Fire return home to host two of MLS' best

Fire battle RSL & SKC to round out three games in nine days

Toyota Park

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CHICAGO FIRE BATTLE REAL SALT LAKE AND SPORTING KANSAS CITY TO ROUND OUT THREE GAMES IN NINE DAYS  

The Chicago Fire (3-2-2; 11 points) return home where they will play host to Real Salt Lake (7-3-1, 22 points) at Toyota Park Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes) and Sporting Kansas City (7-2-0, 21 points) at Toyota Park Saturday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN Chicago/97.5 ESPN Deportes). Fire pregame on Saturday begins at 7:00 p.m. CT on Comcast SportsNet.

Real Salt Lake, currently in second place in the Western Conference, enters the match after a 2-1 home win over the New England Revolution on May 5. The visitors will be without the services of former Fire midfielder and Woodridge, Ill. native Will Johnson, who was shown a red card in Saturday’s victory over the Revolution.

The Sporting Kansas City match will mark the third game that the Men in Red will play in the span of nine days. Currently atop the Eastern Conference standings, Sporting Kansas City started the MLS season on hot streak, winning their first seven games before dropping their last two, a 1-0 loss to Portland on April 21 and a 2-0 loss to Montreal on May 5.

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: May 7 – May 14

Monday, May 7: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Tuesday, May 8: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, May 9: Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake – Toyota Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – TV: NBC 5.2/Radio: 97.5 ESPN Deportes FM
Thursday, May 10: Training 11:00 a.m.*^
Friday, May 11: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Saturday, May 12: Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City – Toyota Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – TV: CSN Chicago/Radio: 97.5 ESPN Deportes FM
Sunday, May 13: RESERVE GAME – Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City – Toyota Park Practice Field – 10:00 a.m. CT
Monday, May 14: 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.

FIRE vs. Real Salt Lake

· The Fire hold a 6-3-5 all-time MLS Regular Season record against Real Salt Lake, including a 3-1-3 record in matches played at home.

· The Fire went 1-1-0 against Real Salt Lake during the 2011 MLS Regular Season. Sean Johnson recorded his fourth shutout of the season at Toyota Park as the Fire played to a 0-0 tie June 22 at Toyota Park. Marco Pappa scored his first career hat trick as the Fire defeated Real Salt Lake 3-0 on September 28 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

· In his first MLS start, rookie defender Austin Berry opened his 2012 goal scoring account with his equalizing strike in Friday's 2-1 win over Chivas USA. With his goal in the 25th minute, Berry became just the third rookie in Fire history and first since 1998 to score in his debut MLS appearance. Both Ritchie Kotschau and Josh Wolff tallied in their rookie debuts for the Fire in the club's inaugural 1998 campaign.

· Berry also became the seventh Fire player all-time to score in his debut. Berry joins Roman Kosecki, Ritchie Kotschau, Josh Wolff, Hristo Stoitchkov, Diego Chaves and Pavel Pardo as a member of this exclusive list.

· Marco Pappa's stoppage time winner on Friday night was his second goal in as many games this season and moves him into a tie for fifth on the club’s all-time MLS goal scoring list with Damani Ralph and Dema Kovalenko at 22.

· Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson began his professional career with the Fire in 2005 and played one season with the Men in Red. The Canadian-born, Woodridge, Ill. native started one of his six appearances, scoring one goal on July 23, 2005 against the Colorado Rapids. Johnson will be unavailable for this match as he will be serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card for a hard foul on Clyde Simms in the 59th minute of RSL’s 2-1 victory over New England last Saturday.

FIRE vs. Sporting Kansas City

· The Fire hold a 21-10-9 all-time MLS Regular Season record against Sporting Kansas City, including a dominating 15-2-3 record in matches played at home.

· The Fire went 1-1-0 against Sporting Kansas City during the 2012 MLS Regular Season. Goals from Diego Chaves, Marco Pappa and Gaston Puerari helped the Fire to a 3-2 victory on March 26 at Toyota Park. In front of a crowd of 19,925 the Fire earned a 0-0 draw in the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on June 9.

· Despite the Fire’s regular season domination of Kansas City, Sporting, formerly known as the Wizards have twice played the Fire’s villain in Cup Finals. On October 15, 2000 the Kansas City Wizards defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 in the MLS Cup Final. Wizards ‘keeper Tony Meola made 10 saves and Miklos Molnar scored in the 11th minute as the Wizards held on to win the Alan I. Rothenberg trophy. Four years later Kansas City ruined the Fire’s bid for an MLS record fourth U.S. Open Cup title, using Igor Simutenkov’s 95th minute striker to earn a 1-0 victory in the tournament final on September 22, 2004 at Arrowhead Steadium.

