FIRE WELCOME RED BULLS AFTER INTERNATIONAL BREAK; ALEX ARRIVES IN CHICAGO
The Chicago Fire (5-5-3; 18 points) welcome the New York Red Bulls (8-3-2, 26 points) to Toyota Park on Sunday, June 17 at 4:00 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes).
The Fire head into the match with a 20-11-9 all-time MLS Regular Season record against New York, including a dominant 11-3-6 record in games played at home. The Fire have never lost to the Red Bulls at Toyota Park, going 5-0-3 since the soccer specific stadium opened in 2006.
Both teams took this weekend off from MLS action to observe the FIFA international break. The Red Bulls enter the match after their most recent result, a 3-1 loss to the Harrisburg City Islanders in the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament on May 29. Their last MLS game was a 1-1 draw against Chivas USA on May 23.
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: June 12 – June 18
Tuesday, June 12: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
RESERVE GAME Chicago Fire at Real Salt Lake – 11:00 a.m. CT – Real Salt Lake Training Field
Wednesday, June 13: OFF
Thursday, June 14: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Friday, June 15: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Saturday, June 16: Training 9:30 a.m.*^
Sunday, June 17: Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls – Toyota Park – 4:00 p.m. CT – TV: NBC Sports Network/97.5 ESPN Deportes
Monday, June 18: Training 11:00 a.m.*^
*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.
NEW BRAZILIAN SIGNING ALEX MONTEIRO DE LIMA TO TRAIN FOR FIRST TIME IN CHICAGO
New Chicago Fire midfielder Alex (Monteiro De Lima) will train with the Fire for the first time on Tuesday since joining the team on a free transfer from Swiss side FC Wohlen. Known as Alex, the 23-year-old will be added to the Fire roster upon the opening of the summer transfer window on June 27 and set to be available to Fire head coach Frank Klopas on Friday, June 29 when the Fire take on Sporting Kansas City at LiveSTRONG Sporting Park at 7:00 p.m. CT. Alex will be available to media via translator following Tuesday’s training which begins begins at 9:30 a.m. CT and runs until approximately 11:00 a.m. CT.
Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Alex began his professional career with FC Gossau during the 2009-10 Swiss Challenge League campaign, scoring two goals in 18 matches for the St. Gallen-based club. Following his initial campaign, Alex transferred to FC Wohlen where he’s tallied seven goals in 48 appearances the past two seasons for the north Swiss side.
CHICAGO FIRE VS. New York Red Bulls
• The Fire are 20-11-9 all-time against the New York side including an impressive 11-3-6 record in matches played at home.
• The Fire have never lost to the Red Bulls at Toyota Park. The Men in Red have a dominant 5-0-3 record against the Red Bulls at Toyota Park.
• The Fire went 0-0-2 against the New York Red Bulls during the 2011 MLS Regular Season. Marco Pappa scored the equalizer in the 58th minute as the Fire drew the Red Bulls 1-1 on June 26 at Toyota Park. On Saturday, August 13 Dominic Oduro and Sebastian Grazzini tallied as the Fire again drew the Red Bulls 2-2 at Red Bull Arena.
• The two teams also met in the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on July 12 at Toyota Park where the Fire pummeled the visiting Red Bulls 4-0 for a spot in the tournament semifinal.
• Current Red Bulls defender Wilman Conde spent four seasons with the Fire, joining the club in 2007 from Colombian club Millonarios. In 73 regular season matches, Conde scored four goals and added four assists. In 2009 Conde was named the club’s Defender of the Year and was a member of the MLS Best XI.
• Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro spent a portion of the 2009 season with the Red Bulls. He featured in three games, making one start before being traded to the Houston Dynamo.
• Chicago Fire midfielder Chris Rolfe scored his first MLS hat trick against the Red Bulls on October 23, 2008, tallying all three goals in the first half while helping the visiting Fire to a 5-2 victory.
