Fire go hunting for six points with matches against Dallas and Columbus this week

Fire battle FC Dallas and Crew to round out three games in seven days

Marco Pappa

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

CHICAGO FIRE BATTLE FC DALLAS AND COLUMBUS CREW TO ROUND OUT THREE GAMES IN SEVEN DAYS

The Chicago Fire (4-3-3; 15 points) return home where they will play host to FC Dallas (3-6-4; 12 points) in a mid-week clash at Toyota Park Wednesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes) before traveling to Columbus to take on the Crew in the second annual Fire House East clash on Saturday, May 26 at 6:00 p.m. CT (NBC 5/Univision Deportes Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes).

FC Dallas, currently in seventh place in the Western Conference, enters the match after a 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on May 19. The visitors will be without the services of U.S. international Brek Shea, who was suspeneded for three games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for kicking a ball at an assistant referee during FC Dallas’ match against Crew on May 12.

The match in Columbus will mark the third game that the Men in Red will play in the span of seven days. Currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, the Crew enter the match after a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on May 19.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: May 21 – May 28

Monday, May 21: Return to Chicago
Tuesday, May 22: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, May 23: Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas – Toyota Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – TV: NBC 5.2/Radio: 97.5 ESPN Deportes FM
Thursday, May 24: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Friday, May 25: Training 10:30 a.m.*^ Depart for Columbus
Saturday, May 26: Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew – Crew Stadium – 6:00 p.m. CT - NBC 5/Univision Deportes Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes
Sunday, May 27: Train in Columbus TBD
Return to Chicago
Monday, May 28: 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.
 

FIRE vs. FC Dallas
· The Fire went 0-1-1 against FC Dallas during the 2011 MLS Regular Season. In the 2011 season opener, Diego Chaves gave the Fire a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute before Milton Rodriguez equalized one minute later with the result ending 1-1 on March 19 at Pizza Hut Park. In the return leg at Toyota Park on October 12, Jackson and Danny Cruz put Dallas ahead 2-0 before  Sebastian Grazzini’s 85th minute volley cut into the lead, giving FC Dallas a 2-1 victory.

· The Fire have never defeated Dallas at Toyota Park. FCD won four consecutive trips from 2006-09 before a 1-1 draw on May 27, 2010. Overall the Fire are 0-5-1 vs. Dallas in six regular season matches played at Toyota Park since 2006.

· Chicago has one victory in the last 10 meetings all-time between the teams, which was a 3-0 win on March 21, 2009 at Pizza Hut Park.

· Chicago Fire Director of Player Personnel Mike Jeffries spent three seasons as head coach of the then Dallas Burn. Jeffries amassed a 26-36-16 MLS Regular Season record and led the Burn to the playoffs in both 2001 and 2002.

· The clubs play for the Brimstone Cup – awarded by the supporters of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn (Dallas’ name until 2005). The winner is determined by whoever comes away with more points from the two clubs’ Regular Season meetings. If the teams are tied on points, potential MLS Cup playoff and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup meetings can serve as the tiebreaker. If the teams remain tied, the previous year’s winner retains the trophy.

· As Wednesday night’s clash is the only regular season match between the two sides in 2012, the winner of the game will take the Brimstone Cup outright.

· Dallas has won the cup for each of the last ten seasons. The Fire won the first series in 2001, the Burn then claiming it in 2002, retaining it in 2003 when the teams leveled the series, then winning both league meetings in 2004. In 2005, the teams split their league meetings, but the FCD won the cup when they won the U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Dallas won the season series from 2006-08 and in 2010 and 2011; retaining possession when the teams split in ‘09.

· With his appearance in Sunday afternoon’s match, Marco Pappa became the 15th player in team history to reach 100 MLS Regular Season appearances.
 

FIRE vs. Columbus Crew

· The Fire hold a 20-11-13 all-time MLS Regular Season record against the Columbus Crew, including a 9-6-6 record in matches played in Columbus.

· Marking the second-year the club has built a free bus trip into the Supporters Season Ticket Holder package, the Fire will be well supported in Columbus with over 500 supporters expected to be making the trip.

· The Fire went 2-0-0 against Columbus during the 2011 MLS Regular Season. Cristian Nazarit’s 90th minute goal put to end an eleven game winless streak at Crew Stadium on June 12. Rookie Jalil Anibaba scored his first two career MLS goals and Diego Chaves found the back of the net in the 80th minute for the game winner as the Fire notched a 3-2 vicotry in the season finale at Toyota Park on October 22.

· Columbus Crew defenders Rich Balchan and Danny O’Rourke, as well as midfielders Eric Gehrig and Kirk Urso all spent time with the Chicago Fire PDL team during their collegiate careers.

· The Fire’s 1-0 victory on June 12, 2011 at Crew Stadium gave Frank Klopas his first win as interm head coach. Following the conclusion of the 2011 season, Klopas’ interm tag was removed and he was named as the club’s sixth head coach since its inception.
 

