Fire Welcome Chivas USA to Toyota Park

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

Patrick Nyarko

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

FIRE SEARCH FOR FIRST WIN OF SEASON AGAINST CHIVAS USA
The Chicago Fire (0-2-1; 1 point) welcome Chivas USA (1-1-1; 4 points) to Toyota Park this Sunday, March 24 at 4:00 p.m. CT (My50/UniMas/La Ley 107.9).
 
Sunday afternoon’s match is the only meeting between the two squads this season. The Men in Red won the only match of the 2012 series. After falling behind to a Juan Pablo Angel penalty kick in the 23rd minute, the Fire used a 25th minute Austin Berry equalizer and a late 93rd minute stoppage time strike from Marco Pappa to snatch the full three points over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center May 4.
 
The Men in Red earned their first point of the season after a hard fought 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City Saturday March 16.
 
The Fire will be without the services of goalkeeper Sean Johnson (USA) and midfielder Joel Lindpere (Estonia) who are away on international duty. Johnson has been selected by U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on Friday, March 22 at 9:00 p.m. CT (ESPN/UniMas) and against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico on Tuesday, March 26 at 9:30 p.m. CT (ESPN/Univision). Lindpere has been selected by Estonian Men’s National Team manager Tarmo Rüütli to represent his country in its upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against The Netherlands March 22 at Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands and against Andorra March 26 at A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia.
 
Chivas USA enters the match after a 1-1 SuperClasico draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy. After Joaquin Velázquez was ejected in the 40th minute, Carlos Alvarez found the equalizing goal in the 89th minute to steal a point from the defending champions.
 
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: March 18 – March 25
 
Monday, March 18:             Off
Tuesday, March 19:            Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^             
Wednesday, March 20:       Training 10:00 a.m. CT^ - Toyota Park Stadium Field
Thursday, March 21:           Off
Friday, March 22:                Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^
Saturday, March 23:            Training 10:00 a.m. CT*^
Sunday, March 24:              Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA – Toyota Park – 4:00 p.m. CT (My50 Chicago/UniMas/La Ley 107.9)   
Monday, March 25:             Off
 
*Training will take place on the Toyota Park Training Field unless otherwise noted     
^Times are approximate and subject to change. Fire players and coaches will be made available following training. Please contact the Chicago Fire Communications Department for updated times and locations. Please contact Brendan Hannan or Eunice Kim for media requests.
 
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Chivas USA
 

  • The Fire hold a 8-4-3 overall record against Chivas USA, including an 4-2-1 record in matches played at home
  • The Men in Red are 7-5-3 all-time in their second home match of the season
  • With Johnson on international duty, Italian ‘keeper Paolo Tornaghi is likely to deputize in his stead. Tornaghi started the first three matches of 2012 for the Men in Red, went 1-1-1 and posted a shutout March 24 against the Philadelphia Union.
  • Only the third Fire rookie to score in his debut, Berry earned his first start May 4, 2012 against Chivas USA and went on the play every minute of the remainder of the season en route to 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year honors, garnering more than 50 percent of club and media votes.
  • Three members of the Fire have previous experience with Chivas USA. In 2008, Daniel Paladini played eight games for Chivas USA, notching his first professional goal on Sept. 9, 2008 in the 31st minute of a 3-1 win at Toronto FC. Also in 2008, Fire assistant coaches Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich served together as assistant coaches under Preki. Percovich served one more year on the Chivas USA coaching staff before joining Toronto FC in 2009.
  • Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City marked the 2013 debuts for Daniel Paladini, Wells Thompson and Michael Videira. It was Paladini’s first start since Oct. 6, 2012 and Videira’s first since Oct. 1, 2011.
  • Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson made three saves and recorded his 16th career shutout against Sporting Kansas City.

CHICAGO FIRE EARN HARD FOUGHT 0-0 DRAW AGAINST SPORTING KANSAS CITY

The Chicago Fire held Eastern Conference foes Sporting Kansas City to a 0-0 draw at Sporting Park Saturday afternoon. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made three saves and the Fire defense held strong as the Fire earned its first point of the 2013 season.
 
Sporting would earn its first quality chance of the match in the 13th minute as a pinging ball fell just outside of the box for Sporting right back Mechack Jerome. The Haitian defender took the ball on the hop before unleashing a low blast that forced a save from Johnson.
 
The Fire again came close in the 33rd minute when Daniel Paladini’s free kick from the right found the head of Jalil Anibaba at the back post. The third year defender connected with the ball and headed it just over Nielsen’s goal.
 
Sporting responded with two consecutive chances. Graham Zusi whipped in a corner kick to Aurelian Collin but the Frenchman headed his effort over the crossbar. Two minutes later Zusi again proved dangerous, picking out Claudio Bieler at the near post but the Argentine pushed his driving header wide.
 
