Fire entertain Houston Dynamo Sunday

Men in Red host 2011 MLS Cup finalists at Toyota Park

Dominic Oduro

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

FIRE HOST 2011 MLS CUP FINALISTS HOUSTON DYNAMO SUNDAY AT TOYOTA PARK

The Chicago Fire (1-1-1, four points) return to MLS play this week when they welcome 2011 MLS Cup finalists the Houston Dynamo (2-1-0, six points) to Toyota Park on Sunday, April 15 at 6:00 p.m. CT (LIVE on CSN Chicago and Galavision).

While the team had a break in MLS play, the Fire didn’t sit idle last week as they used a 12th minute strike from Guatemalan international Marco Pappa to down the University of Louisville 1-0 Saturday morning on the Toyota Park Practice Field.

Making his Fire debut, German international defender Arne Friedrich played 88 minutes on the backline, partnering in the middle with 2012 Fire first round draft pick and Louisville alumnus Austin Berry to help keep the clean sheet.

Sunday’s match against the Houston Dynamo marks the third straight season the two teams have met at Toyota Park in April and sees the return of former Fire forward Calen Carr to Toyota Park. The club’s first round selection in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Carr spent five years with the Fire before being traded to Houston early last season in exchange for forward and 2011 Fire leading goal scorer Dominic Oduro.  

The Houston Dynamo have sat idle the past two weeks in MLS play, with their last competitive match coming in a 2-0 loss on March 23 at Seattle.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: April 9 - April 16

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, April 9: Training 10:30 a.m.*^

Tuesday, April 10: RESERVE GAME - Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City – Time and Location TBD

Wednesday, April 11: Training 10:30 a.m. *^ (Reserves Off)

Thursday, April 12: Training 10:30 a.m.*^

Friday, April 13: Training 10:30 a.m.*^

Saturday, April 14: Training 10:30 a.m.*^

Sunday, April 15:  Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – Toyota Park – 6:00 p.m. CT – CSN Chicago, Galavision

Monday, April 16: RESERVE GAME – Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – Toyota Park Practice Field – 10:00 a.m. CT

*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. Houston Dynamo

· The Dynamo hold a 3-6-3 all-time record against the Fire, including a 2-3-1 record in matches played at Toyota Park since 2006.

· The Fire and Dynamo split the 2011 MLS Regular Season series with matching 1-1 draws. The Fire saw Diego Chaves’ 18th minute goal undone by Bobby Boswell’s 83rd minute header April 23 at Toyota Park. Colin Clark put the Dynamo 1-0 in the 33rd minute before striker Dominic Oduro, making his first return to Houston since being traded, tallied a 40th minute equalizer October 1 at Robertson Stadium.

· The match comes just over a year since the two clubs swapped forwards in a trade that saw five-year Fire veteran Calen Carr go to the Dynamo in exchange for another MLS veteran forward in Dominic Oduro on March 23, 2011.

· Since the trade, Oduro had a breakout 2011 campaign, leading the Fire with 12 goals in 2011 to become the first player since Damani Ralph in 2004 to score double digit goals in an MLS campaign. For his efforts, the Ghanaian striker was named the club’s Most Valuable Player as well as Section 8 Chicago’s Supporters Player of the Year in 2011.

· After dealing with concussion symptoms early on in the 2011 season, Calen Carr recovered to appear in 13 competitive matches, scoring two goals along the way to help the Dynamo to the 2011 MLS Cup final.

· With an appearance in Sunday’s match vs. the Dynamo, Patrick Nyarko will become the 14th player in Fire history to tally 100 MLS Regular Season appearances. Now into his fifth season with the Fire, the Ghanaian attacker re-signed with the club last week.

· Additionally, with an appearance in Sunday’s match vs. the Dynamo, eight-year Fire veteran defender Gonzalo Segares will move into a tie with former teammate Jim Curtin at ninth on the club’s all-time MLS appearance list with 151 games played.
 

WEEKLY RADIO CALL-IN SHOW, “JUEGA CON FIRE” TO DEBUT THIS WEDNESDAY ON ESPN DEPORTES 97.5 FM

ESPN Deportes Radio (97.5 FM) will debut a new weekly show, “Juega Con Fire” this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. CT. Hosted by veteran Spanish language reporter play-by-play broadcaster Oscar Guzman and morning show host Ysaac Alvarez, the new call-in show will focus on the beautiful game in Chicago, MLS and abroad.

