GAME NOTES: Fire open up Carolina Challenge Cup Saturday vs. Houston

Who's available and other tidbits ahead of Saturday's Challenge Cup opener vs. Dynamo

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Saturday’s Carolina Challenge Cup opener vs. Houston marks the beginning of home stretch of the team’s 2013 preseason campaign. Some things you should know heading into Saturday’s match (LIVE at 4pm CT on Chicago-Fire.com).

* Saturday afternoon’s game serves as a rematch of the Fire’s 2-1 loss to the Dynamo in the Knockout Round of the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs last October.

* The Fire went 1-1-2 vs. the Dynamo in four competitive matches in 2012.

* Regular rules are in place except for substitutions (which are unlimited). Though they have 29 players in camp, the team will dress 22 (20 field players and 2 goalkeepers).

READ: Charleston Trialist List

 

WATCH: Fire 3, Dynamo 1 (9/2/2012)

 

 

* The Fire will also play a reserve game Sunday afternoon vs. Coastal Carolina University. Expect those that don’t dress Saturday night to play a majority of the minutes in that match.

* Injured during the last phase of preseason camp in Ventura, Calif., both forward Maicon Santos and defender Hunter Jumper trained in full this week and are available for selection on Saturday afternoon.

* In fact, all 29 players in Fire camp are available for selection in Saturday’s Challenge Cup opener.

* With 24 players currently signed, Saturday’s first team game and Sunday’s reserve match will prove important to the technical staff’s selections for the remaining roster spots.

* Frank Klopas said this week, “I think we have a couple spots open and we’re going to look to add another player but the rest of the group, I think with some of the guys that are here, they’re contending to be on our team.”

* The Fire manager also indicated the team wouldn’t just fill out his roster before Opening Day just as an exercise: “We’re pretty close to where we want to be at this moment. If there are some open spots, we’re not going to just sign guys if we don’t feel they’re going to fit within our team right now.” 

* The Fire are 2-2-1 (2011-2012) all-time at the Carolina Challenge Cup while the Dynamo are 4-0-2, winning the tournament in both 2006 and 2007.

* The Fire enter Saturday’s game with a 2-1-1 record so far this preseason...

* Previous Results: 2-0 win vs. Florida Gulf Coast (Jan. 27), 2-1 L vs. Columbus Crew (Jan. 30), 1-1 draw vs. Chivas USA (Feb. 5), 1-0 win vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Feb. 9).

* Fire Goal Scorers: Yazid Atouba (2), Daniel Paladini, Jeff Larentowicz

* The Dynamo enter Saturday’s game with a 4-2-1 record so far this preseason…

* Previous Results: 2-2 draw vs. Southern Methodist (Feb. 9), 6-1 win vs. Houston Baptist University (Feb. 6), 2-1 loss vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (Feb. 2), 1-0 win vs. Colorado Rapids (Jan. 31), 2-0 loss vs. San Jose Earthquakes (Jan. 29), 3-0 win vs. Houston Baptist University (Jan. 26), 3-0 win vs. Dynamo Academy (Jan. 24).

* Dynamo Goal Scorers: Cam Weaver (5), Giles Barnes (2), Jermaine Taylor, Warren Creavalle, Calum Elliot, Bobby Boswell, Brian Ownby, Alex Dixon, Anthony Arena, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brian Ching

* The two teams will meet three times this season: April 14 and July 27 at Houston and September 1 in Chicago.