Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s game vs. Santos Laguna… (Listen LIVE via ESPN Deportes 97.5FM at 7:30pm CT)
1) With Chuck’s Fest taking place in the Toyota Park parking lot tonight, if you haven’t already read the alerts about traffic for tonight’s friendly, I suggest you do so now. Give yourself a little bit more time coming to the stadium tonight. Season Ticket Holders, please use your Bonus Game 2 ticket.
WATCH: Fire Talk Santos
2) Now time to get all stat-nerdy on you… Did you know at one point the Fire were 5-0-2 all-time in international matches? That mark spans from the team’s first-ever international, a 1-0 friendly victory on July 15, 1998 vs. Pumas UNAM (Joe Carver eat your heart out) to a 5-1 victory over Hamburg on May 29, 2000. It also includes two games against international opponents (Joe Public and LD Alajuelense) at the 1999 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
3) It’s nice to look back on that strong international record as the team’s form in international matches more recently hasn’t been quite as good. Overall, the Fire are now 14-18-5 against all international opponents and just 6-13-3 in international friendlies.
In that time, the Fire have played international matches (competitive and friendly) against teams from Mexico (15 times; 4-9-2), Poland (4; 2-1-1), England (4; 2-2-0), Costa Rica (3; 1-1-1), Trinidad & Tobago (3; 2-1-0), Italy (2; 0-2-0), Guatemala (2; 2-0-0), Germany (1; 1-0-0-), Scotland (1; 0-0-1) and France (1; 0-1-0).
4) Tonight, the Fire will hope to break their eight-match losing skid in international friendies. The last time the Men in Red defeated an international opponent in a friendly came when Chris Rolfe and Tomasz Frankowski scored to give the side a 2-0 victory over Everton FC on July 30, 2008.
The last victory over an international opponent came almost two years later, with the team using a Wilman Conde header to push past Pumas UNAM in SuperLiga group play on July 20, 2010.
5) With the Fire mired in a tight playoff race, the main goal of tonight will be to keep sharp but also come away from the match unscathed. With that in mind, expect Frank Klopas to again utilize a large part of his roster in the match.
Most importantly, with him making the bench in Sunday’s game vs. Houston, I’m looking forward to the prospects of seeing original Fire Homegrown midfielder Victor Pineda possibly make his first-ever start for the Men in Red.