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Jeff Thoughts

02 May 1:26 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...

11 April 8:27 am

Maicon Santos’ two-goal substitute performance had me thinking this week, how often have Fire players come off the bench to tally a brace?

The Answer: It’s a very rare thing… Santos’ effort on Sunday was just the fifth time (or .008%) in the club’s 573 all-time competitive matches that a player has scored two goals off the bench. It was just the third time in MLS league play and first since 2006.

The others...

Orr Barouch - Chicago Fire 4, New York Red Bulls 0 - U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal (7/12/2011)

In a memorable match that was moved up to 5pm because of a massive power outage at Toyota Park, Barouch came on at halftime for Cristian Nazarit with the Fire already leading 2-0. It took the Israeli youth international just five minutes to make it 3-0 before closing the scoring off a feed from Diego Chaves in the 69th minute (WATCH).

PERUSE: TrueCar Player Registry

Barouch led the side with three goals in Open Cup play on the way to the tournament final that year.

Chad Barrett – Chicago Fire 2, Real Salt Lake 1 – MLS Regular Season (6/28/2006)

Throughout much of his first two seasons with the Men in Red, Chad Barrett was an oft-used second half attacking sub. In this match, he repaid Dave Sarachan’s faith in him, entering for captain Chris Armas in the 68th minute before heading home the equalizer off a cross from Justin Mapp in the 80th minute (WATCH).

Five minutes later, Mapp would slot Barrett through the RSL backline before the second-year striker put slid his effort past Scott Garlick and in off the post for the winner (WATCH).

The effort was the first of two braces for Barrett during his time with the Men in Red, the other coming in a 5-1 victory at Red Bull on May 25, 2008.

Dipsy Selolwane – Chicago Fire 4, San Juan Jabloteh 0 – CONCACAF Champions Cup (3/17/2004)

With the team coming off a somewhat shocking 5-2 first leg defeat away to the Trinidadian side, the Men in Red returned to Soldier Field needing four goals in the second leg in order to advance.

Though Damani Ralph took the aggregate score to 5-3 just before halftime, Selolwane entered for current Fire captain Logan Pause to provide more offense after the break. The Botswanan international’s long-range effort in the 51st minute brought the Fire to within a goal before his empty net finish 11 minutes later brought the score level.

Selolwane proved to be Man of the Match when he set up Chris Armas’ 90th minute series winner to push the Fire past Jabloteh 6-5 on aggregate and into the Champions Cup semifinals.

Interestingly, that performance was the only brace of Selolwane's Fire career, though he did come up with back-to-back game-winners in the team's run to the U.S. Open Cup final that season.

Hristo Stoitchkov – Chicago Fire 7, Kansas City Wizards 0 – MLS Regular Season (7/4/2001)

Of course the Mad Bulgarian was the first to do this with the Fire and of course it came in the Fourth of July Massacre.  

With the team already leading 4-0, there was little need for Stoitchkov to come on in the 78th. One minute after entering the match, Piotr Nowak scored his second to take the game to 5-0 and then Stoitchkov proceeded to drive the dagger in tallying in the 83rd and 88th minutes to exact revenge for the Fire’s MLS Cup loss to Kansas City the year before (WATCH). 

Like Barrett, Stoitchkov tallied two braces while with the Men in Red. The first came in his debut appearance, a 4-2 Opening Day loss to the Dallas Burn on March 18, 2000.

08 March 1:11 pm

The Chicago Fire Ticket Sales staff is pulling double duty today to make sure all areas of Toyota Park are safe and clear of snow ahead of Saturday night's home opener vs. New England.

In this edition of Jeff Thoughts, I capture Esteban Canales, Dave Berchem and Raul Luna having some fun at my expense...

Kudos to the Sales Staff for going the extra mile for Saturday's game:

13 February 6:05 pm

Touching down in Charleston earlier today, the team ate lunch and took in a bit of the Real Madrid/Manchester United Champions League match before heading out to their first training session in the Palmetto State.

Due to heavy rain in the area the past few days, the team's regular spot at Charleston Southern University wasn't in shape for a session so the squad ended up at Blackbaud Stadium's Training Field.

With this being our third straight year to Blackbaud, I've often wondered about the adjacent field which has the stadium on one side and a pond on the other... I wondered because when I saw it before, it had warnings about potential alligators.

Well, today I wondered no more as one of the resident gators (lets call him Charlie) was there to greet us and watch the entire 90-minute training session from just behind one of the goals. Luckily, everyone's shots were very accurate and on frame today...

Check out this video of the players reaction to Charlie and photos from day one of training below...

PHOTOS: Day 1 of Training in Charleston, South Carolina