The Fire nearly caught Sporting at the end of the half as Rolfe ran onto the ball before seeing his shot blocked at the top of the area. Paladini pounced on the rebound and unleashed a long-range blast that forced Nielsen to make the save as the teams entered halftime deadlocked 0-0.
 
Both teams came out of the locker rooms with renewed intensity. Sporting would get the first chance of the half when Zusi played Seth Sinovic through in the box. Sinovic dribbled to the line and ripped a shot to the near post but Johnson made a point blank save and safely pushed the ball out for a corner kick.
 
Johnson was again called on in the 54th minute when Paolo Nagamura unleashed a shot from 35 yards out, however, the Fire ‘keeper came of his line to parry it away.
 
The Fire continued to press and in the 72nd minute strung together a series of passes that found Maicon Santos at midfield. The Brazilian striker turned towards goal and found Rolfe but his pass was just a touch heavy.
 
With five minutes of stoppage time, both teams continued to press and the Fire would get one last chance in the waning moments as Alex saw his long-range shot veer wide of the goal as the game ended 0-0.
 
SEAN JOHNSON NAMED TO U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM SQUAD FOR UPCOMING WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson has been selected by U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against Costa Rica at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo. on Friday, March 22 at 9:00 p.m. CT (ESPN/UniMas) and against Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico on Tuesday, March 26 at 9:30 p.m. CT (ESPN/Univision).
 
The United States is one of the six CONCACAF nations competing in the final round of qualifying for a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Johnson was an unused substitute for the United States’ first match in the hexagonal, a 2-1 loss in Honduras Feb. 6.
 
A Lilburn, Ga. product, Johnson made his international debut Jan. 22, 2011 against Chile at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Johnson earned his first start for the U.S. Men’s National Team and earned the shutout in a 0-0 draw with Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas Jan. 29. The 23-year-old ‘keeper has been capped three times.
 
Now in his fourth year as a professional, Johnson started the first three matches of the season for the Fire and earned his 16th career shutout in a 0-0 draw at Sporting Kansas City March 16. In 2012, Johnson appeared in a career-high 31 regular season matches for the Men in Red and recorded five shutouts en route to a 1.24 goals against average that was the lowest in his professional career. Johnson made 108 saves in 2012, including a career-high ten saves against the San Jose Earthquakes July 28.
 
Johnson will miss the Fire’s match against Chivas USA at Toyota Park on Sunday, March 24 at 4:00 p.m. CT (My50 Chicago/UniMas/107.9 La Ley).
 
JOEL LINDPERE NAMED TO ESTONIAN NATIONAL TEAM SQUAD FOR UPCOMING WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Chicago Fire midfielder Joel Lindpere has been selected by Estonian Men’s National Team manager Tarmo Rüütli to represent Estonia in their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against the Netherlands March 22 at Amsterdam ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands and against Andorra March 26 at A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn, Estonia.
 
Lindpere will miss the Fire’s match against Chivas USA on March 24 at 4:00 p.m. CT (UniMas/107.9 La Ley FM).
 
A product of Tallinn, Estonia, Lindpere made his international debut on Nov. 1, 1999 in a friendly against the United Arab Emirates. He scored his first international goal on Feb. 18, 2004 in a 1-0 win over Moldova, and has since scored five goals in 86 total appearances for his country.
 
Lindpere joined the Fire in a trade from the Red Bulls Jan. 4, 2013 and started in both of the Fire’s first two matches of the season.
 
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
 
Fire don’t expect Friedrich back soon - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - March 15, 2013
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/ct-spt-0316-fire-chicago-20130316,0...
 
Scoreless Fire still figuring things out - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - March 16, 2013
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/soccer/fire/18884987-626/scoreless-fire-s...
 
Fire’s Larentowicz meets pressure head-on - Orrin Schwarz - Daily Herald - March 15, 2013
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130315/sports/703159752/?interstiti...
 
Hauptman seeing good progress with Fire - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - March 12, 2013
http://www.csnchicago.com/fire/hauptman-seeing-good-progress-fire
 
Chicago Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz adjusting to a more defensive role - Anthony Zilis - MLSsoccer.com - March 14, 2013
http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2013/03/14/chicago-fire-midfielder...
 
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
 
Johnson, Paladini earn praise in 0-0 draw at Sporting KC – March 16, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/johnson-paladini-earn-praise-0-...
 
Gameday Q&A: Sherjill MacDonald – March 15, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/gameday-qa-sherjill-macdonald
 
USMNT: “Howard injury tough, but we have guys that can step up,” says Johnson – March 13, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/usmnt-howard-injury-tough-we-ha...
 
All-In with Quincy Amarikwa – March 12, 2013
http://www.chicago-fire.com/news/2013/03/all-quincy-amarikwa