Fire To Welcome Toronto FC to Toyota Park

A look at the week ahead as the Men In Red prepare to take on Toronto FC on Saturday

Logan Pause

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

FIRE HOST EASTERN CONFERENCE FOES TORONTO FC
The Chicago Fire (9-7-5, 32 points) welcome Toronto FC (5-12-4, 19 points) to Toyota Park on Saturday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes). The Men in Red are 6-2-2 in matches played in the Windy City this season.
 
The Fire return home after earning a point against the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes in a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium July 28.
 
Saturday’s game marks the second of three meetings between the two squads this season. The Fire emerged victorious on April 21 at BMO Field where Dominic Oduro scored the fastest goal in Fire history in just the 25th second of the match. Oduro’s strike combined with goals from Gonzalo Segares and Patrick Nyarko as the Fire topped the hosts 3-2. The Fire will travel to BMO Field on Wednesday, September 12 to close out the series.
 
Toronto FC most recently dropped their last game 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, July 28. They will host Salvadoran side CD Aguila in CONCACAF Champions League action on Wednesday, August 1 prior to Saturday’s match.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: July 30 – August 6
 
Monday, July 30: Off
Tuesday, July 31: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Wednesday, August 1: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Thursday, August 2: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Friday, August 3: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Saturday, August 4: Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC – Toyota Park – 7:30 p.m. CT – NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes          
Sunday, August 5: Practice in the Community – Benito Juarez Community Academy (1450-1510 W. Cermak) – 11:00 a.m. CT                       
Monday, August 6: 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 for media requests.
 
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Toronto FC
 

  • The Fire hold a 5-3-2 all-time regular season advantage over Toronto FC. The Fire have never lost to TFC at home with a 2-0-3 record in matches played at Toyota Park.
  • This match comes almost exactly one year after the two clubs swapped defenders in a trade that saw six-year Fire veteran Dasan Robinson go to Toronto FC in exchange for defender Dan Gargan on July 28, 2011.
  • Since joining the Men in Red, Gargan has been a defensive stalwart for the club, starting all nine matches in which he appeared in 2011. Thus far in the 2012 campaign, Gargan has started in 17 of the 19 games in which he has appeared, logging 1538 minutes.
  • Sean Johnson notched a career-high 10 saves on Saturday as he kept the Earthquakes defense at bay for 98 minutes. Johnson broke his previous career high of eight saves which he set June 23 in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew.
  • With his goal Saturday, Chris Rolfe tallied his second goal of the season. Rolfe now has 38 career goals for the Men in Red.
  • Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald made his Fire debut when he entered the match for Dominic Oduro in the 64th minute.

NEW URUGUAYAN DESIGNATED PLAYER ALVARO FERNANDEZ TO TRAIN FOR FIRST TIME IN CHICAGO
New Chicago Fire midfielder and Designated Player Alvaro Fernandez will train with the Fire for the first time on Tuesday, July 31, since joining the team on a trade from Seattle Sounders FC on Friday, July 27. Fernandez will be available to Fire head coach Frank Klopas on Saturday, August 4 when the Fire host Toronto FC at Toyota Park at 7:30 p.m. CT. Fernandez will be available to media via translator following Tuesday’s training which begins at 9:30 a.m. CT and runs approximately until 11:00 a.m. CT.
 
Hailing from Soriano, Uruguay, Fernandez made his professional debut with Uruguayan side Montevideo Wanderers in 2006 where he appeared in 43 games over three seasons. Fernandez also had stints with clubs in Mexico and Chile before joining Seattle Sounders FC in July 2010. In his three seasons with the Sounders, Fernandez has appeared in 80 matches across all competition, scoring 16 goals and adding 10 assists, and helped the Rave Green win the 2010 and 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies.
 
Fernandez, 26, has been capped 11 times for Uruguay, including four appearances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
 
MEN IN RED BOLSTER SQUAD FOR SECOND HALF RUN
The Men in Red continued to make a push for the MLS Playoffs and strengthened the squad with the addition of Dutch striker and Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald.
 
MacDonald made his Fire debut against the San Jose Earthquakes when he entered the match in the 64th minute. MacDonald joins the Fire from Belgian Pro League Side Beerschot AC, where he tallied 15 goals in 82 matches from 2009-2012. Over the course of his 10-year career in Belgium, the Netherland and England, MacDonald tallied 47 goals in 217 appearances.
 
