Are you ready for the Fire's home opener?
1) PRETTY GOOD HOME OPENING RECORD…The Chicago Fire are 8-3-3 all-time in home openers and 4-1-1 all-time in curtain raisers at Toyota Park. The only blemish at Toyota Park was a 2-1 loss to San Jose on April 10, 2010.
2) FOUR CONSECUTIVE…? Fire midfielder Marco Pappa is one of only six MLS players to score in three consecutive home openers for the same club. Pappa has scored game winners in a 1-0 victory over New York on April 5, 2009 and a 3-2 victory over Sporting KC on March 26, 2011. He also scored what would go on to be the 2010 MLS Goal of the Year in a 2-1 loss to San Jose on April 10, 2010.
If Pappa scores Saturday, he’ll become the first player in MLS to tally goals in four consecutive home openers for the same club… Who are the other five that have tallied three though?
Answer: Omar Cummings (2009-11; Colorado), Sanna Nyassi (2008-10; New England), Luciano Emilio (2007-09; D.C. United), Carlos Ruiz (2002-04; LA Galaxy), Chris Brown (2001-03; Kansas City)
3) PATRICK NYARKO #14 IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE… Why, you ask? If and when the fifth-year Fire veteran steps on the field vs. Philadelphia, he’ll move into a tie with DaMarcus Beasley for 14th on the club’s all-time MLS Regular Season appearance list with 98 games played.
Having averaged 29 matches over the past three seasons, if Nyarko keeps to that pace, he’ll move past the aforementioned Beasley, Evan Whitfield (103), Peter Nowak (114) and Chris Rolfe (123) into 11th on the all-time list by season’s end.
4) THE FIRST TIME… As long as both men are healthy, Saturday night will be the first time former Fire teammates Frank Klopas and Peter Nowak will coach against one another. The pair missed out on their sideline encounter in last year’s 1-1 draw on August 3 as Nowak had back issues prior to the game, leaving assistant coach John Hackworth to lead the Union that night.
5) PLAYING TOGETHER… Over the course of the 1998-99 seasons, Klopas and Nowak played together for the Fire in 31 regular season, seven MLS Cup playoff and three U.S. Open Cup matches for a total of 41 games on the field together.…41 just happens to be the number Klopas wore his final two seasons with the Fire.