Fire host opening night at Toyota Park Saturday vs. Philadelphia

Men in Red to challenge Union after hard fought draw in Montreal

The Chicago Fire (0-0-1, 1 point) return to the Windy City this week to open up their 15th MLS home campaign when they welcome the Philadelphia Union for Opening Night at Toyota Park this Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN). Fire Pregame starts at 7:00 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet.

The Men in Red kicked off the 2012 season by earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw in front of a record crowd of 58,912 at the Montreal Impact last Saturday. After falling behind 1-0 on Davy Arnaud’s 56th minute header, Fire striker Dominic Oduro brought things level, burying a pinpoint cross from Sebastian Grazzini in the 71st minute. The goal and result marked the eighth time in the last 12 months that the Fire have come from behind to earn at least a point.

The March 24 match marks the earliest regular season home opener in the club’s 15 seasons, besting by two days last year’s 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City on March 26. In that time, the Fire are 8-3-3 all-time in their first match of the year in Chicagoland.

Much like Saturday’s season opener at Montreal, the Philadelphia Union have a number of connections to the Fire past. Former Fire captain, midfielder and original Ring of Fire member Peter Nowak is now in his third season as the head coach of the Union while former midfielder Diego Gutierrez is the club’s Sporting Director and former defender Jim Curtin works in the club’s Academy. All three men sit in the top 15 in all-time MLS Regular Season appearances for the Fire.

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: March 19 – March 25

Chicago Fire players and coaches will be made available to media at the Toyota Park Practice Field. Media are able to begin conducting interviews after training, which runs approximately two hours. (All times central unless otherwise noted)

Monday, March 19: Off
Tuesday, March 20: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, March 21: Training 10:30 a.m.*^ (Toyota Park Stadium Field. Closed to the public.)
Thursday, March 22: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Friday, March 23: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Saturday, March 24: Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union – 7:30 p.m. – TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Sunday, March 25: Off

*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.

CHICAGO FIRE vs. Philadelphia Union

  • The Fire are 8-3-3 all-time in home openers and 4-1-1 all-time in season curtain raisers at Toyota Park.
  • Since Philadelphia came into the league in 2010, the Fire are 1-2-1 all-time against the Union and 1-0-1 when facing them at Toyota Park.

·         This will mark only the fifth time out of 15 seasons that the Fire will play their second game at home. The Fire have a 5-2-7 all-time record in the second match of the season.

  • With the one-year anniversary of his trade from the Houston Dynamo this week, Fire forward Dominic Oduro’s 71st minute goal was his 13th regular season goal for the club in the last year.
  • With his helper on Oduro’s goal Saturday, Sebastian Grazzini has tallied either a goal or assists in nine of his 12 regular season appearances since joining the Fire last July. Grazzini currently has five goals and five assists in 859 minutes of MLS play
  • With an appearance in Saturday’s match vs. the Union, Ghanaian Patrick Nyarko will tie former Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley at 14th on the club’s all-time regular season appearance list with 98 games played. 
  • Philadelphia comes into Saturday’s match having dropped both games they’ve played thus far. The Union fell 3-1 on March 12 at Portland and 2-1 on Sunday vs. Colorado.

·         The Fire are 7-6-3 all-time when facing former captain Peter Nowak. The team went 6-4-2 against Nowak during his time at the helm of D.C. United from 2004-06 and have gone 1-2-1 since the Fire all-time assist leader took the reins in Philadelphia.
 

FIRE UNVEIL 2012 REGIONAL BROADCAST SCHEDULE

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Thursday that NBC Chicago and Comcast SportsNet (CSN) will be the official television broadcast partners of the Chicago Fire for the 2012 season. All regionally broadcast Fire matches will be preceded by a 30-minute pregame show. The Fire’s May 26 match will be aired live in Chicago on NBC 5 for the first time in club history. NBC Chicago Nonstop and CSN will air 22 Fire matches over the course of the club’s 15th MLS season.

The Fire will appear on national broadcast partners NBC (one game), NBC Sports Network (five games), ESPN (one game) and Galavision (five games) throughout the season.