MacDonald began his career in the storied Ajax youth program in 2000. He made his professional debut in 2002 with R.S.C. Anderlecht of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League where he appeared in 26 matches and recorded one goal. While under contract with Anderlecht, MacDonald was loaned to Dutch second division side Heracles Almelo where he made 17 appearances and scored four goals from 2004-05. He also spent time with Hamburger SV II, the second team of German Bundesliga side Hamburger SV, where he made 22 appearances and scored four goals during the 2005-06 season.
 
In 2006 MacDonald moved to AGOVV Apeldoorn of the Ereste Divisie, the Dutch second division, where he appeared in 24 matches and scored 11 goals.
 
In January 2007, MacDonald joined English side West Bromwich Albion on loan and made his club debut January 31, 2007, going on to appear in 18 matches. In January 2008 his loan was made permanent when he signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Albion. He appeared in five matches before joining Hereford United on loan in 2008, where he scored twice in his debut. In seven matches with Hereford United, MacDonald notched six goals.
 
MacDonald also spent time on loan with Belgian Jupiler Pro League side K.S.V. Roeselare where he made 16 appearances and tallied 6 goals in 2009.
 
MacDonald, 27, has been capped for the Netherlands at the U-21 level, making his debut against England in a 1-0 loss in November 2006.
 
SEAN JOHNSON RECORDS CAREER-HIGH 10 SAVES
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson had a career high game on Saturday against the Earthquakes, notching 10 saves to keep the most potent offense in MLS at bay for 90+ minutes.
 
With a number of highlight reel worthy saves, Johnson broke his previous career high of eight saves which he set June 23 in a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew.
 
Johnson’s performance on Saturday was a continuance of the stellar form he has shown this season. In 18 games, Johnson holds a 8-6-4 record, making 64 saves and recording four shutouts.
 
FIRE EARN ROAD POINT AGAINST LEAGUE-LEADING SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES IN 1-1 DRAW
The Chicago Fire, propelled by Chris Rolfe’s 37th minute goal and Sean Johnson’s 10 saves, had victory snatched away when Steven Lenhart’s 98th minute shot pierced the back of the net as the Fire tied the MLS-leading San Jose Earthquakes 1-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium Saturday night.
 
A back-and-forth pace made for plenty of opportunities on both sides of the ball. In what would be the first of five saves in the first half for Sean Johnson, Simon Dawkins found the ball at his feet in the 20th minute. The ‘Quakes midfielder lashed a shot on goal forcing Johnson to fully extend to push the ball wide of the far post.
 
The Fire would find the back of the net on a piece of pure class from Rolfe in the 37th minute. Patrick Nyarko collected the ball on the right side before cutting inside and feeding Rolfe just inside the area. Rolfe sent a measured, looping side-footed shot over the outstretched arms of Busch and into the goal to give the Fire a 1-0 advantage. Rolfe, the Fire’s second all-time leading scorer (38) tallied his second goal since returning to the Fire April 16.
 
Johnson continued his masterful performance into the second half. In the 59th minute, with an Alan Gordon shot destined for goal and the whole of Buck Shaw on its feet in celebration, Johnson extended his arm and knocked the ball clear of goal to preserve the 1-0 lead.
 
With five minutes of stoppage time added, the match turned chippy. Alan Gordon saw his second yellow of the game in the 93rd minute on a studs up challenge on Dan Gargan in the Fire’s penalty area. Reduced to 10-men, the ‘Quakes still committed numbers forward in search of the equalizer deep into added time.
 
The home side would eventually level the match when Wondolowski played a ball off his chest for Lenhart in the middle of the field. The wild-haired forward crushed a volleyed shot that slid past Johnson and into goal at the near post leaving the match knotted at 1-1 on 98 minutes.
 
VOTE FOR THE TOP 15 PLAYERS IN FIRE HISTORY THROUGH AUGUST 1
Leading up to the Chicago Fire’s 15th Anniversary match to be held Wednesday, October 3 against the Philadelphia Union, the club is polling fans on the top 15 players in Fire history. Voting can be done once a day at www.chicago-fire.com/fire15players through 11:59pm CT on Wednesday, August 1. Fan ballots will be tabulated along with votes from player, media and technical staff.

