Fire to battle Sporting Kansas City under Friday night lights

Fire look to out-sport Kansas City again in rematch

Dominic Oduro

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

FIRE LOOK TO OUTSPORT KANSAS CITY

The Chicago Fire (7-5-3; 24 points) will meet Eastern Conference adversary Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park (7-5-3; 29 points) on Friday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes FM) for the second of three clashes between the two regional rivals.

The Fire head into the match following back-to-back victories over Eastern Conference foes and hold a dominant 22-10-9 all-time MLS Regular Season record against Sporting Kansas City, including an even 7-7-7 record in matches played away from home.

Sporting KC enters the match after dropping a 4-0 decision to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Sporting KC will play host to the Dayton Dutch Lions in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match on Tuesday, June 26.
 

CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: June 25 – July 2

Monday, June 25: Off
Tuesday, June 26: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, June 27: Training 11:00 a.m.*^
Thursday, June 28: Training 11:00 a.m.*^
Depart for Kansas City
Friday, June 29: Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City – LIVESTRONG Sporting Park – 7:00 p.m. CT – NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes              
Saturday, June 30: Training in Kansas City TBD
Return to Chicago
Sunday, July 1: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Monday, July 2: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Depart for Houston

*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. Sporting Kansas City

·         The Fire hold a 22-10-9 all-time MLS Regular Season record against Sporting Kansas City, including a 7-7-7 record in matches played away from home.

·         The Fire have played one previous match at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the grand opening on June 9, 2011 where the two squads played to a scoreless draw in front of a crowd of 19,925.

·         In the first matchup between the two squads this season, the Fire downed a 10-man Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at Toyota Park May 12. Sporting KC drew first blood in the 31st minute when Bobby Convey’s strike found the back of the net. The Men in Red would fight back in the second half when Sebastian Grazzini converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute. One minute later Sporting KC would lose a man as Roger Espinoza was shown a straight red card following a hard challenge on Grazzini at midfield and Dominic Oduro found the eventual game-winner in the 81st minute to give the Fire the 2-1 victory. 

·         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 strike to earn a 1-0 victory in the tournament final on September 22, 2004 at Arrowhead Stadium.

·         When MLS launched in 1996, current Fire head coach Frank Klopas was allocated to the Kansas City Wiz in 1996 going on to tally seven goals and 11 assists over 54 matches from 1996-97.

                ·         Kansas City boss Peter Vermes and Chicago manager Frank Klopas represented the United States National Team eight times together from 1988-1994. Team USA went 3-3-2 in those matches, with Klopas netting three goals, including a brace on in a 5-1 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying win over Jamaica on August 13, 1988 in Fenton, Missouri.

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

·         The Fire’s German defender Arne Friedrich made his return to the pitch on Saturday when he entered the match in the 72nd minute for Patrick Nyarko. This was Friedrich’s first appearance for the Men in Red since suffering a hamstring injury in the first half of the Fire’s May 12 match against Sporting KC. The two-time World Cup veteran missed five games while injured.

·         Defender Gonzalo Segares will miss Friday’s match after being ejected from Saturday’s match. The Costa Rican international was shown a straight red card in the 29th minute for a late tackle on Crew midfielder Tony Tchani.

·         Fire playmaker Marco Pappa is up for goal of the week for his right-footed wonder strike in the Fire’s 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew Saturday. Vote for Pappa’s goal here: http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/06/25/vote-now-att-goal-week-week-16

CHICAGO FIRE DEFENDER ARNE FRIEDRICH TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH AT CHICAGO CUBS GAME TUESDAY NIGHT

Chicago Fire defender Arne Friedrich will throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch at the Chicago Cubs vs. New York Mets game at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, June 26 at Wrigley Field at 7:05 p.m. CT. Friedrich will then join teammates Dan Gargan and Dominic Oduro and lead fans during the traditional 7th inning stretch's "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

The game will be broadcast live on WCIU “The U”, channel 26 in Chicago.
 

