Fire march to Montreal to open 15th MLS campaign

Men in Red set to open Olympic Stadium Saturday afternoon

 

Idle for the first weekend of the 2012 MLS season, the Chicago Fire earned a 3-1 victory over the NASL’s Minnesota Stars FC in the team’s final preseason match March 9. The win propels the team toward its MLS First Kick match where the Men in Red will visit the expansion Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium on Saturday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m. CT.
 
For the 13th time in 15 seasons, the Men in Red will open an MLS campaign away from the Windy City. The Fire are 5-3-4 in First Kick matches on the road and 5-4-5 in First Kick matches.
 
Saturday’s clash at Montreal marks the fourth time in three seasons that the Fire will help open an MLS stadium. With already 41,000 tickets sold, the Impact will hope to break Olympic Stadium’s soccer attendance record of 58,543 which aptly came in a North American Soccer League playoff match between the Montreal Manic and Chicago Sting. The hosting Manic took the Game One of the quarterfinal series 3-2 before the Sting rebounded with matching 4-2 results in Games Two and Three, en route to the 1981 NASL Championship.
 
The newest Montreal soccer incarnation has a number of Fire connections with the Impact led by former Fire midfielder Jesse Marsch who sits fifth on the club’s all-time MLS appearance list with 200 games played. From 1998-2005, Marsch captured five domestic titles with the Fire. Serving under Marsch in assistant coaching roles are former Fire head coach Denis Hamlett (2008-09) and midfielder Mike Sorber, while longtime Fire winger Justin Mapp was selected by Marsch in the 2011 MLS Expansion Draft.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: March 12 – March 18
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 12: Season Kickoff Luncheon at Hyatt Regency Chicago
Tuesday, March 13: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, March 14: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Thursday, March 15: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Friday, March 16: Depart for Montreal
Training at Olympic Stadium at 5:00 p.m. ET*^
Saturday, March 17: Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact – 1:00 p.m. CT – TV: TBA
Sunday, March 18: Return to 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.
 
2012 CHICAGO PRESEASON ROUNDUP
Below are the club’s full 2012 preseason results:
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.
Saturday, February 4 - Chicago Fire 3, Real C.D. Espana (HON) 1 – Tad Gormley Stadium – New Orleans, La.
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.
Saturday, February 25 – Chicago Fire 0, D.C. United – Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, S.C.
Sunday, February 26 – Chicago Fire Reserves 2, College of Charleston 1 – Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, S.C.
Wednesday, February 29 – Chicago Fire 1, Columbus Crew 0 – Blackbaud Stadium – Charleston, S.C.
Friday, March 9 – Chicago Fire 3, Minnesota Stars FC 1 – Toyota Park Turf Field – Bridgeview, Ill.
 
FIRE ANNOUNCE SIGNING OF GERMAN WORLD CUP VETERAN ARNE FRIEDRICH; YOUNGSTERS HUNTER JUMPER AND PAOLO TORNAGHI JOIN MEN IN RED
The Chicago Fire announced the signing of German World Cup veteran defender Arne Friedrich. Hailing from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany, Friedrich has represented the German national team 82 times since his first appearance in 2002. During that time, the 6-1 defender has compiled an impressive international resume, playing 13 of a possible 14 games while helping Die Mannschaft to matching third place finishes at the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups. It was in the latter tournament that he scored, tallying in the 74th minute of Germany’s 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Argentina July 3, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.
 
The renowned defender also represented Germany at the 2004 and 2008 UEFA European championships. In 2008, Friedrich appeared in four matches, helping his country to a runner-up finish. Capable of playing centrally or on the right side of the backline, Friedrich helped his national side to a third-place finish at the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany.
 
Additionally, the Fire inked deals with 2012 MLS SuperDraft selection, defender Hunter Jumper and goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. A 6-2 left back, Jumper comes to the Fire from the University of Virgina where he helped the Cavaliers to the 2009 NCAA College Cup.
An Inter Milan youth product, Tornaghi comes to the Fire after a loan spell to Serie C side Como. The 23-year-old ‘keeper who was part of Italy’s 2005 U-17 World Championship squad is expected to push goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Jay Nolly during the 2012 MLS campaign.
 
CHICAGO FIRE LAUNCH KENTUCKY AND MICHIGAN FIRE JUNIORS
The Chicago Fire last week announced two new Fire Juniors affiliates, partnering with Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club of Louisville, Kentucky and Rangers Soccer Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan to form the Kentucky Fire Juniors and Michigan Fire Juniors.
 
The announcements take the club’s total number of Fire Juniors affiliates to eight, five of which are based outside of the Chicagoland area.
 
Please follow the preceding links for more information on the Kentucky and Michigan Fire Juniors.
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 PARTNER WITH ESPN DEPORTES 97.5 FM TO BROADCAST ALL 2012 REGULAR SEASON MATCHES
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes, Chicago’s first commercial FM radio station devoted to broadcasting continuous Spanish language sports coverage, will broadcast all 34 regular season Fire games in Spanish beginning with the first away game against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, March 17, at 1:00 p.m. CT. Oscar Guzman will return for his seventh season as the voice of the Fire’s Spanish-language broadcasts.
 
Guzman will anchor the Fire’s Spanish-language broadcasts on 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes. In addition to calling the games, the veteran play-by-play broadcaster and popular Chicago sports anchor will host Juega Con Fire, a weekly soccer show, which will focus on the beautiful game in Chicago, MLS and abroad. Date and time to be determined.
 
Fans can listen to 97.5 FM ESPN Deportes Chicago, on the station’s website,espndeporteschicago.com, as well as on iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile app, Clear Channel’s best-in-class customizable digital listening experience, offering more than 800 of the nation's most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration, all combined in one free, fully-integrated service.
 
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 see prices below:
 
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
 
Fire’s Dominic Oduro determined not to squander chances – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times – March 9, 2012
 
Fire win final preseason match 3-1 – Orrin Schwarz – The Daily Herald – March 9, 2012
 
Chicago Fire Building Luxury Stadium Club – Robert Channick – Chicago Tribune – March 7,2012
 
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
New Fire goalkeeper Tornaghi talks coming to MLS – March 8, 2012 
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/03/new-fire-goalkeeper-tornaghi-talks-coming-mls
Section 8 veteran donates bone marrow to help save a life – March 8, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/03/section-8-veteran-donates-bone-marrow-help-save-life
Klopas talks new Fire signing Arne Friedrich – March 7, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/03/klopas-talks-new-fire-defender-arne-friedrich