesday). 

"That’s never happened to me," said Oduro this week. "Obviously I think they missed the whole thing. I thought it was a goal, everyone thought it was a goal except for the two officials. Its my first time having a goal that was so obvious be disallowed."

Had it stood, it would have given the Fire a 2-1 lead as well as counted as the Oduro's fifth of the MLS campaign and first since a 2-1 victory over Sporting KC on May 12.

After the ball crossed the line, the Fire striker's celebration quickly turned to disbelief as the farside linesman denied the goal.

"It was a little heartbreaking for me," he continued. "I needed that going forward, just getting back on track scoring goals and it didn’t happen. My emotions were really high and I got a yellow card. It was all in the heat of the moment." 

You might say that the missed call helped rile the team up more as four minutes later Gonzalo Segares slammed home what would be the go-ahead goal after Oduro dug a ball out in the box from Red Bull 'keeper Ryan Meara. In the 81st minute, substitute forward Chris Rolfe iced the match with a tap-in off a beautiful run up the right from Patrick Nyarko.

"At the end of the day, I’m glad we were able to pull it back, score two and get the win."

 Having gone through the whole experience, the Ghanaian attacker sees the addition of goal-line technology, which MLS Commissioner Don Garber has shown an interest in for the league, would be a good move. 

"I think implementing goal line technology would be the best course going forward. I’m not saying we should stop the whole game and have a replay but to just have something that tells you right away whether or not the ball crossed the line would be a positive. We’re all humans, sometimes referees get it wrong. Sometimes the line of sight is blocked. I don’t think any soccer player would disagree on that.”

Except maybe Wilman Conde...?

20 June 1:32 pm

On Tuesday we began encouraging Fire fans to use the hashtag #VoteFIRE in tweets to spread awareness for the Twitter MLS All-Star vote that begins Thursday as well as have a little friendly competition with our rival and Saturday's opponent Columbus. 

As of our last tally, there have been over 1,100 tweets mentioning #VoteFIRE in the past 24 hours. Before kickoff Saturday, we will calculate the results between the two teams to determine a winner.

We certainly wish to thank the fans for their support, but the election season has just begun. Tomorrow will mark a shift in our campaign focus as we push you to the Twitter polls to vote Pappa, Pardo, Oduro, Johnson, Segares and Grazzini. 

To make it easier, we wanted to make sure everyone knew how a Twitter vote was counted.

1) Your Twitter account must be unlocked

2) You must follow @MLS

3a) You must mention the player's full name, "Marco Pappa", "Pavel Pardo", "Dominic Oduro", "Sean Johnson", "Gonzalo Segares", "Sebastian Grazzini"

3b) or you must mention the players Twitter handle. In this case, @MarcoPappas16, @FreakyFast8 or @SJohn25

4) You must include the #MLSAllStar hashtag

5) You don't need to use #VoteFire but you should as we continue our Twitter battle with Columbus!  

To push your drive to the polls on Thursday, here are some of our favorite #VoteFire tweets from the past 24 hours, via Storify.

#VoteFIRE kicks off

This week, we're encouraging fans to use the hashtag #VoteFIRE to help spread the word and get out and vote for the Men in Red for MLS All-Star on July 25th. On Saturday, June 23rd, we will calculate the results between the two teams to see who's the winner. Here are the best tweets from yesterday..