• This match marks just the second time Pavel Pardo will face off against former Mexican teammate Rafa Marquez in MLS action. The two Mexican national team stars began playing together for El Tri in 1997 when Marquez received his first call-up. Pardo last appeared for El Tri in 2009 while Marquez has been called into the squad as they begin CONCACAF semifinal round World Cup Qualifying. He was an unused substituted in Mexico’s 3-1 win over Guyana on Friday evening.
FIRE FEATURED ON BIG STAGE
The Fire enter possibly their most high-profile stretch of games with three of the next five games to be featured live on national television.
The run of nationally televised matches begins with the June 17 clash against the New York Red Bulls which will be featured on the NBC Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. CT. The Fire will appear on NBC Sports Network when they take on regional foes Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park at 7:00 p.m. CT on Friday, June 29.
The Men in Red will then make the jump to ESPN when they take on the defending MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. CT.
The other two of the fives games over the course of 22 days will appear locally on NBC5.2, as the Fire host the Columbus Crew on Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. CT and away at the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium Tuesday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
MARCO PAPPA TO FACE THE UNITED STATES IN WORLD CUP QUALIFYING
Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa started and played the first half in Guatemala’s 2-1 loss to Jamaica on Friday, June 8 in the opening match of the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying.
The next game in Guatemala’s journey to the 2014 FIFA World Cup has los Chapines playing host to the United States at Estadio Mateo Flores on Tuesday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. CT.
Since his international debut in 2008, Pappa has earned 27 international caps for Guatemala.
FAN VOTING NOW OPEN FOR 2012 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME
Voting for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game against UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea Football Club on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Penn. has now begun. Voting is available at www.MLSsoccer.com and via text message.
The Men in Red are represented on the fan ballot by goalkeeper Sean Johnson, defender Gonzalo Segares, midfielders Sebastian Grazzini, Marco Pappa and Pavel Pardo, and forward Dominic Oduro.
Pappa is the only Fire player on this year’s ballot with previous All-Star game experience, having represented the Fire in 2010 when the MLS All-Stars hosted Manchester United at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Pappa started and played the entire first half as the MLS All-Stars fell 5-2 in front of a record crowd of 70,728 fans.
A panel of media members nominated a total of 114 players, the top six per team, to the fan ballot. Fans can vote by clicking here. Voting is also available via text message by sending a players first and last name to 22442. Twitter voting will occur later this month.
The players with the highest combined votes from these three voting methods will become the first 11 All-Stars – known as the All-Star First XI. The player who receives the most text votes by 4 p.m. CT on Monday, July 2 will automatically earn a spot among the All-Star First XI.
All-Star Head Coach Peter Nowak of the Philadelphia Union will choose the gameday roster and the starting lineup against Chelsea FC on July 25. The first marquee MLS event ever to be held at PPL Park in Chester, Penn., will be broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 7:30 p.m. CT.
A total of 32 All-Stars are named each year, per the collective bargaining agreement. Media, fans, players, the All-Star coach and MLS Commissioner Don Garber all contribute in the All-Star selection process.
The 32 players named 2012 AT&T MLS All-Stars will be selected in four phases:
1) Ballot creation: A select media panel determined the field of players – six players per team – who are most deserving of consideration for this year’s All-Star Game. Those 114 players are eligible for fan voting.
2) Fan voting: Through July 2 at 4 p.m. CT, fans will select the “First XI” All-Stars. Fans can vote via any of three digital platforms:
a. At MLSsoccer.com: Vote for your starting lineup of 11 players, beginning June 8.
b. Via text message (SMS): Text an MLS player’s first and last name to 22442.
Each vote will count equally with those submitted online in determining the First XI.
The player who receives the most text votes will automatically earn a spot among the First XI.
Message and data rates may apply.
c. Twitter: Details of Twitter voting will be released in the near future.