· When MLS launched in 1996, current Fire head coach Frank Klopas was allocated to the Kansas City Wiz in 1996 and went on to appear in 54 matches and scored seven goals over two seasons with the Wiz.

· The Fire will face Sporting Kansas City three times in the MLS Regular Season. After hosting Sporting on Saturday, the Men in Red will travel to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday, June 29 and Friday, September 28.

C.J. BROWN RING OF FIRE INDUCTION CEREMONY      

During halftime of the Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake match on Wednesday, May 9 the Chicago Fire will induct former Fire defender C.J. Brown into the club's Hall of Fame, known as the Ring of Fire.

Brown came to the Fire as the first overall selection in the 1998 MLS Supplemental Draft. The San Jose State product quickly entrenched himself in the Fire starting XI during the club’s inaugural season, appearing in 37 of the team’s 41 competitive matches while helping the side to a still unprecedented “Domestic Double”, winning the 1998 MLS and U.S. Open Cup championships.

Through the preceding 12 seasons, Brown helped lead the team to four more domestic titles – the 2000, 2003 and 2006 U.S. Open Cups and 2003 MLS Supporters Shield – as well as four more finals – the 2000 and 2003 MLS Cup, 2004 U.S. Open Cup and 2009 SuperLiga.

Having brought to end a 13-year career following the 2010 MLS campaign, Brown holds the club record for most MLS regular season appearances (296), MLS Cup playoff appearances (35) and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances (25). Serving as Fire captain from 2008-09, Brown’s 372 appearances across all competitions are also a club record and rank him third all-time behind only Jaime Moreno (415) and Cobi Jones (392) for most competitive games played for one MLS club. Brown joins current Ring of Fire member Chris Armas and recently retired goalkeeper Zach Thornton as the only three players to be a part of all six of the club’s domestic championships.

Brown joins fellow Ring of Fire inductees: former Fire captain Peter Nowak, former Fire defender Lubos Kubik, former Fire forward and current head coach Frank Klopas, the Fire’s first General Manager Peter Wilt, former Fire head coach Bob Bradley and former Fire midfielder Armas in the club’s Ring of Fire.
 

REAL SALT LAKE’S CHICAGO TIES

When Real Salt Lake comes to town this week it will mark the homecoming for Real Salt Lake midfielders Ned Grabavoy, originally from New Lenox, Ill. and defender Chris Schuler, originally from Aurora, Ill.

Grabavoy, who featured 15 times for the Fire Premier in 2003 also played youth club soccer under current Fire assistant coach Mike Matkovich.

Schuler spent his summers as a member of the Fire Premier from 2006-2009, where he appeared 31 times and notched one goal. Schuler was a part of the 2009 squad that made a run to the United Soccer Leagues PDL Championship Game before falling 2-1 to the Ventura County Fusion.

Real Salt Lake Head Scout Andy Williams played 59 times in all competitions for the Men in Red and was a member of the 2003 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Supporters Shield Championship squad.

Former Fire defender and Fire Original C.J. Brown was drafted by the Fire in the first round of the 1998 Supplemental Draft and played his entire 13-year career for the Men in Red. Brown holds the club record for most MLS regular season appearances (296), MLS Cup playoff appearances (35) and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup appearances (25) and joins Chris Armas and Zach Thornton as the only three players to be part of all six of the club’s domestic titles.

During Chicago Fire Director of Player Personnel Mike Jeffries’ tenure as head coach of the Dallas Burn from 2001-2003, Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis and assistant coaches Jeff Cassar and Miles Joseph all played for the Burn under Jeffries.
 

MARCO PAPPA AWARDED MLS GOAL OF THE WEEK

Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa was awarded MLS Goal of the Week for his 89th minute “Olimpico” in the team’s 2-1 loss to Seattle on April 28. Pappa becomes the first Fire player to take the honor since Logan Pause won the award for his long-distance strike in a 4-1 loss to Toronto FC on May 8, 2010.

