Fire head to California for second phase of preseason camp

Men in Red close out first phase with pair of wins

The Chicago Fire returned home from the team’s 16-day first phase of preseason Sunday, following a 3-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast in Ave Maria, Fla., Wednesday, February 1 and a 3-1 victory against Honduran side Real España Saturday, February 4 in New Orleans, La.

With the matches working in conjunction with the club’s Fire Juniors affiliates in Florida and Louisiana, head coach Frank Klopas has used the team’s initial preseason games to evaluate the status of signed first team players as well as to take a look at the team’s draftees and invited trialists.
 
The first team is off Monday and Tuesday before reconvening for phase two of preseason running from Wednesday, February 8 to Saturday, February 18 in Ventura, Calif. While out west, the team will continue preparations for their 15th MLS campaign with matches against Chivas USA (February 11), Portland Timbers (February 15) and San Jose Earthquakes (February 18).
 
All three matches can be followed live via the club’s Twitter home for in-game updates,@ChiFireMatch. Following the 11-day stay in California, the team will return to Chicago for three days before departing for the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C. on February 21.
 
See below the club’s full 2012 preseason schedule.
 
January 20-February 3: First Team trains in Ave Maria, Fla.
GAMES:  
Sunday, January 29 – Chicago Fire 0, D.C. United 0 - Florida Gulf Coast University – Ft. Myers, Fla.
Wednesday, February 1 – Chicago Fire 3, Florida Gulf Coast University 0 – North Park – Ave Maria, Fla.
         
February 3-5: First Team trains in New Orleans, La.
GAMES:
Saturday, February 4 - Chicago Fire 3, Real C.D. Espana (HON) 1 – Tad Gormley Stadium – New Orleans, La.
 
February 5: First Team returns to Chicago
 
February 8-18: First Team trains in Oxnard, Calif.
GAMES:
Saturday, February 11 – Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA – 2:00 p.m. CT – Oxnard College – Oxnard, Calif.
Wednesday, February 15 – Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers – 1:00 p.m. CT – The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.
Saturday, February 18 – Chicago Fire vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 11:00 a.m. CT – Ventura, Calif.
 
February 18: First Team returns to Chicago
 
February 21-March 4:  First Team trains in Charleston, S.C. as part of 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup
GAMES:
Saturday, February 25 - Chicago Fire vs. DC United – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, S.C.
Wednesday, February 29 – Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, S.C.
Saturday, March 3 – Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery (USL) – 6:15 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium  - Charleston, S.C.
 
March 4: First Team returns to Chicago
 
FIRE DOWN FLORIDA GULF COAST AND REAL ESPANA LAST WEEK
The Chicago Fire closed out the team’s initial phase of preseason with two victories over Florida Gulf Coast University and Honduran side Real Espana last week.
 
Playing the highly rated collegiate side for the second year in a row on Wednesday, February 1, the team was spurred on by goals from Marco Pappa (7th minute), Dominic Oduro (21st minute) and Orr Barouch (60th minute) to earn a 3-0 victory in Ave Maria, Fla. Follow these links for highlights of the match and a recap from Team Writer Jeff Crandall.
 
The team shifted camp to New Orleans, La. last Friday for an international friendly against Honduran side Real C.D. España Saturday afternoon. Oduro took his preseason goal count to three after tallying a first half brace (26th and 44th minutes) around Edder Gonzalez’ 38th minute equalizer. Barouch added his second of preseason, an 88th minute goal to earn a 3-1 victory. Check out highlights of the match and get a further recap by clicking here.
 
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS FOR THE CLUB’S 2012 MLS CAMPAIGN AT TOYOTA PARK NOW ON SALE
Single game tickets and Family Four-Packs for the club’s historic 15th MLS season at Toyota Park went on sale to the public Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. CT. Individual game tickets start as low as $15, while Family Four Packs which include 4 Pepsi’s, 4 hot dogs and 4 match tickets are $79 (Corner Kick) and $99 (Premier).
 
Both individual game tickets and Family Four-Packs can be purchased by calling 1-(888)-MLS-FIRE, visiting Ticketmaster online, via their Facebook page, or by clicking on Chicago-Fire.com. Download the 2012 Chicago Fire home schedule by clicking here (PDF).
 
Hosting 14 of the club’s 17 MLS regular season home matches on weekends, the club begins its 2012 home schedule with Opening Night at Toyota Park against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM CT.
 
CHICAGO FIRE AND NICOR GAS PARTNER TO PROMOTE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Nicor Gas, a subsidiary of AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), announced Monday a strategic multi-year partnership to support Nicor Gas’ Energy Efficiency Program and help guide consumer behavior toward more efficient uses of energy. Together, the Chicago Fire and the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program have created the “Take the Pledge” campaign in which Nicor Gas customers, contractors, Fire partners and fans pledge to reduce the ways they consume energy in their daily lives by small activities such as changing your furnace filter, using less water and reducing unnecessary heating and cooling.
 
The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program offers cash rebates and energy efficiency tools to help Nicor Gas customers and businesses save energy and money. The “Take the Pledge” campaign reaches consumers of all ages with soccer clinics, creative kids’ contests and interactive volunteer activities in the Chicagoland community. As consumers make a commitment online to reduce their consumption, they become eligible for Program and Fire benefits.
 
As part of the partnership, Nicor Gas will provide educational opportunities at Toyota Park, and will be the presenting sponsor of “Take The Pledge Night” when the Fire take on Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. CT.  “Take the Pledge” will be a major feature for passionate Fire fans that evening as the campaign gets underway.
 
Click here for more information on the new strategic partnership between the Chicago Fire and Nicor Gas.
 
SUPPORT THE CHICAGO FIRE FOUNDATION AT THE 14TH ANNUAL SEASON KICKOFF LUNCHEON MONDAY, MARCH 12
Get your tickets for the 14th annual Chicago Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon which will be held on Monday, March 12, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This is the first chance of the season to meet your 2012 Chicago Fire Soccer team. The event includes a reception, lunch and silent auction featuring Chicago Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and more. The first 20 full paid tables of ten (10) at $800 get to sit with a Fire player or coach. Purchase your tickets today to guarantee your seat for the Luncheon!
 
Click here to download an order form or here to purchase your tickets online. 
 
FIRE IN THE NEWS
 
Fire win preseason international friendly 3-1 - Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – Feb. 4, 2012
 
New Orleans scene in store for Chicago Fire – Lyons Yellin – The Times Picayune – February 4, 2012
 
Chicago Fire coach would like to call southwest Florida team’s permanent preseason home – Scott Clair – Naples Daily News – February 3, 2012
 
Big money guys in MLS not be-all, end-all – Orrin Schwarz – The Daily Herald – February 2, 2012
 
Frank Klopas needs Fire’s core to keep it together – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times – Jan. 26, 2012

CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM

Positional Breakdown: Midfielders – February 3, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/02/positional-breakdown-midfielders

Positional Breakdown: Defenders – February 2, 2012
 
Positional Breakdown: Goalkeepers – February 1, 2012
 
Fire Special in Ave Maria – Jan. 30, 2012