FIRE OUTLAST COLUMBUS CREW FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE WIN

The Chicago Fire received first half strikes from Marco Pappa and Dominic Oduro before a red card ejection to Gonzalo Segares forced the team to battle out a gutsy 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew Saturday night at Toyota Park.

For the second match in a row the Fire tallied inside the first five minutes when Marco Pappa intercepted an errant pass from Crew midfielder Tony Tchani near the center circle. The Guatemalan international went unchallenged through midfield before unleashing a rocketing 30-yard blast past Andy Gruenebaum and into the top right corner to give the Fire a 1-0 lead in the 2nd minute.

Oduro would breakthrough in the 26th minute as Crew defender Sebastian Miranda headed a ball into the path of Grazzini. The Argentine playmaker strolled towards goal before slotting Oduro through and this time he made no mistake, sliding his effort under Gruenebaum to take the score to 2-0.

Just when it looked like the Fire had put a dominant mark on the match, defender Gonzalo Segares intercepted a pass from Meram out of midfield and followed the ball before making a late tackle on Tchani. Without hesitation, referee Armando Villareal went to his back pocket to show the Fire left back a straight red card, taking the Fire down to 10 men in the 29th minute.

The visitors would pull one back as Eddie Gaven played a quick pass to Chris Birchall on the right. The Trinidad & Tobago international played the bal square to Tchani into the box where he slid his effort under Johnson in the 36th minute.

The home side did well to kill the game through the waning moments with the last chance for the Crew coming in the 85th minute. Second half substitute Ethan Finlay sent in a quick cross which found Tchani but the midfielder could only get a slight touch to the ball which looped straight to Johnson to give the Fire a hard-fought 2-1 victory.

MEDIA CREDENTIAL APPLICATION NOW AVAILABLE FOR 2012 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME

Media planning to cover the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game may now apply for credentials online by CLICKING HERE

Without exception, credential applications must be received by Monday, July 9 at 4 p.m. CT.  A limited number of parking passes are available on a first come, first served basis for media members who complete their applications early. 

MLS All-Stadium credentials, team season credentials, and credentials from previous MLS events will not be recognized for any of the media events surrounding the MLS All-Star Game. 

The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be held at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., on July 25 at 7:30 p.m. CT.  The 2012 MLS All-Stars will take on current European champions, Chelsea FC in a rematch of the 2006 event when the MLS All-Star team, led by Peter Nowak, defeated Chelsea FC 1-0 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. MLS and Philadelphia Union will host five days of festivities, culminating in the kickoff of MLS’ best against the best team in Europe.

Questions about the application process may be submitted to the All-Star Game accreditation officer Sarah Lerner, Sarah.Lerner@MLSsoccer.com.
 

FAN VOTING NOW OPEN FOR 2012 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME

Voting for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game against UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea Football Club on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. has now begun. Voting is available at www.MLSsoccer.com and via text message.

The Men in Red are represented on the fan ballot by goalkeeper Sean Johnson, defender Gonzalo Segares, midfielders Sebastian Grazzini, Marco Pappa and Pavel Pardo, and forward Dominic Oduro.

Pappa is the only Fire player on this year’s ballot with previous All-Star game experience, having represented the Fire in 2010 when the MLS All-Stars hosted Manchester United at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Pappa started and played the entire first half as the MLS All-Stars fell 5-2 in front of a record crowd of 70,728 fans.

A panel of media members nominated a total of 114 players, the top six per team, to the fan ballot. Fans can vote by clicking here. Voting is also available via text message by sending a players first and last name to 22442.

The players with the highest combined votes from these three voting methods will become the first 11 All-Stars – known as the All-Star First XI. The player who receives the most text votes by 4 p.m. CT on Monday, July 2 will automatically earn a spot among the All-Star First XI.

All-Star Head Coach Ben Olsen of D.C. United will choose the gameday roster and the starting lineup against Chelsea FC on July 25. The first marquee MLS event ever to be held at PPL Park in Chester, Penn., will be broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 7:30 p.m. CT.

A total of 32 All-Stars are named each year, per the collective bargaining agreement. Media, fans, players, the All-Star coach and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all contribute in the All-Star selection process.