CHICAGO FIRE BEGIN LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP PLAY ON MAY 29

The Chicago Fire will begin the journey for its fifth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy on Tuesday, May 29 against the winner of the second round match between the Michigan Bucks (PDL) and the Pittsburg Riverhounds (USL PRO) set to be played on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. CT at Chartiers Valley Stadium in Bridgeville, Pa.

If Pittsburgh is victorious in the match, the Fire will host the third round matchup on Tuesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. CT at Toyota Park. Should the Michigan Bucks advance, the Fire will travel to Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich. to take on the Bucks on Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

The Fire have previously hoisted the coveted Dewar Trophy an MLS-record four times, in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 and have also finished as runners-up in 2004 and 2011.

Since 1997 the Fire have compiled an impressive 30-7-2 record in Open cup play, reaching the semifinal round eight out of 14 times and the final six times. The Fire were defeated by Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final at CenturyLink Field. The 2006 title marked the ninth time a team from Chicago won the Open Cup and made the Fire one of five teams to capture the crown at least four times in the tournament's 99-year-long history.

The 99th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup includes a random selection process for determining home teams from the first round through the quarterfinals among clubs that have applied to host. The process, conducted by a coin flip, gives participating teams with venues meeting tournament standards an equal chance at hosting their possible opponent for these rounds.

Recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor long-time soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
 

CHICAGO FIRE PDL CONTINUE ONTO NEXT ROUND OF THE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP TOURNAMENT

The Chicago Fire PDL squad began play in the 99-year-old tournament, earning a 1-0 first round victory over the Croatian Eagles (USASA) at the Toyota Park practice field on Tuesday, May 15. The Fire PDL host USL-Pro side Dayton Dutch Lions in the second round of the tournament Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. CT (LIVE on @ChiFireMatch) for the opportunity to play the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Tuesday, May 29 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

In 2011 the Fire Premier squad was the furthest advancing amateur team in the tournament, making it to the third round before falling 3-0 at Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City. Their run equaled their furthest previous tournament run in 2004 where they fell to the Rochester Rhinos 1-0.
 

MARCO PAPPA CALLED UP FOR INTERNATIONAL DUTY

Following the Fire’s match against the Columbus Crew on May 26, midfielder Marco Pappa will join the Guatemalan national team on Sunday, May 27 for los Chapines’ friendly on June 1 against Costa Rica in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

While on international duty, Pappa will miss the Fire’s May 29 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match and as well as the team’s match on June 2 against the New England Revolution. Pappa has garnered 24 international caps for Guatemala since his debut in 2008.

Guatemala are currently preparing for their opening CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying semifinal round match against against Jamaica on June 8. In the second round of qualifying the team finished atop Group E with a perfect 6-0-0 record, scoring 19 goals while only allowing 3.
 

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. 
 

FIRE IN THE NEWS

Logan Pause’s own goal snaps Fire’s unbeaten streak - The Associated Press - May 20, 2012

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/12665929-626/logan-pauses-own-goal-snaps-fires-unbeaten-streak.html
 

Fire's defense will be key vs. Timbers - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - May 18, 2012

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/12606404-626/fires-defense-will-be-key-vs-timbers.html
 

Can Fire keep momentum going against Timbers? - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - May 17, 2012

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120517/sports/705179521/
 

Fire’s Friedrich out 3-4 weeks with hamstring strain - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - May 16, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/chi-hamstring-injury-to-sideline-fires-friedrich-for-34-weeks-20120516,0,4301266.story
 

Fire defenders Dan Gargan and Gonzalo Segares display their work at annual art show - CBS 2 Chicago - May 16, 2012

http://ctv4.criticalmention.com/playerpage/player?params=Y2xpcElkPTI2MDAzNzAmc2xpbT0xJnBvd2VyZWQ9MSZyZXBvcnQ9dHJ1ZSZoaWRlQ2xpcENvbnRyb2xzPTEmbm9oZWFkZXI9MSZub21lbnU9dHJ1ZSZhdXRvUGxheT0xJnBhcnRuZXJUb2tlbj04YTgwODM3OTM3MDU1Mjc3MDEzNzYwMTg3ZWJkNjJjZQ==
 

Rookie Rankings: Chicago’s Berry moving up the ladder - MLSsoccer.com - May 16, 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/05/16/rookie-rankings-chicagos-berry-moving-ladder
 

Fire expect Friedrich back soon - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - May 14, 2012

http://www.csnchicago.com/soccer-chicago-fire/news/Fire-expect-Friedrich-back-soon?blockID=707868&feedID=5674
 

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

Five Things You Should Know About Sunday's Game at the Timbers – May 20, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/05/five-things-you-should-know-about-sundays-game-timbers

Pappa set to make 100th appearance for the Fire – May 17, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/05/pappa-set-make-100th-appearance-fire
 

Chicago Fire Premier kickoff 2012 U.S. Open Cup Tuesday night vs. Croatian Eagles at Toyota Park – May 14, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/05/chicago-fire-premier-kickoff-2012-us-open-cup-tuesday-night-vs-croatian-eagles-toyota-p