Storified by Chicago Fire Soccer Club · Wed, Jun 20 2012 13:38:33

#VoteFire because this happened @SoldierField in 1998... http://pic.twitter.com/AEy8wqsrChicago Fire
Patrick Nyarko named to MLS team of the week.....MLS editors #VoteFIREGuillermo Rivera
Because our crest doesn't feature the village people #VoteFIREJake Sweeney
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY BRIAN McBRIDE! #VoteFIRE because we remember our alum's birthdays... #cf97Chicago Fire
#VoteFIRE because who actually wants to live in Ohio?Ryan Sealock
#VoteFire because 4 out 5 dentists recommend itTyme4recess
I #VoteFire because Bow Wow grew up in Columbus.Dustin Simons
#VoteFire because someone actually finished designing our away jersey.Nicholas Fedora
In Soviet Russia #FireVoteU. But since you're in the States, #VoteFIREBen Burton
Based on economic policy, lowering taxes, and most importantly for me, job creation- this election year I'll have to #VoteFIREDan Farmer
Columbus... the Jar Jar Binks of #MLS #VoteFIRE #cf97August Jose
OHIO FACT: It is illegal to fish for whales on Sunday. #cf97 #VoteFIREJeff Crandall
#VoteFire because our guys leave red on the pitch, not yellow.R L Rolland
Three buildings do not make a skyline. #VoteFireNicholas Fedora
Good to see that #VoteFire is trending in Chicago. @JefeCrandall just took his shirt off Dom Oduro commercial style. #cf97 #socialmediayeahbrendan hannan
Because we don't have cheerleaders. #VOTEFIREDustin Simons
Cause my kids are way cuter than kids in Columbus #VoteFIRE http://pic.twitter.com/Icl15rG4Jake Sweeney
#VoteFire because Crew Cat has nightmares of Sparky!Matthew Steckling
Hey @ChicagoFire fans give us a #VoteFIRE to vote for the Men in Red for MLS All-Star on July 25th in Philadelphia http://ow.ly/bHLbFQuakerOats

19 June 2:32 pm

The Chicago Fire U16 and U18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy sides are good. Both sides concluded the 2011/12 regular season on Sunday at Indiana Fire Academy with the U16s taking a 2-2 draw and the U18s a 3-1 victory. 

Both results helped keep the sides first in the Great Lakes Division with the U18s going 13-0-3 (18-2-3 overall) and the U-16s going 11-1-4 (15-3-5 overall) on the campaign.
 
With the finish, the U18s also remained the number one ranked team in the country while the U16s finished fifth in the nation -- both are the top ranked MLS Academy in their age group with the next being the LA Galaxy (#4 at U18 and #8 at U16).
 
Yesterday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced the draw for the 2012 Developmental Academy playoffs, set to begin Monday, June 25 in Frisco, Texas. See the results below...
 
U-18s
Group 7
Chicago Fire (Bridgeview, Ill.)
Solar Chelsea SC (Dallas, Texas)
Albertson SC (Great Neck, N.Y.)
Concorde Fire (Atlanta, Ga.)
 
U-16s
Group 4
Chicago Fire (Bridgeview, Ill.)
Real Salt Lake AZ (Casa Grande, Ariz.)
Seattle Sounders FC (Tukwila, Wash.)
Clearwater Chargers (Clearwater, Fla.)
 
Only the top team from each group will advance to the Academy Finals week, set to be held in Houston, Texas from July 16-23.
 
Earlier Tuesday, Fire Academy Director Larry Sunderland took both sides to a mini-camp in South Bend, Ind. to prepare for next week's playoffs. Joining the teams in Indiana are first teamers and Academy eligible players Victor Pineda and Kellen Gulley.
 
Check Chicago-Fire.com Wednesday for an exclusive podcast interview with Sunderland about the team's progress heading into the postseason.

 

19 June 9:06 am

 

Fire fans get ready to beat the Crew not only on the pitch this weekend but via Twitter!  

This week, we're encouraging fans to use the hashtag #VoteFIRE to help spread the word and get out and vote for the Men in Red for MLS All-Star on July 25th in Philadelphia. The Columbus Crew will be using the hashtag #VoteCREW during the same time and just before kickoff on Saturday, June 23rd we will calculate the results between the two teams to see who's the winner.   

FACT: Brian McBride likes Chicago better.
 
FACT: Yellow is a cowardly color.
 
FACT: Chris Rolfe and Austin Berry hated Ohio so much they had to leave.
 
Vote for Fire #MLSAllStar nominees Marco PAPPA, Pavel PARDO, Dominic ODURO, Sean JOHNSON, Gonzalo SEGARES and Sebastian GRAZZINI by logging onto MLSsoccer.com/AllStar or text the player’s last name only to 22442. Twitter voting begins this Thursday, June 21 at 11am CT and runs through Friday, June 22 at 11:00pm CT.
 
FINE PRINT: The tweet doesn't actually count as a vote, but the hope is that other fans will be encouraged to participate, vote and help us beat the Yellow Team.

Use the button below to Tweet your support!