Fire head to Charleston for 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup

Men in Red looking forward to start phase three of preseason

Having returned from the side’s 11-day stay in Ventura, Calif., Saturday night, the Chicago Fire take a three-day break ahead of its departure Wednesday for phase three of preseason, February 22-March 4 in Charleston, S.C.

Playing six first team and two reserve matches through the initial month of preseason, Frank Klopas’ side has begun to take shape as he looks to finalize his 28-man roster for the team’s opening match, Saturday, March 17 at Montreal.
 
With Klopas looking to make final roster decisions, the club announced Monday that trialing goalkeeper Alec Kann has been released from camp ahead of the team’s trip to Charleston this Wednesday. Upon arrival in the Palmetto State, the side will take part in the 2012 Carolina Challenge Cup for the second straight preseason, with matches against D.C. United (February 25), Columbus Crew (February 29) and USL-Pro side Charleston Battery (March 3). All three Fire matches at the annual preseason tournament will be streamed live via Chicago-Fire.com and can be followed @ChiFireMatch on Twitter.
 
Below is 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 1, Chivas USA 0 – Oxnard College – Oxnard, Calif.
Saturday, February 11 – Chicago Fire Reserves 0, Ventura County Fusion 0 – Oxnard College, Oxnard, Calif.
Wednesday, February 15 – Chicago Fire 0, Portland Timbers 2 – The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.
Saturday, February 18 – Chicago Fire 0, San Jose Earthquakes 2 – Oxnard College - Oxnard, Calif.
Saturday, February 18 – Chicago Fire Reserves 2, Ventura County Fusion 1 – Oxnard College, Oxnard, Calif.
 
February 18: First Team returns to Chicago
 
CHICAGO FIRE CHARLESTON TRAINING SCHEDULE: February 22 – March 3
Chicago Fire players and coaches will be made available to media at the Charleston Southern Soccer Complex (9200 University Blvd.; North Charleston, SC 29406) following each training session during the team’s stay. Media are able to begin conducting interviews after training, which runs approximately two hours. (All times eastern unless noted)
 
Wednesday, Feb. 22: Training TBA – Charleston Southern*^
Thursday, Feb. 23: Training 10:00 a.m. - Charleston Southern*^
Friday, Feb. 24: Training 10:00 a.m. - Charleston Southern*^
Saturday, Feb. 25: Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium – Chicago-Fire.com
Sunday, Feb. 26: Training TBA – Charleston Southern*^
 
Chicago Fire Reserves vs. College of Charleston – 10:00 a.m. – Blackbaud Stadium
 
Monday, Feb. 27: Training 10:00 a.m. – Charleston Southern*^
Tuesday, Feb. 28: Training 10:00 a.m. – Charleston Southern*^
Wednesday, Feb. 29: Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – 4:00 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium – Chicago-Fire.com
Thursday, March 1: Training TBA – Charleston Southern*^
Friday, March 2: Training 10:00 a.m. – Charleston Southern*^
Saturday, March 3: Chicago Fire vs. Charleston Battery – 6:15 p.m. CT – Blackbaud Stadium – Chicago-Fire.com
Sunday, March 4: Depart for Chicago
 
*Training is open to the media. Fire players and coaches will be made available immediately following training.
^Training times are subject to change. Please contact Brendan Hannan at 720.937.8962 or Jeff Crandall at 734.751.4820 for media requests.
 
FIRE CLOSE OUT CALIFORNIA STAY WITH 2-0 LOSSES TO PORTLAND, SAN JOSE
The Fire hit the woodwork twice but eventually fell 2-0 at the hands of the Portland Timbers in a 120-minute exhibition match played February 15 in Carson, Calif.
 
The Timbers struck first in the 64th minute when Franck Songo’o centered a ball that midfielder Eric Alexander was able to tuck underneath goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The Fire nearly brought things level 13 minutes later though when a cross from Orr Barouch deflected off Songo’o before coming off the post.
 
Newly signed striker Kheli Dube hit the woodwork again in the 105th minute when a cross from right back Tony Walls found the veteran at the back post. The Zimbabwean hit a first time ball that beat substitute keeper Eric Bendick but not the cross bar before Portland iced the game on a counter attack with Jorge Perlaza slotting home in the 112th minute.
 
The Fire returned to the field, falling 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. Striker Steven Lenhart tucked home a cross from Ramiro Corrales in the third minute to put the Quakes ahead.
 
