- The team held a 90-minute training session at Tad Gormley Stadium on Friday night and were greeted post-practice by 10 supporters from Section 8 Chicago who made the 15-hour drive on Thursday.
- Signed players unavailable for selection Saturday are Logan Pause, who has stayed in Chicago with his wife following the couple’s first child, Sean Johnson, who’s resting after a long offseason of national team camps and training at Everton and Rafael Robayo, who continues to await his visa.
- Pause and Johnson will rejoin the team on February 8 in Ventura, Calif., while Robayo is expected to meet his teammates for the first time at some point during the stay out west.
- Friday the club released Supplemental Draft picks defender Justin Chavez, striker Evans Frimpong and goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski.
- There are a total of 27 players available for selection Saturday night: 21 signed, 3 unsigned draftees and 3 unsigned trialists.
- Saturday’s opponents Real Espana are five matches into the 2012 Honduran Clausura. The side is 1-2-2 on the campaign and sit seventh in the 10-team Liga Nacional. The side hasn’t won since their first match of the season, a 2-1 victory over Deportes Savio on January 11. The team features former LA Galaxy and legendary Honduran striker Carlos Pavon.
- The Fire are approaching the team’s third week of preseason, with the team playing its third match in six days Saturday afternoon after drawing 0-0 with DC United Sunday in Ft. Myers, Fla. and defeating Florida Gulf Coast 3-0 Wednesday night in Ave Maria, Fla.
- Moving away from the three period setup with almost three entirely different XI’s, Fire head coach Frank Klopas is expected to give two different teams 45 minutes each in Saturday’s match. In the event of a tie, the winner will be decided by penalty kicks.
- Honduran trialist Ivan Guerrero, has received much media attention around Saturday’s game. Having made over 200 appearances for giants Motagua, the midfielder told Chicago-Fire.com: “Saturday will be special for me because I know every player on that team. In New Orleans there is such a large Honduran population so it’s a big game for us and them and we’re continuing towards the season but we know there will be a lot of people tomorrow and you always want to win games.”
- Having played with the Fire from 2005-07, Guerrero is looking to earn a spot with the club and has played admirably both at left back and on the wing the past two weeks: “I’m very excited to be with the team again working hard. I’m very happy with the group and everyone in the organization. Now I’m just waiting on my chance to play. This was my first team in the league. I feel something special to be here again because I won a championship with this team. I want to win MLS Cup here -- that is the motivation for me now.”
DID YOU KNOW…
The Chicago Fire played the club’s first-ever U.S. Open Cup semifinal in New Orleans in 1998. The team used goals from Ante Razov (11’), Roman Kosecki (56’) and Lubos Kubik (74’) to down the Dallas Burn in front of 6,154 fans at Zephyr Stadium in Metairie, La. on August 4, 1998, setting up the team’s memorable Open Cup Final victory, a 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew in which current head coach Frank Klopas scored the golden goal.
Follow Saturday’s match LIVE via @ChiFireMatch beginning at 5pm CT.