The 32 players named 2012 AT&T MLS All-Stars will be selected in four phases:

1)    Ballot creation: A select media panel determined the field of players – six players per team – who are most deserving of consideration for this year’s All-Star Game. Those 114 players are eligible for fan voting.

2)    Fan voting: Through July 2 at 4 p.m. CT, fans will select the “First XI” All-Stars. Fans can vote via any of three digital platforms:

a.    At MLSsoccer.com: Vote for your starting lineup of 11 players, beginning June 8.

b.    Via text message (SMS): Text an MLS player’s first and last name to 22442.

§ Each vote will count equally with those submitted online in determining the First XI.

§ The player who receives the most text votes will automatically earn a spot among the First XI.

§ Message and data rates may apply.

c.    Twitter: Occurred June 21-22

The First XI will be announced on Sunday, July 8, on ESPN during halftime of the Chicago Fire-LA Galaxy  game that begins at 2 p.m. CT.

3)    Team selection: The MLS All-Star head coach will select the gameday roster from the pool of eligible players, consisting of the First XI as determined by the fans, MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s two selections and players who received votes from at least two players.

The Commissioner selections and gameday roster will be announced on Sunday, July 15 on ESPN during halftime of the New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC game that begins at 3 p.m. CT.

4)    Player selections: MLS players will determine the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the CBA (known as the “inactive roster”).

The final list of 32 All-Stars (4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders and 7 forwards) will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on July 25.
 

CHICAGO FIRE ACADEMY SQUADS ENTER KICKOFF U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYOFFS MONDAY NIGHT

The Chicago Fire U-16 and U-18 Academy squads kick off the 2011/12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs this week in Frisco, Texas.

The U-18’s begin play Monday night when they take on the Concorde Fire at 8:30pm CT. The U-16 Academy takes their playoff bow Tuesday afternoon against the Clearwater Chargers (FL) at 4:30pm CT.

The U-18 Academy will round out group play with matches against Albertson SC of New York (8:30pm CT June 26) and Solar Chelsea SC of Texas (11:00am CT June 28) while the U-16s will face Seattle Sounders FC (6:30pm CT June 27) and Real Salt Lake AZ (9:00am CT June 29). Live updates from all six matches will be available via @ChiFireMatch on Twitter.

The top team from each of the eight playoff groups in both age divisions will advance to Development Academy Finals Week from July 16-23 in Houston, Texas.
 

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 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 former Chicago Fire PDL defender Eric Lichaj, a native of Downers Grove, Ill. 
 

FIRE IN THE NEWS

Rolfe back at home in Fire's 3-1 win over Red Bulls - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - June 17, 2012

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/ct-spt-0618-fire-chicago--20120618,0,3508951.story

Marco Pappa, Dominic Oduro score in Fire's 2-1 victory vs. Crew - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - June 23, 2012 http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/13371613-626/marco-pappa-dominic-oduro-score-in-fires-2-1-victory-vs-crew.html

Big crowd savors Chicago Fire's best game of season - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - June 17, 2012

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120617/sports/706179831/

Sean Johnson bounces back from El Salvador game - Doug Roberson - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - June 22, 2012

http://www.ajc.com/sports/sean-johnson-bounces-back-1462899.html

SBI MLS Team of the Week: Chicago Fire - Avi Creditor - SoccerbyIves.net - June 18, 2012

http://www.soccerbyives.net/soccer_by_ives/2012/06/sbi-mls-team-of-the-week-chicago-fire.html

Fire’s Rolfe eager to let good times roll against Columbus - Anthony Zilis - MLSsocer.com - June 22, 2012

http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/06/22/fires-rolfe-eager-let-good-times-roll-against-columbus

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

All-In Podcast with Larry Sunderland – June 20, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/06/all-podcast-larry-sunderland

Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s Game vs. Columbus – June 23, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/06/23/five-things-you-should-know-about-saturdays-game-vs-columbus

With a clear goal denied, Oduro supports the implementation of goal line technology – June 21, 2012

http://www.chicago-fire.com/blog/post/2012/06/21/clear-goal-denied-oduro-supports-implementation-goal-line-technology