Striker Dominic Oduro nearly responded six minutes later when Patrick Nyarko slotted through alone on goal but the Ghanaian was thwarted by the outstretched Jon Busch to keep San Jose ahead with nine minutes gone.
 
San Jose would ice the game just before the break when Marvin Chavez’ corner kick from the left picked out the head of Brad Ring at the back post, with the defensive midfielder tucking his effort just past Jay Nolly to give the Quakes a 2-0 victory.
 
CHICAGO FIRE ORIGINAL C.J. BROWN TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE ‘RING OF FIRE’
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced last Tuesday that former Fire defender and Fire Original C.J. Brown will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame, known as the Ring of Fire, during halftime of the team’s match against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, May 9 at Toyota Park.

Having brought to end a 13-year career following the 2010 MLS campaign, Brown holds the club record for most MLS regular season appearances (296), MLS Cup playoff appearances (35) and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances (25). Serving as Fire captain from 2008-09, Brown’s 372 appearances across all competitions are also a club record and rank him third all-time behind only Jaime Moreno (415) and Cobi Jones (392) for most competitive games played for one MLS club. Brown joins current Ring of Fire member Chris Armas and recently retired goalkeeper Zach Thornton as the only three players to be a part of all six of the club’s domestic championships.
 
Brown joins fellow Ring of Fire inductees: former Fire captain Peter Nowak, former Fire defender Lubos Kubik, former Fire forward and current head coach Frank Klopas, the Fire’s first General Manager Peter Wilt, former Fire head coach Bob Bradley and former Fire midfielder Armas in the club’s Ring of Fire.
 
Tickets for Brown’s Ring of Fire induction can be purchased here:http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/04004832C9C1426F?artistid=805916&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=11
 
CHICAGO FIRE NOW ACCEPTING CREDENTIAL REQUESTS FOR 2012 SEASON
Applications for media credentials for the 2012 Chicago Fire season are available now. Individual media members looking to receive a season credential can apply online at  https://chicagofire.iworldreg.com/mediaenglish/apply.
 
Please fill out the application form to the fullest of your abilities, as the data collected in this form will be used by the Chicago Fire Communications Department to update our records and better serve our constituents throughout the upcoming 2012 season. PLEASE NOTE: failure to submit a .jpeg photo with your application will result in an automatic DENIAL.
 
Applications that are submitted by the close of business on Sunday, March 4 and approved by the Fire Communications Department will be received in time for pickup beginning on Monday, March 19at Toyota Park in the club’s Communication’s office.
 
The 2012 Fire season credentials will be honored for all Chicago Fire home contests. Credentials will also be available for pick-up on Opening Day at Toyota Park when the Fire meet Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Media Will Call booth – located on the southwest side of the stadium at GATE A – beginning at 5:30 PM CT. If you have any questions or issues regarding the online credential application process, please contact Brendan Hannan, Fire Communications Manager at bhannan@chicago-fire.com or 708.496.6725 (office) or 720.937.8962 (mobile).
 
Media members who will not be covering the entire Fire season can request single game credentials through the Fire Communications Department by emailing Fire Communications Manager Brendan Hannan at mediacredentials@chicago-fire.com. The bearer must be on a specific assignment for the organization to which the credential is issued.
 
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 are now ON SALE. 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.
 
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 teamThe event includes a reception, lunch and silent auction featuring Chicago Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and moreThe 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
 
Mkosana balancing schoolwork with efforts to make the Fire – Anthony Zilis – MLSsoccer.com – Feb. 20, 2012
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/02/20/mkosana-balancing-schoolwork-efforts-make-fire
 
Klopas chides Fire on transition defense – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times – Feb. 17, 2012
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/10691683-626/frank-klopas-chides-fire-on-its-transition-defense.html
 
Back to business for Fire’s Pause – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – Feb. 16, 2012
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0217-fire-chicago--20120217,0,7604364.story
 
Fire’s Klopas likes what he sees in Pineda – Orrin Schwarz – The Daily Herald – Feb. 16, 2012
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120216/sports/702169663/
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM

Pappa, Johnson, Barouch Heading on International Duty – February 16, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/02/pappa-johnson-barouch-head-international-duty

All-In Podcast with Eric Wynalda – February 15, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/podcast/all-eric-wynalda
C.J. Brown’s Memorable Career – February 14, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/02/cj-brown-set-become-seventh-member-rof