Fire return home to face Seattle Sounders FC

Fire welcome Sounders in 2011 US Open Cup Final rematch

Dominic Oduro

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

FIRE WELCOME SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC TO TOYOTA PARK IN REMATCH OF 2011 US OPEN CUP FINAL

The Chicago Fire (2-1-2; eight points) return home where they will play host to Seattle Sounders FC (3-1-1, 10 points) in “Take the Pledge Fire Goes Green” night at Toyota Park Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes). Fire Pregame begins at 7:00 p.m. CT live on NBC5.2.

This is the first meeting between the two squads since the 2011 U.S. Open Cup Final on October 4, 2011 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. Sounders FC pulled out a 2-0 win over the Fire to clinch their third straight Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

The Fire head into the match looking for their first-ever win against Seattle. The team is 0-3-3 in the clubs’ previous six regular season matches, going 0-1-2 against Sounders FC at Toyota Park.

Sounders FC enter the match after taking a break in MLS regular season action last weekend. Their last match was a 1-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids on April 14.

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: April 23 – April 30

Monday, April 23: Off
Tuesday, April 24: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, April 25: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Thursday, April 26: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Friday, April 27: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Saturday, April 28: Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC – Toyota Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – TV: NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes
Sunday, April 29: Training 10:30 a.m.*^

*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 for media requests.

CHICAGO FIRE vs. Seattle Sounders FC

·         The Fire hold a 0-3-3 all-time MLS record against Seattle Sounders FC, including a 0-1-2 record in matches played at Toyota Park.

·         The Fire went 0-1-1 against Seattle Sounders FC during the 2011 MLS Regular Season. Diego Chaves became the first player in Fire history to score in each of his first three regular season games as the Fire fell 1-2 on April 9 at CenturyLink Field. Starting his second game since earning his job back, Sean Johnson stole the show in goal, making three first have saves as the sides drew 0-0 on June 4 at Toyota Park.

·         Patrick Nyarko and Gonzalo Segares each opened their goal scoring account for the 2012 season with their goals in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Toronto FC. Segares’ 40th minute equalizer was his first since an 88th minute leveler in a 2-2 draw at Columbus on April 25, 2009. Nyarko’s 58th minute winner was his first since scoring what stand as the deciding goal in a 3-2 win over New England on September 25, 2011.  

·         With his appearance in Saturday’s match vs. Toronto FC, Segares takes over sole possession of ninth place on the club’s all-time MLS appearance list with 152 games played while Fire captain Logan Pause moved past former teammate Chris Armas and into third place on the club’s all competitions appearance list with 273 games played.

·         Sitting on 15 regular season goals scored in just over a year since joining the Fire, Dominic Oduro stands one strike away from tying Lubos Kubik and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, entering the club’s top 15 MLS goal-scoring list.
 

MEN IN RED RALLY TO DEFEAT TORONTO FC 3-2 IN BACK-AND-FORTH MATCH

The Chicago Fire used Dominic Oduro’s fastest goal in club history and tallies from Gonzalo Segares and Patrick Nyarko to defeat Toronto FC 3-2 at BMO Field Saturday afternoon in Toronto.

In just the 25th second of the match, Nyarko stripped the ball from Toronto FC defender Torsten Frings and played it through to a wide-open Oduro, who collected the ball and slipped his shot under TFC ‘keeper Milos Kocic. Oduro’s goal broke the record for the fastest goal in club history and tied for fifth quickest in MLS.

Looking for their first win of the season Toronto FC continued to apply pressure and scored two goals in quick succession. In the 36th minute, Reggie Lambe unleashed a curling shot from 25-yards out for the TFC equalizer. Just four minutes later, Lambe struck again when he pounced on a loose ball that was played across the Fire goal and tapped it into the open net.

The Toronto FC lead was short-lived however, as just one minute later in the 41st minute, Sebastian Grazzini sent a long free kick into the Toronto FC box, where Gonzalo Segares lost his defender and flicked the ball over Kocic for the equalizer.

In the 58th minute Oduro returned the favor when he played a ball into space behind the TFC defense. A charging Nyarko rounded Kocic and calmly slotted the ball into the open net for his first goal of the season and the eventual game-winner.
 

‘FREAKY FAST’ OFF TO BLAZING START

With his goal in the 25th second of Saturday’s match, Dominic Oduro broke the record for fastest goal in club history, previously held by Jamar Beasley, who scored in the 27th second of a 7-0 thrashing of the Kansas City Wizards on July 4, 2001. Oduro’s goal also tied for fifth fastest in MLS history.

Oduro started the 2012 season on a tear, scoring in the Fire’s first two games of the campaign. In the season opener on March 17 against the Montreal Impact, the stealthy Ghanaian found the equalizer in the 71st minute, getting on the end of a lofted pass from Sebastian Grazzini to help the side to a 1-1 draw in front of 58,912 at Olympic Stadium.

In the Fire’s second match of the season, Oduro’s header in the 28th minute gave the stood up to give the side a 1-0 victory in their home opener against the Philadelphia Union on March 24.

Having appeared in every MLS match since joining the Fire via trade from Houston last season (38), Oduro has started all five games so far this season, leading the team with three goals and one assist in 2012.
 