The First XI will be announced on Sunday, July 8, on ESPN during halftime of the Chicago Fire-LA Galaxy game that begins at 2 p.m. CT.
3) Team selection: The MLS All-Star head coach will select the gameday roster from the pool of eligible players, consisting of the First XI as determined by the fans, MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s two selections and players who received votes from at least two players.
The Commissioner selections and gameday roster will be announced on Sunday, July 15 on ESPN during halftime of the New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC game that begins at 3 p.m. CT.
4) Player selections: MLS players will determine the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the CBA (known as the “inactive roster”).
The final list of 32 All-Stars (4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders and 7 forwards) will be announced on MLSsoccer.com on July 25.
CHICAGO FIRE TO HOST ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SIDE ASTON VILLA ON SATURDAY, JULY 21 AT TOYOTA PARK
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced that the Fire will take on seven-time English League champions Aston Villa in an international friendly at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Advance tickets for the Chicago Fire vs. Aston Villa are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting www.Chicago-Fire.com or Ticketmaster. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 1 in the Fire’s Season Ticket Package, and is also a part of the Ten Game Plan.
Aston Villa, one of the oldest and most successful clubs in English football history, will make their first trip to Chicago. Since its founding in 1874, Villa has amassed 19 major domestic honors, including seven English Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. The Villans also won the 1981-1982 European Cup. One of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, Aston Villa has competed in the top flight of English soccer ever since.
This is the second consecutive year the Fire will host an English Premier League team. In 2011, the Fire took on famed English club Manchester United in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 61,000 soccer supporters at Soldier Field, scoring first before falling 3-1 to the eventual Premier League Champions. The Fire currently hold a 2-1 record against English Premier League foes, defeating Everton FC by a score of 2-0 in 2008, and Derby County 1-0 in 1999.
Aston Villa features two former Chicago Fire PDL players, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, originally from Homer Glenn, Ill. and defender Eric Lichaj, a product of Downers Grove, Ill.
MLS LAUNCHES THIRD ANNUAL COMMUNITY MVP CONTEST
Major League Soccer has launched the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP contest. Fans throughout the League will be given the opportunity to nominate themselves of other individuals who have made a difference in their communities. Winners will be selected based on their work in one of the following areas: general community service; youth programming; environmental sustainability; health and wellness; education; military or civic service.
One (1) Community MVP will be chosen to represent each of the 19 MLS clubs and will receive a prize package including VIP tickets, local recognition and an autographed item. One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice and a trip to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park on July 25. Chelsea FC, winner of this year’s UEFA Champions League, will return as the AT&T MLS All-Star Game opponent. The Grand Prize winner will receive roundtrip airfare, two nights’ accommodation, a crystal award from Tiffany & Co. and official MLS merchandise as part of the prize package.
The MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP contest will be open until June 21, 2012 at 6:59 p.m. CT. Nominations must be 500 words or less and can be submitted by visiting the Community MVP website. Following the announcement of the local winners, fans will have an opportunity to vote for one (1) Grand Prize winner by visiting the Community MVP website or the MLS W.O.R.K.S. tab on Facebook from July 2 – July 13. The Grand Prize winner will be announced during halftime of the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park.
A component of Unite. Volunteer. Serve., the Community MVP contest seeks to identify MLS fans who are passionate about making a difference in the lives they touch and are dedicated to improving their communities. Unite. Volunteer. Serve., the League’s community service program, is a collaborative effort to combine sport and service, promote goodwill within MLS markets and improve lives and communities at the grassroots level.
In 2011, Robert Kellum, a highly decorated 11-year veteran Chicago Police officer was honored as the Fire’s Community MVP. Six years ago, Kellum started K.I.C.K.S. , Keeping Inner City Kids Safe, which provides free soccer clinics for inner city children in conjunction with Community Policing events. Robert also started the Chicago Police Soccer team, which participates in charity matches and has raised over $10,000 for charity.
Information on the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Community MVP contest can be found at http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks.