Fire venture north for spirited affair with Toronto FC

Men in Red head to Toronto to challenge eastern conference foe

Dan Gargan

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

FIRE HEAD TO TORONTO TO CHALLENGE EASTERN CONFERENCE FOE

The Chicago Fire (1-1-2; five points) head north of the border to face their second Canadian test of the season when they take on Toronto FC (0-5-0, zero points) at BMO Field Saturday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes).

The Fire will look to improve upon their record while visiting the Great White North. In nine matches in Canada, the Men in Red have accrued a 2-4-3 record including a 2-3-1 record in matches played at BMO Field.

Toronto FC enters the match as the only winless side in MLS and after a 1-0 loss to Chivas USA Saturday the Reds extended their losing streak to five straight games.

The Fire’s trip to Toronto marks the return of Dan Gargan, who was acquired in a trade for Dasan Robinson on July 28, 2011. In his first match against his former club on August 21, 2011 Gargan scored a 69th minute header in a 2-0 Fire victory.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: April 17 - April 23

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)

Tuesday, April 17: Off

Wednesday, April 18: Training 10:30 a.m.*^                   

Thursday, April 19: Training 10:30 a.m.*^                      

Friday, April 20: Depart for Toronto
Training 3:30 p.m. ET*^ - BMO Field

Saturday, April 21: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC – BMO Field – 2:30 p.m. CT – TV: NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes                      

Sunday, April 22: Off

Monday, April 23: 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 at Toronto FC

·         The Fire hold a 4-3-4 all-time record against Toronto FC, including a 2-3-1 record in matches played at BMO Field.

·         This marks the first time the Fire’s German defender Arne Friedrich will face his fellow countryman, Toronto FC Designated Player Torsten Frings in MLS play. Together, Friedrich and Frings helped guide Germany to a third place in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a runner-up finish in the 2008 UEFA European Championships and third place in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup.

·         The Fire went 1-0-1 against Toronto FC in the 2011 MLS Regular Season. Behind second-half substitute Orr Barouch’s first MLS goal with less than 15 minutes remaining, the Fire came back from two goals down to clinch a 2-2 tie against Toronto FC on May 14 at BMO Field. Dominic Oduro put the Fire ahead in the 16th minute and Dan Gargan added an insurance goal in the 69th minute as the Fire defeated Toronto FC 2-0 on August 21 to break a 10-game league winless streak.  

·         The match comes nearly nine months since the two clubs swapped defenders in a trade that saw six-year Fire veteran Dasan Robinson go to Toronto FC in exchange for defender in Dan Gargan on July 28, 2011.

·         Since the trade, Gargan has been a mainstay in the Fire defense, starting all nine matches in which he appeared in 2011, logging 785 minutes and tallying one goal. So far in the 2012 campaign, Gargan has started three of the team’s first four matches and logged 246 minutes.

·         With an appearance in Sunday’s match vs. the Dynamo, Patrick Nyarko became 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 on April 5, 2012.

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

CHRIS ROLFE RETURNS

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Monday that the club has reacquired forward Chris Rolfe. The 29-year-old American forward rejoins the Fire after mutually parting ways with Danish Superliga side Aalborg BK, where Rolfe spent the last three seasons. Rolfe will be available for selection by Fire head coach Frank Klopas for the Fire at Toronto FC match at BMO Field on Saturday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports/97.5 ESPN Deportes). Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rolfe began his professional career with the Chicago Fire as a third round selection in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft. During his tenure with the Fire from 2005 to 2009, the Kettering, Ohio native became a mainstay for the Men in Red, scoring 40 goals and tallying 20 assists in 149 games across all competitions. Rolfe helped lead the Fire to the club’s fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2006.

Rolfe’s performance with the Fire led him to his first cap with the United States national team during a friendly in Scotland on November 12, 2005. Since then he has appeared 10 times and registered one assist for the United States.

After departing the Fire in 2009, Rolfe signed with Danish side Aalborg BK, where he appeared in 32 matches, tallying six goals over the course of three seasons.     
 

MEN IN RED DRAW DYNAMO IN LIGHTNING SHORTENED MATCH

In a rain shortened match, the Men in Red used Logan Pause’s deflected goal to earn a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo (2-1-1; seven points) Sunday night at Toyota Park. The match was first delayed in the 13th minute then called due to inclement weather in the 66th.

After the Dynamo went ahead in the 24th minute on a goal by forward Will Bruin, the Fire responded almost immediately. Making his 100th career appearance for the Fire, Patrick Nyarko made an incredible individual run towards the box before being taken down 25 yards from goal. Pavel Pardo stepped up to take the free kick and hit his low drive into the back of a crouching Logan Pause, whose deflection went over Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, off the underside of the cross bar and over the line to equalize in the 27th minute.

This game marked the first MLS appearance by the Fire’s German defender Arne Friedrich, who started in place of the injured Cory Gibbs. Friedrich anchored the backline for 66 minutes before the match was officially called.

See highlights of the match by clicking here.
 

FIRE DEFENDER CORY GIBBS UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

On Tuesday, April 10 the Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that veteran defender Cory Gibbs underwent successful surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee at Glenbrook Hospital. The surgery was performed by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jason Koh from the NorthShore Medical Group.

Gibbs suffered the injury during training on April 4. He is expected to be out for approximately four to six months.

The club’s 2011 Defender of the Year, Gibbs played every minute of the first three games this season for the Men in Red.
 

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

ESPN Deportes Radio’s (97.5 FM) new weekly show, “Juega Con Fire” airs this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. CT. Hosted by veteran Spanish language reporter and 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.
 

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

Fire – Dynamo tie in match halted by severe weather - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - April 15, 2012 http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/ct-spt-0416-fire-chicago--20120416,0,4431048.story

Arne Friedrich, Dan Gargan prepared to help Fire with Cory Gibbs on shelf - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - April 14, 2012 http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/11884015-626/arne-friedrich-dan-gargan-prepared-to-help-fire-with-cory-gibbs-on-shelf.html

Oduro not out for revenge, just a win vs. Dynamo - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - April 14, 2012

http://www.csnchicago.com/soccer-chicago-fire/news/Oduro-not-out-for-revenge-just-a-win-vs-?blockID=689214&feedID=5674

Warning: hideous images ahead as Dominic Oduro shows he is ridiculously fast - Steve Davis - NBCSports.com - April 13, 2012 http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/13/warning-hideous-images-ahead-as-dominic-oduro-shows-he-is-ridiculously-fast/

Fire, Friedrich lament dropped points against Houston - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - April 16, 2012 http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/04/16/fire-friedrich-lament-dropped-points-against-houston

Welcome to Club 23 – Leonor Vivanco – RedEye Chicago – April 10, 2012

http://www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-red-arne-friedrich-soccer-20120415,0,1646560.story
 

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

Five things you should know about Sunday’s Game vs. the Dynamo – April 15, 2012

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

All-In Podcast with Austin Berry – April 12, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/all-podcast-austin-berry

Former Fire forward Calen Carr set for Toyota Park return - April 12, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/former-fire-forward-calen-carr-set-toyota-park-return

Gibbs injury could lead to Friedrich debut, test rebuilt backline depth - April 10, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/04/gibbs-injury-could-lead-friedrich-debut-test-rebuilt-backline-depth