FIRE AND NICOR GAS PARTNER FOR ‘TAKE THE PLEDGE FIRE GOES GREEN’ NIGHT

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club is pleased to announce the Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC match this Saturday as “Take the Pledge Fire Goes Green Night” presented by the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program.

The Chicago Fire and Nicor Gas, a subsidiary of AGL Resources, announced in February a strategic multi-year partnership to support Nicor Gas’ Energy Efficiency Program and help guide consumer behavior toward more efficient uses of energy. Together, the Chicago Fire and the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program have created the “Take the Pledge” campaign in which Nicor Gas customers, contractors, Fire partners and fans pledge to reduce the ways they consume energy in their daily lives by small activities such as changing your furnace filter, using less water and reducing unnecessary heating and cooling.

In addition to educational opportunities that Nicor Gas will be providing at Toyota Park, the first 5,000 fans in the stadium Saturday will receive a limited-edition Nicor Gas Chicago Fire scarf.
 

WIN A FIRE COMMEMORATIVE FIRE GOES GREEN JERSEY SATURDAY NIGHT AT TOYOTA PARK

Fire supporters will have the opportunity to bid on commemorative Chicago Fire jerseys from each member of the team Saturday at Toyota Park. The Fire will don blue kits which include a special one-of-a-kind patch along with green names and numbers on the back to help highlight the Fire’s “Going Green” efforts.  Every winner will be given the opportunity to have the Fire player personally autograph the new piece of memorabilia after the game. Text “Auction” to 702-330-8832 or visit the Foundation tent on the Northeast concourse to place your bids on Commemorative Fire Goes Green Jerseys.
 

CHICAGO FIRE ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC MERGER WITH NAPLES YOUTH SOCCER CLUB

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday a strategic merger between Naples Youth Soccer Club and the Florida Fire Juniors program. The expanded Florida Fire Juniors are one of eight clubs in the Chicago Fire Juniors family and one of five outside of the Chicagoland area. Since 2008, the Fire’s youth development program has grown from 400 to more than 10,000 across seven states.

In 2010, the Florida Fire Juniors were formed by the union of Florida Premier Soccer Club, Gulf Coast Soccer Academy and Southwest Florida United Soccer Academy in an effort to provide a long-term development pathway for its players. The Florida Fire Juniors maintain the infrastructure for player and team development that produces the highest quality player and team results. It was this strong player development philosophy that encouraged the Naples Youth Soccer Club Sharks into developing a partnership with the Fire.

Founded in 1978, the Naples Sharks have been a community focused club with 350 players that take part in all levels of soccer in the state of Florida.

The Chicago Fire Juniors program was formed to train area youth in a professionally run environment and has since expanded to include branches in Chicago, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky. Through the Juniors program, players ages eight-years-old to 18-years-old receive professionally developed curriculum to help build skill and knowledge of the game. The Juniors program has seen direct results, including the signing of Mississippi Fire Juniors product Kellen Gulley to the first team.
 

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 www.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) 

Fire supporters can choose one of two departure points on the morning of May 26, leaving from either Toyota Park or The Globe Pub (1934. W. Irving Park).

Bus Departure/(Estimated Arrival Times):

Toyota Park – 6:30 am CT (approximately 1:30pm ET)

(one bus will leave at this time. Signup for this bus is first-come, first served)

Toyota Park – 8:30 am CT (approximately 3:30pm ET)

The Globe Pub – 8:30 am CT (approximately 3:30pm ET)

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

FIRE IN THE NEWS

How the Chicago Fire’s deal with Quaker will help connect with fans – Ed Sherman – Crain’s Chicago Business – April 17, 2012

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120417/NEWS07/120419841/how-the-chicago-fires-deal-with-quaker-will-help-connect-with-fans

Striker Chris Rolfe returns to Fire fold – Seth Gruen – Chicago Sun-Times – April 16, 2012

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/11946866-626/striker-chris-rolfe-returns-to-fire-fold.html

Amazing Chicago Tifo Celebrating Diversity – Gay 4 Soccer – April 16, 2012

http://gay4soccer.com/2012/04/16/amazing-chicago-tifo-celebrating-diversity/

Fire’s Gargan creative off field too – Jack McCarthy – Chicago Tribune – April 19, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0420-fire-chicago--20120420,0,1706116.story

Fire snap scoring woes, defeats Toronto FC 3-2 – Chicago Tribune – April 21, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/chi-fire-snaps-scoring-woes-defeats-toronto-fc-32-20120421,0,1265407.story

Chicago happy with points in 3-2 shootout vs. Toronto – Anthony Zilis – MLSsoccer.com – April 21, 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/04/21/chicago-happy-points-3-2-shootout-vs-toronto
 

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

Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s Game vs. Toronto FC – April 20, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/five-things-you-should-know-about-saturdays-game-vs-toronto-fc  

A look at Diego Gutierrez, John Thorrington and Amos Magee’s two Fire stints – April 19, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/look-diego-gutierrez-john-thorrington-and-amos-magees-two-fire-stints

Chris Rolfe talks return to the Fire – April 18, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/chris-rolfe-talks-return-fire