Fire Head To Kansas City For MLS Rivalry Week Clash

A look at the week ahead for the Men In Red as they prepare to take on Kansas City

FIRE FACE SPORTING KANSAS CITY FOR SPORTING PARK SEASON OPENER
The Chicago Fire (0-2-0; 0 points) head to Kansas City for a Rivalry Week clash against Sporting Kansas City (1-1-0; 3 points) at Sporting Park this Saturday, March 16 at 2:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/La Ley 107.9 FM).
 
Saturday's match is the first of three meetings this season between the Fire and Sporting KC. The Fire host the second and third legs of the series at Toyota Park July 7 (ESPN) and Aug. 23 (NBC Sports Network).
 
The Men in Red opened their home schedule with a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Toyota Park Saturday evening. A 62nd minute goal by Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson was the difference as the Revolution won their first match at Toyota Park since 2006.
 
Sporting Kansas City enters the match after falling 2-1 to Toronto FC Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: March 11 – March 18
 
Monday, March 11:             Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^
Tuesday, March 12:            Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^             
Wednesday, March 13:       Off
Thursday, March 14:           Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^
Friday, March 15:                Travel to Kansas City
                                            Training at Swope Park in Kansas City 4:30 p.m. CT*^
Saturday, March 16:            Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City – Sporting Park – 2:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/107.9 La Ley FM)
Sunday, March 17:              Return to Chicago   
Monday, March 18:             Off
 
*Training will take place on the Toyota Park Training Field unless otherwise noted     
^Training is open to the media. Fire players and coaches will be made available immediately following training. Times are subject to change. Please contact Brendan Hannan or Eunice Kim for media requests.
 
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Sporting Kansas City
 

  • The Fire hold a 23-11-9 overall record against Sporting Kansas City, including an 8-8-1 record in matches played on the road
     
  • The Men in Red were 2-1-0 in the 2012 series. Sebastian Grazzini and Dominic Oduro found the back of the net as the Fire rallied to top Sporting KC 2-1 at Toyota Park May 12. Marco Pappa tallied his fifth goal of the campaign and Sean Johnson recorded five saves while facing 27 shots as the Fire emerged with a 1-0 victory June 29 in Kansas City. In the return leg to Kansas City, the Fire saw their four-game win streak come to an end at the hands of a Graham Zusi brace as Sporting prevailed 2-0 Sept. 28.
     
  • In 2012 Sporting Kansas City and the Fire defenses allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. Led by 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting allowed a league-best 27 goals. The Fire and MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry only allowed 41 goals during the 2012 campaign.
     
  • Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini will face his brother-in-law on Saturday in Sporting defender Josh Gardner, who is married to the Fire midfielder’s sister Michelle.
     
  • When MLS launched in 1996, current Fire head coach Frank Klopas was allocated to the Kansas City Wiz 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 have never lost the first three matches of a season. In 2000, the Fire dropped their first two matches before a 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew in the third match gave the Fire their first victory of the season. In 2000, the Fire went on to tally a 17-9-6 record with 57 points.
     
  • Sporting Kansas City is 12-2-3 in home openers. One of their two losses came at the hands of the Men in Red, a 3-0 Fire victory March 27, 1999 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Fire were also on hand for the grand opening of Sporting Park as the two squads played to a 0-0 draw June 9, 2011.  
     
  • Saturday’s match against the Revolution marked the 150th competitive match in a Fire shirt for Ghanaian midfielder Patrick Nyarko
     
  • An appearance in Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City will mark Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere’s 100th career MLS match. Lindpere has also started 91 consecutive MLS regular season games.

 
CONCACAF TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE AT SOLDIER FIELD ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13
CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, will hold a press conference at Soldier Field’s United Club on Wednesday, March 13 at 10:30 a.m. CT to announce the 2013 Gold Cup groups and schedule.
 
CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb will be joined by CONCACAF General Secretary Enrique Sanz, as well as representatives of the City of Chicago and the 12 participating Gold Cup Nations, including U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Jose Manuel de la Torre, head coach of the Mexican National Team.
 
CHICAGO FIRE EDGED BY NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 1-0 ON OPENING NIGHT AT TOYOTA PARK
The Chicago Fire fell to the New England Revolution 1-0 at Toyota Park Saturday evening. A 62nd minute goal from Revolution forward Jerry Bengtson was the difference as the Revolution won their first MLS Regular Season match at Toyota Park since July 8, 2006.
 
The Fire came out charged from the early going and nearly went ahead in the third minute. Steven Kinney worked his way up the right side before a quick combination with Chris Rolfe pushed the fourth-year defender into the box. Kinney quickly cut back for Sherjill MacDonald who pushed his first-time effort over the bar.
 
The Fire would get their best chance of the half in the 31st minute as Rolfe intercepted a pass out of the back at midfield before laying off for Dilly Duka. The winger took the space inside before unleashing a right-footed rocket that Reis got a touch to sending the ball clanging off the crossbar.  
 
The visitors broke through and found the lone goal of the match in the 62nd minute. Kelyn Rowe lofted a cross into the Fire penalty box and found Jerry Bengston, and the Honduran international was able to head the ball just out of Johnson’s reach.  
 
With five minutes of stoppage time added to the match, the Fire continued to press for the equalizer. In the waning moments of the match, Lindpere won the ball and played it through to Santos on the left flank. Santos let loose a low drive but Reis was able dive onto the ball to preserve the score line.

CHICAGO FIRE SEASON AND INDIVIDUAL TICKETS ON SALE
Individual single game tickets for the club’s 16th MLS season at Toyota Park are now on sale via Ticketmaster.
One of the most affordable live events in the Chicagoland area, single game ticket prices start as low as $20 and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
Season Tickets are also available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.
 
FIRE IN THE NEWS
 
Chicago Fire invest more in staff, fans - Danny Ecker - Crain’s Chicago Business - March 8, 2013
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130308/BLOGS04/130309807/chicag...
 
Fire midfielder King a true homegrown player - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - March 8, 2013
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/soccer/ct-spt-0309-fire-chicago--20...
 
Johnson could be go-to goalie in Klinsmann’s Gold Cup plan - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - March 5, 2013
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/18659158-626/johnson-could-be...
 
Snow shifts Fire’s preparation for home opener - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - March 5, 2013
http://dailyherald.com/article/20130305/sports/703059701/
 
La nueva apuesta del Chicago Fire - Jose Luis Sanchez Pando – Hoy - March 8, 2013
http://www.vivelohoy.com/deportes/8332400/la-nueva-apuesta-del-chicago-fire
 
Chicago Fire's Frank Klopas on Jeff Larentowicz wearing armband: "A natural leader" - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - March 7, 2013
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2013/03/07/chicago-fires-frank-klo...
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
 
Fire rue missed opportunities in home opening loss to New England – March 9, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/fire-rue-missed-opportunities-h...
 
Gameday Q&A: Seven questions with Patrick Nyarko ahead of Revolution game – March 9 , 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/gameday-qa-seven-questions-patr...
 
MacDonald, Santos have healthy competition up top – March 7, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/macdonald-santos-have-healthy-c...
 
Ep. #93 All-In Podcast New England Scouting Report – March 6, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/podcast