See below the 30 nominees by position:

Goalkeepers (2): Jon Busch, Zach Thornton
Defenders (7):  Carlos Bocanegra, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Ivan Guerrero, Lubos Kubik, Gonzalo Segares, Bakary Soumare
Midfielders (11): Chris Armas, DaMarcus Beasley, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Diego Gutierrez, Dema Kovalenko, Justin Mapp, Jesse Marsch, Peter Nowak, Patrick Nyarko, Marco Pappa, Logan Pause
Forwards (10): Frank Klopas, Roman Kosecki, Brian McBride, Jerzy Podbrozny, Damani Ralph, Ante Razov, Chris Rolfe, Hristo Stoitchkov,  Josh Wolff, Eric Wynalda
 
CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB TO HOST MEXICAN CHAMPIONS CLUB SANTOS LAGUNA SEPTEMBER 8 AT TOYOTA PARK
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that the Fire will welcome four-time Mexican Primera División champions, Club Santos Laguna to Toyota Park for an international friendly on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
 
Advance tickets for the first meeting between the Chicago Fire and Santos Laguna go on sale Wednesday, July 25 at 10:00 a.m. CT and are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visiting www.chicago-fire.com. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 2 in the Fire Season Ticket and Ten Game packages.
 
Reigning Clausura Champions Santos Laguna have captured four titles in Mexico’s Primera División, most recently defeating Monterey 3-2 on aggregate to capture the 2012 tournament. Santos Laguna has experienced success in the CONCACAF region as well. The Albiverdes placed second in the 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League. Santos Laguna were also crowned champions of the inaugural 2004 InterLiga tournament, the tournament between Mexican clubs to determine qualifying spots for the Copa Libertadores.
 
For the second consecutive year, the Fire will welcome a Mexican opponent to Toyota Park. In 2011, the Fire took on Chivas de Guadalajara in front of a crowd of more than 18,000. A 61st minute goal by Jorge Mora would prove the difference as Chivas de Guadalajara escaped with a 1-0 victory.
 
Santos Laguna’s roster currently boasts star goalkeeper and Mexican international Oswaldo Sánchez, a three-time FIFA World Cup veteran. U.S. international forward Hercules Gomez tallied five goals in 12 appearances for the Torreon side. Gomez appeared in three games for the United States Men’s National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and spent six years plying his trade in MLS with the LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards.
 
This is the second international friendly scheduled for the Fire this season. The Men in Red hosted English Premier League side Aston Villa in a match Presented by TrueCar at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21.
 
CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB TO HOST SECOND ANNUAL WHITE PARTY
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club will host the Second Annual White Party presented by Swissôtel Chicago at the MCA Warehouse (1747 W. Hubbard) on Thursday, August 23, 2012 from 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. CT.
 
This unique, stylish event provides guests with an opportunity to sip cocktails while getting to know the Fire and the Chicago Fire Foundation off the pitch. The White Party will feature a premium open bar, live DJ, hors d’oeuvres and a gift bag for each guest to top off the night. Guests are strongly encouraged to don their most stylish white attire.
 
Proceeds from the White Party will benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation. In 2011, the White Party was attended by nearly 600 urban professionals and raised more than $20,000 for the Foundation.
 
Tickets to the event, which start at $50 for a general admission ticket and $75 for a VIP ticket that includes an upgraded gift bag and access to the VIP lounge, can be purchased here.
 
Who: Chicago Fire players, staff and ticketed guests
 
What: The Chicago Fire Soccer Club’s Second Annual White Party presented by Swissôtel Chicago.
 
Where: MCA Warehouse (1747 W. Hubbard, Chicago, IL, 60686)
 
When: Thursday, August 23, 7:30 – 11:30 PM
 
For additional information, please email whiteparty@chicago-fire.com, visit Chicago-Fire.com or click here: http://chicagofirewhiteparty.eventbrite.com/.   
 
FIRE IN THE NEWS
 
Sherjill MacDonald excited to make Fire debut - Comcast SportsNet Chicago -  July 25, 2012
http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/video?PID=x_LVC0FA0JdMquZrjydP8tskYYAsrIIL
 
Dutch forward MacDonald eager for Fire debut - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - July 24, 2012
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/chi-fire-sign-dutch-forward-macdonald-20120724,0,1905134.story
 
Fire acquire Sounders midfielder Alvaro Fernandez to help with scoring - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - July 27, 2012
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/14043574-626/fire-acquires-sounders-midfielder-alvaro-fernandez-to-help-with-scoring.html
 
On Fire: Rookie Walls makes his Toyota Park debut - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - July 23, 2012
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/07/23/fire-rookie-walls-makes-unlikely-debut-vs-villans
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
 
Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s Game at San Jose – July 28, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/07/five-things-you-should-know-about-saturdays-game-san-jose
 
“Flaco” to Provide Another Attacking Option for Fire – July 27, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/07/flaco-provide-another-attacking-option-fire
 
Buck Shaw Dimensions, Quakes Home Form Will Prove Tough Test for Fire Saturday – July 27, 2012
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2012/07/buck-shaw-dimensions-quakes-home-form-will-prove-tough-test-fire-saturday