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 RE-SIGN FORWARD PATRICK NYARKO

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced last week that the club has re-signed Ghanaian forward Patrick Nyarko. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Selected in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, Nyarko heads into his fifth season in Chicago as one of the most experienced players on the Fire roster with 99 games played since his rookie year. Following his initial season in MLS, the Virginia Tech product became an integral part of the Fire, with his 90 regular season appearances being the most of any Fire player the past four seasons while also leading the club with a combined 19 assists from 2010-11.

Originally selected as a forward, the fleet-footed 26-year-old has shown the ability to play on either wing but it was his move back up front with fellow countryman Dominic Oduro midway through last season that propelled the Fire to the brink of the MLS Cup playoffs and the second best finish in club history at 7-2-1.

Nyarko recently began his international career, earning his first cap while playing 45 minutes for Ghana in a 1-1 draw against Chile on February 29 in Chester, Penn.
 

FIRE GOALKEEPER PAOLO TORNAGHI WINS MLS SAVE OF THE WEEK

Despite sitting idle this past week, Chicago Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi still took home accolades, earning his first MLS Save of the Week nod for a stop in the April 1 match at Colorado.

The fans recognized the effort by Tornaghi in the 67th minute of Sunday's match against the Colorado Rapids. The former Italian youth national team 'keeper used every inch of his outstretched frame to deflect a searing shot by Rapids midfielder Martín Rivero that was destined to finish inside the right post.

Tornaghi edged out Toronto's Milos Kocic for the weekly honors and San Jose's Jon Busch finished third with a strong show of votes. LA's Josh Saunders and FC Dallas shot-stopper Kevin Hartman round out the top five.

Week 4 Voting Results

1. Paolo Tornaghi (CHI) – 30.06%

2. Milos Kocic (TOR) – 25.68%

3. Jon Busch (SJ) - 20.81%

4. Josh Saunders (LA) - 18.33%

5. Kevin Hartman (DAL) – 5.12%

For a complete list of the Save of the Week winners in 2012, click here.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TO HOST ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SIDE ASTON VILLA ON SATURDAY, JULY 21 AT TOYOTA PARK

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that the Fire will take on seven-time English League champions Aston Villa in an international friendly at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Advance tickets for the Chicago Fire vs. Aston Villa are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting Chicago-Fire.com or via Ticketmaster. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 1 in the Fire’s Season Ticket Package, and is also a part of the Ten Game Plan.

Aston Villa, one of the oldest and most successful clubs in English football history, will make their first trip to Chicago. Since its founding in 1874, Villa has amassed 19 major domestic honors, including seven English Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. The Villans also won the 1981-1982 European Cup. One of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, Aston Villa has competed in the top flight of English soccer ever since.

This is the second consecutive year the Fire will host an English Premier League team. In 2011, the Fire took on famed English club Manchester United in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 61,000 soccer supporters at Soldier Field, scoring first before falling 3-1 to the eventual Premier League Champions. The Fire currently hold a 2-1 record against English Premier League foes, defeating Everton FC by a score of 2-0 in 2008, and Derby County 1-0 in 1999.

Aston Villa features two former Chicago Fire Premier players, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, originally from Homer Glenn, Ill. and defender Eric Lichaj, a product of Downers Grove, Ill.  

This is the first meeting between the Fire and AVFC. Aston Villa is 2-0 in previous games against Major League Soccer teams, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 and the Columbus Crew 3-1 in 2007.
 

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.

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

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).
 

FIRE IN THE NEWS

Friedrich draws closer to MLS debut – Len Ziehm – CSNChicago.com – April 7, 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/04/01/fire-say-loss-discipline-let-them-down-rapids-loss

New deal in hand, Nyarko ready to get Fire started – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – April 6, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0407-fire-chicago--20120407,0,1635989.story

Fire defeats Louisville, Friedrich debuts – Guillermo Rivera – Fire Confidential – April 6, 2012

http://www.chicagonow.com/fire-confidential/2012/04/fire-defeat-louisville-friedrich-debuts

Fire still consider themselves lucky in locking up Nyarko – Anthony Zilis – MLSsoccer.com – April 6 , 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/04/05/fire-still-consider-themselves-lucky-locking-nyarko
 

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

All-In Podcast with Patrick Nyarko – April 5, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/all-podcast-patrick-nyarko