The Chicago Fire will open up the team’s preseason phase two match schedule Saturday with a friendly against Chivas USA at 2pm CT/12pm PT at Oxnard College. Live audio of the game can be heard via Chicago-Fire.com. Fans can also follow along via @ChiFireMatch on Twitter.
See below all you need to know heading into Saturday’s game:
- Frank Klopas will give two different XI’s 45 minutes each in the California opener.
- Following the match, a third XI will play two 25-minute halves against USL Premier Development League side Ventura County Fusion beginning around 4pm CT/2pm PT.
- Having rejoined the team for the first time this week after a busy offseason of training camps with the U.S. Men’s and U23 teams as well as English Premier League side Everton, goalkeeper Sean Johnson is expected to get his first taste of preseason action Saturday afternoon.
- In Thursday's weekly conference call with media members, Klopas said it was unlikely that newly arrived midfielder Rafael Robayo would see time in today's match as he continues to gain fitness after an extended visa process in Colombia kept him from joining the team at the start of preseason. Robayo is likely to debut in Wednesday's game vs. Portland.
- Fire captain Logan Pause remains in Chicago with his wife after the birth of the couple’s daughter. Set to attend the Comcast SportsNet Awards on Monday, February 13, Pause will rejoin the team the following day in Ventura, Calif.
- Joining phase one trialists defender Ivan Guerrero and goalkeepers Alec Kann and Paolo Tornaghi is Mexican center back Rodrigo Inigo and former DC United, Columbus Crew and Fire Premier left back Jed Zayner.
- Brazilian attacker Alex remains on trial with the club but is unavailable for selection.
- Second-round MLS SuperDraft selection Lucky Mkosana will rejoin the team from his studies at Dartmouth college Friday night, though his inclusion in Saturday’s match day squad will be a game-time decision. The Zimbabwean forward will be with the team through the remainder of the side’s stay in Ventura.
- Mkosana joins defender Hunter Jumper and midfielder Tony Walls as the three unsigned draft picks that remain in camp.
- The Fire enter Saturday's match with a 2-0-1 preseason record, having drawn DC United 0-0 (January 29), defeated Florida Gulf Coast University 3-0 (February 1) and downed Honduran side Real Espana 3-1 (February 4).
- The Fire have not trailed through three preseason matches, outscoring opponents 6-1.
- Chivas USA comes into Saturday's match 1-2-0 in preseason, having fallen 1-0 to both the Ventura County Fusion (January 27) and the Colorado Rapids (February 7) and beaten NPSL side FC Hasental 5-0 (February 3).
- Dominic Oduro leads the team with three goals in preseason. Orr Barouch has tallied two, while Marco Pappa has a single strike to his name.
- Weather forecast for kickoff is 62 degrees, 20% chance of precipitation.
- The last time these two teams met… On September 17, 2011 at Toyota Park, the Fire used a second minute Cory Gibbs header and a 26th minute own goal from Juan Pablo Angel to run out to a 2-0 lead. The game got more interesting when Gibbs was shown a red card in the 37th minute for a hard challenge on Michael Lahoud. Chivas equalized with two second half goals in as many minutes from Angel and Nick LaBrocca before Dominic Oduro tallied an 85th minute for the Fire and became the club’s first player since Damani Ralph in 2004 to record double-digit goals during the regular season.
- Though it matters little in preseason, the Fire hold a 7-4-3 advantage of CD Chivas USA since the Los Angeles-based side entered MLS in 2005.