In addition to the match on NBC 5, NBC Chicago Nonstop will televise a minimum of 14 Fire matches on the regional digital platform. CSN, whose local television base reaches 4.8 million, will broadcast a minimum of eight matches on CSN. The Men in Red first appear on NBC Chicago Nonstop when the Fire take on the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park on Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
 

CHICAGO FIRE SIGN DEFENDER TONY WALLS

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that it has signed 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft pick and Chicago Fire Premier alumnus Tony Walls. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A product of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Walls was selected in the third round (47th overall) of January’s MLS Supplemental Draft. Playing for the Phoenix from 2008-11, Walls made 75 appearances, tallying 18 goals and 11 assists and was named Horizon League Player of the Year during his senior season.

Hailing from Wauwatosa, Wisc., Walls joins defender Austin Berry as the second 2010 Chicago Fire Premier alumnus to join the first team this season. While with the Fire PDL squad, Walls appeared in 12 matches tallying a goal and assist.
 

FIRE UNVEIL PLANS FOR ALL-INCLUSIVE ‘SECOND-STAR CLUB’ AT TOYOTA PARK

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that the Fire has broken ground on the Second Star Club, a premier, all-inclusive club at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. The luxury club area will provide Fire guests unrivaled sightlines of the players on the pitch, while also enjoying a world-class match-day experience in superb style with concierge activities.

The Second Star Club’s all-inclusive match-day experience on the first concourse at Toyota Park is located mid-field and will include a dining room with a full-service bar. Second Star Club members also receive a number of benefits in the new state-of-the-art, 6,766 square-foot club such as premier seating, access to Fire players post-game, valet parking, a VIP entrance and private elevator and special pre-game talks led by a member of the Fire Technical staff. The Second Star Club will host hospitality events for Fire corporate partners, season ticket holders. Membership will also include Second Star access for all concerts and events at Toyota Park. 

Located at midfield at Toyota Park, memberships for the Second Star Club are limited to the first 160 supporters and start at $6,500 for a three-year membership. For more information or to purchase a seat in the Second Star Club please call Senior Manager of Ticket Sales, Casey Klein at 708-496-6791 or email him at cklein@chicago-fire.com. For more information please visit: www.chicago-fire.com/second-star-club/about.  
 

FIRE TEAMS WITH SUPPORTERS FOR FIREHOUSE EAST ON MAY 26 IN COLUMBUS

Following the 2011 invasion of Columbus in which over 500 Chicago Fire supporters saw the side earn a dramatic and late 1-0 victory over the Crew, the Fire are again teaming with the club’s Supporters Season Ticket holders to create rousing home support of the club when the team travels visits the Columbus Crew on Saturday, May 26.

The Fire are offering all 2012 Section 8 Chicago, Sector Latino and Section 80 Season Ticket Holders a FREE bus ticket to the match with the goal of bringing 800 Fire supporters to Crew Stadium for the 2012 Firehouse East invasion of the Ohio capital.

All Fire fans are invited to “get on the bus” to Columbus:

Supporters Season Ticket Holders: $20 (match ticket & commemorative scarf)
Non-qualified Chicago Fire Fans: $45 (bus ticket)
                                                             $20 (match ticket & commemorative scarf)  

RSVP for the Firehouse East Trip by Friday, May 11 by clicking here.
For more information on Firehouse East, visit www.firehouse-east.com

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.

FIRE IN THE NEWS

All-Access Video: Pavel Pardo – ESPN Deportes – March 18, 2012

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7699677

Fire content with tie after finding space hard to come by – Anthony Zilis – MLSsoccer.com – March 17, 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/03/17/fire-content-tie-after-finding-space-hard-come

Fire owner Andrew Hauptman places emphasis on winning – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times - March 17, 2012

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/11347687-626/fire-owner-andrew-hauptman-places-emphasis-on-winning.html

Fire experience prepped Marsch – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – March 16, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0317-fire-chicago--20120317,0,1504917.story

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

HISTORY: Klopas brace leads Fire past Mutiny in first-ever home opener – March 16, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/video/2012/03/16/fire-history-fire-vs-mutiny-4498 

Pause expects to see familiar faces in Montreal – March 15, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/03/pause-expects-see-familiar-faces-montreal

Fire plan to bring confidence, energy to season opener – March 13, 2012
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/03/17/fire-content-tie-after-finding-space-hard-come