Read more about Pappa’s honor by clicking here
 

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 – 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
 

CHICAGO FIRE PREMIER OPEN 2012 SEASON WITH U.S. OPEN CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH

The Chicago Fire Premier open their 2012 season when they host the Croatian Eagles of the United States Adult Soccer Association at Toyota Park on Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m. CT in the first round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. If the Fire advance, they will host the second round match against USL Pro side Dayton Dutch Lions on Tuesday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

In 2011, the Fire Premier squad advanced to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup before falling 3-0 to MLS side Sporting Kansas City. Their run equaled their furthest previous tournament run in 2004 where they fell to the Rochester Rhinos 1-0.

The Fire Premier begin USL Premier Development League play on Wednesday, May 23 when they host the River City Rovers at 2:00 p.m. CT at Toyota Park.
 

MEDIA ACCREDITATION DEADLINE NEARS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE MEXICAN NATIONAL TEAM’S 2012 U.S. TOUR

Media planning to cover the remaining three games of the  Mexican National Team’s 2012 U.S. Tour, including the Mexico vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina match on May 31 at Soldier Field can apply now for media credentials using the online form by clicking HERE.

As Mexico is preparing for World Cup Qualifiers, all players are expected to be available for the final three tour games.

Date                 Opponent                       Venue                             City                                 Time (CT)

May 27          Wales                              MetLife Stadium          East Rutherford, N.J.       2 p.m.  

May 31          Bosnia-Herzegovina     Soldier Field                Chicago, Ill.                       8 p.m.

June 3          Brazil                                Cowboys Stadium       Arlington, Texas               2 p.m.
 

To apply for media accreditation for any of these games, please click HERE.

The deadline to submit a credential application for all three games is Monday, May 21 at 5 p.m. ET. No credential applications will be accepted after the deadline.

Please note the following when applying for credentials:

  • No credential applications will be accepted after the deadline.
  • Credentials per organization will be limited.
  • Field access is available for photographers and videographers only. No radio stations or TV talent will receive field access.
  • Photo agencies must be working on assignment from a specific news outlet.
  • All other approved media will have access to the press box and post-match media work areas, such as the news conference and mixed zone.
  • Media who are approved for credentials should not wear apparel supporting any of the competing countries.

For further media credential information, please contact Susan Marschall at SUM Communications, +1-212-450-1292 or Susan.Marschall@SUMworld.com.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TO HOST ART OF FUTBOL GALLERY SHOWING

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Arte y Vida Chicago will showcase work from Chicagoland artists who submitted original works that celebrate love and passion for soccer and community at the second annual Art of Futbol exhibition at the Society Art Gallery (2140 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612) on Wednesday, May 16 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. CT.

Hosted by the Chicago Fire Foundation, the club has put out a call to Chicagoland artists looking for original works that celebrate the game of soccer and everything it represents. Each individual views soccer in a different perspective and artists are asked to submit original works displayed through various mediums including paint, pencil, photography, poetry and digital.

The exhibition will also feature an original modern art piece by Chicago Fire Defender Dan Gargan, who minored in studio art while attending Georgetown University.

Artists interested in creating and submitting original artwork can email artoffutbol@chicago-fire.com. Tickets to the event, which benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation, can be purchased 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 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

Fire road victory provides momentum – Kevin Baxter – Chicago Tribune – May 5, 2012 - http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0506-fire-chicago--20120506,0,1898133.story

Pappa nets game-winner as Fire defeat Chivas USA – Associated Press – May 4, 2012 - http://www.csnchicago.com/soccer-chicago-fire/news/Pappa-nets-game-winner-as-Fire-defeat-Ch?blockID=702520&feedID=5674

Pappa “Olimpico” voted AT&T Goal of the Week – Greg Lalas – MLSsoccer.com – May 4, 2012 - http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/05/04/pappa-olimpico-voted-att-goal-week

Summit soccer alum Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire films Quaker Oats commercial – Cincinnati.com – April 30, 2012 - http://cincinnati.com/blogs/preps/2012/04/30/summit-soccer-alum-austin-berry-of-the-chicago-fire-films-quaker-oats-commerical/

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

Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s Game at Chivas USA – May 4, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/05/five-things-you-should-know-about-fridays-game-chivas-usa

Pappa readies for White Sox First Pitch with a look at past Soccer exploits – May 1, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/05/pappa-readies-white-sox-first-pitch-look-past-soccer-exploits

All-In Podcast with Jalil Anibaba and Mark Spooner – May 2, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/2012/podcast/jalil-anibaba