It’s been 133 days since the Fire ended the 2013 in disappointing fashion with a 5-2 loss at New York. Sunday the Frank Yallop era at the club officially begins when the Fire visit Chivas USA (live 2:00pm CT on UniMas; La Ley 107.9 FM).
2014 Roster Makeup -- By the Numbers
16 – Players that remain from the end of 2013
12 – New acquisitions over the offseason
26 years, 2 months – Average age of the 2014 roster as of today
10 – Countries represented: USA, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Ghana, Israel, Jamaica and Mali
145 - Total number of seasons in MLS
2,159 – Total MLS games played
Experience on the backline...
As Kevin Egan mentioned on Saturday’s episode of Chicago Fire Weekly, the likely starting back four of Gonzalo Segares, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Lovel Palmer is among the most experienced in Major League Soccer to begin the season with an average age of 29 years, nine months and a total of 503 MLS games between them.
Yallop made a point in the offseason of shoring up a backline that conceded a club record 52 goals in 2013 and so far things have gone well, with the team conceding just two goals in eight preseason matches.
Mike Magee Ready to Start, Score vs. Chivas USA
Despite missing the majority of preseason with the team in part due to personal matters, reigning 2013 MVP Mike Magee told Chicago-Fire.com this week that he feels good enough about his fitness to go from the start in Sunday’s season opener but recognized the decision was ultimately up to Yallop.
It’s hard to imagine that Magee won’t be in Yallop’s XI and if he is he’ll work towards becoming just the second active MLS player to tally regular season goals against all 19 MLS teams (the other is Portland’s Kenny Cooper).
Entering his 12th MLS season, Magee has scored at least one regular season goal against the other 18 MLS sides but hasn’t converted in 14 regular season games against Chivas USA.
It is worth noting that while with the LA Galaxy Magee tallied an important goal against the Goats in a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the 2009 MLS Cup quarterfinals on November 1, 2009. That was the first of eight career MLS Cup playoff goals
All the Other Vital Records
The Fire are 5-5-6 all-time in regular season openers while Chivas USA are 3-5-1. Neither team has won a season opener since 2009.
Frank Yallop is 4-4-1 at the opening hurdle while Sunday will be Chivas’ Wilmer Cabrera’s first game as an MLS head coach.