Fire Challenge Dynamo and Galaxy to Round Out Three Games in Ten Days

Fire look to take down MLS Cup finalists

Marco Pappa

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images
FIRE LOOK TO TAKE DOWN 2011 MLS CUP FINALISTS HOUSTON DYNAMO AND LOS ANGELES GALAXY TO ROUND OUT THREE GAMES IN TEN DAYS
The Chicago Fire (8-5-3; 27 points), riding a three-game winning streak, face their sixth-consecutive Eastern Conference foe when they head to Houston to take on the Dynamo (6-5-5; 23 points) at the new BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes). The Men in Red will return to Chicago to host the 2011 MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy (6-9-2, 20 points) Presented by Quaker Oats at Toyota Park Sunday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. CT (ESPN/97.5 ESPN Deportes).
 
Currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, Houston enters the match after a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, June 30. Since opening their new stadium May 12, the Dynamo have accumulated a 4-0-2 record in MLS Regular Season matches played at BBVA Compass Stadium.
 
The Fire will return home to take on the Galaxy in a match Presented by Quaker Oats. The Fire’s record at home to start the 2012 MLS season (5-1-2; 17pts.) is the best through eight matches since the Fire moved to Toyota Park in 2006 and is tied for the second best home start in club history with 2001 and 2003.
 
Sunday’s match against the Galaxy will mark the third game that the Men in Red will play in the span of ten days. Currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, the Galaxy enters the match after dropping a 4-3 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, Calif. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Galaxy will host the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, July 4.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: July 2 – July 9

Monday, July 2: Training 10:30 a.m.*^
Depart for Houston            
Tuesday, July 3: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo – BBVA Compass Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes
Wednesday, July 4: Training in Houston TBD
Return to Chicago
Thursday, July 5: Off
Friday, July 6: Training 9:30 a.m.*^ - Toyota Park Stadium Field
Saturday, July 7: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Sunday, July 8: Chicago Fire vs. Los Angeles Galaxy – Toyota Park – 2:00 p.m. CT – ESPN/97.5 ESPN Deportes
Monday, July 9: Training 9:30 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. Houston Dynamo
 
·         The Fire hold a 3-6-4 all-time MLS Regular Season record against the Houston Dynamo, including a 2-3-1 record in matches played away from home.
·         The match marks the Fire’s first game at BBVA Compass Stadium which opened May 12, 2012.
·         In the first matchup between the two squads this season, the Fire and the Dynamo drew 1-1 at Toyota Park April 15. The Dynamo opened scoring in the 24th minute when Will Bruin slotted home the game’s first goal. Three minutes later the Men in Red found the equalizer when Pavel Pardo’s free kick deflected off the back of Logan Pause, hit the underside of the crossbar and found the back of the net. The match was first halted in the 13th minute than officially called in the 66th minute due to severe weather.
·         The Fire will be hunting for their fourth consecutive win on Tuesday evening. The last time the Men in Red won four straight MLS Regular Season matches occurred June and July 2005 when the Fire defeated Real Salt Lake (6/26), D.C. United (6/29), Chivas USA (7/2) and the New England Revolution (7/9).
·         Marco Pappa’s strike in the 58th minute of Friday night’s match was the twenty-fifth of his Fire career and moved him within one goal of fourth place on the club’s all-time goal scoring list. Peter Nowak currently holds sole possession of fourth place with 26 MLS Regular Season goals.
·         The Fire’s Chris Rolfe played his first match as a starter since the 2009 Eastern Conference Final. Rolfe went the full 90 minutes for the first time since returning to the Fire in April and tallied his 19th career assist for the club on Pappa’s 58th minute strike.
·         German defender Arne Friedrich also made his return to the Fire’s Starting XI for the first time since being injured in the Fire’s game against Sporting Kansas City May 12. Friedrich started and played 79 minutes before leaving the match from minor cramping. The former German international missed five games while recuperating from a hamstring injury and made his return June 23 against the Columbus Crew when he came on as a substitute in the 79th minute.
·         Defender Gonzalo Segares will be available for selection by head coach Frank Klopas after serving a one-game suspension for a red card that he received June 23 against the Columbus Crew.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
 
·         The Fire are 15-17-4 against the Galaxy all-time and are 3-2-1 against the LA side in matches played at Toyota Park.
·         The Fire dropped both games to the Galaxy in the 2011 MLS Regular Season series. Dominic Oduro tallied his first goal in a Fire shirt but earlier strikes from Chad Barrett and Omar Gonzalez helped the Galaxy outlast the Fire 2-1 on April 17 at Toyota Park. In the return leg on July 9, Cristian Nazarit’s 62nd minute equalizer wasn’t enough to wipe out two set-piece goals from Landon Donovan and David Beckham and saw the team’s eight game unbeaten streak snapped in a 2-1 defeat at the Home Depot Center.
 
·         In his six seasons with LA, Galaxy Designated Player David Beckham has appeared in only two matches at Toyota Park. The England international entered the match in the 58th minute in the Fire’s 1-0 victory over the Galaxy on October 21, 2007. He started and went the full 90 minutes in the Fire’s 3-1 defeat of the Galaxy on September 25, 2008.  
·         The Men in Red’s current home record (5-1-2) is its best to start a season through eight matches since the Fire moved to Toyota Park in 2006, and is currently tied for the second best home start in club history with 2001 and 2003. The club’s all-time best start at home came in the inaugural 1998 season when the team went 6-2-0.
ODURO SET TO MAKE 50TH CONSECUTIVE FIRE APPERANCE
An appearance in Tuesday evening’s match will mark the 50th match Ghanaian forward Dominic Oduro has suited up for the Men in Red. Oduro has appeared in every single match since he was traded to the Fire from the Dynamo on March 23, 2011.
 
Since the trade, Oduro lead the Fire with 12 goals in 2011 to become the first player since Damani Ralph in 2004 to tally double-digit goals in an MLS campaign. For his efforts, the Ghanaian striker was named the club’s Most Valuable Player as well as Section 8 Chicago’s Supporters Player of the Year in 2011.
 
Oduro is currently tied with Marco Pappa for the team lead with five goals. Both Oduro and Pappa have notched three game-winners in 2012.
 
FIRE EXPOSE SPORTING KANSAS CITY 1-0
The Chicago Fire utilized Marco Pappa’s counter-attack goal in the 58th minute and a stand-up performance from Sean Johnson to defeat Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Friday night in Kansas City, Kan. The smash and grab performance gave the Fire its third straight win against an Eastern Conference opponent.
 
Battling near 100 degree temperatures both teams looked for possession early. Sporting Kansas City began to apply pressure after the initial 10 minutes and found an early opportunity in the 14th minute. A deflected Graham Zusi shot fell to the feet of Kei Kamara and the Sierra Leon striker sent his effort toward goal, but Sean Johnson angled to get his hand on the ball to parry it away and keep the score level.
 
After enduring relentless pressure from the home side the Men in Red found the opportunity to pounce on the counter at the start of the second half. Pinned after a Sporting Kansas City free kick, Dan Gargan intercepted a Kamara cross and played Pappa into space in the middle of the park. Pappa carried the ball forward before playing an onrushing Chris Rolfe on the left side of the box. Rolfe calmly took a touch before finding Pappa wide open in the middle of the box. The Guatemalan international lashed the ball past Nielsen and into the back of the net to give the Fire a 1-0 advantage on 58 minutes.
 
Sporting Kansas City nearly found the equalizer in the 76th minute when Sporting defender Seth Sinovic drifted into the attacking third before sending a lofted cross to Kamara inside the penalty area. The Sporting forward powered his headed effort on goal only to see a diving Sean Johnson collect the effort to keep the Fire on top.
 
Frank Klopas made a number of substitutions in an effort to kill the game. Alex, playing in his first match in a Fire top did well to evade Sporting defenders and showed his skill-set setting up a Rolfe shot in the 91st minute. In the end, the Fire’s defense held as Johnson tallied five saves and earned his second shutout of the season.  

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.
 
CHICAGO FIRE U-16s ADVANCE TO FINALS WEEK
The Chicago Fire U-16 Academy team posted a perfect 3-0-0 record in the 2011/12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Frisco, Texas to advance to the U.S.S.D.A. Finals July 16-23 in Houston.
 
The U-16’s defeated the Clearwater Chargers (FL) 4-2, Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 and Real Salt Lake Arizona 2-1 to win Group 4.
 
The U-18’s went 1-0-2, dropping a 1-2 decision to the Concorde Fire (GA), defeating Albertson SC (NY) 2-1, and dropping their final match 3-1 to Solar Chelsea SC (TX). The U-18’s finish the season with an overall record of 19-4-3. They outscored their opponents 71 to 22, and recorded a total of 13 shutouts.
 
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
 
Fire exercise Grazzini's option - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - June 28, 2012
 
Fire exercising Grazzini's option, but mystery of his status isn't over - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - June 28, 2012
 
Young Fire center backs learn plenty in difficult spell - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com  - June 26, 2012
 
Fire hang on for 1-0 victory over Sporting KC - Dave Skretta - The Associated Press - June 29, 2012
 
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
 
Academy U-16s Advance to National Finals with 2-1 Victory Friday Morning over Real Salt Lake-AZ – June 29, 2012
 
Five Things You Should Know About Friday's Game at Sporting KC – June 29, 2012
 
Hunter and Daniel Take Time Out for Fire Kids Club – June 27, 2012