Fire Head to Toronto for Mid-Week Clash; Host Montreal Impact on Soccer Saturday
After stepping away from MLS play to earn a 2-2 international friendly draw against defending Mexican league champions Santos Laguna Saturday night, the Chicago Fire (13-8-5, 44 points) head north to take on Toronto FC (5-16-6, 21 points) at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes FM) before hosting the Montreal Impact (12-14-3, 39 points) at Toyota Park on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN Chicago/97.5 ESPN Deportes FM).
Wednesday’s match is the third and final game between the two squads this season. Dominic Oduro tallied the fastest goal in club history and goals from Gonzalo Segares and Patrick Nyarko led the Fire to a 3-2 victory against Toronto FC at BMO Field on April 21. The Fire used second half goals from Marco Pappa and Austin Berry to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat Toronto FC 2-1 at Toyota Park on Aug. 4.
Toronto FC, currently occupying the tenth spot in the Eastern Conference, enters the match after dropping a 2-1 decision to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Sept. 1 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Saturday’s match is the second-ever meeting between the Fire and the Montreal Impact. The Men in Red earned a road point in front of a record crowd of 58,912 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec after a 71st minute equalizer from Dominic Oduro earned the Fire a draw in the 2012 season opener on March 17.
The Impact, currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, enter the match after dropping their most recent game 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Sept. 1.
CHICAGO FIRE TRAINING SCHEDULE: Sept. 10 – Sept. 17
Monday, Sept. 10: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^ - Toyota Park practice field
Tuesday, Sept. 11: Travel to Toronto
Training 4:30 p.m. ET – TFC Training Facility
Wednesday, Sept. 12: Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC - BMO Field - 6:00 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2/97.5 ESPN Deportes)
Thursday, Sept. 13: Return to Chicago
Friday, Sept. 14: Training 9:30 a.m. CT*^ - Toyota Park practice field
Saturday, Sept. 15: Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact - Toyota Park - 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN Chicago/97.5 ESPN Deportes)
Sunday, Sept. 16: Off
Monday, Sept. 17: Off
*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.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Toronto FC
- The Fire hold a 6-3-4 record against Toronto FC, including a 3-3-1 record in matches played at BMO Field.
- Daniel Paladini’s goal against the Houston Dynamo was his second consecutive goal and is the first game-winning goal of the veteran midfielder’s MLS career.
- Brazilian midfielder Alex opened his Fire account with his 93rd minute blast against Houston. Alex became the 14th Fire player to find the back of the net during the 2012 campaign.
- Entering the match in the 85th minute, captain Logan Pause made his first appearance since suffering two fractured ribs and pneumothorax in the team’s 3-1 victory at Philadelphia on August 12.
- With three goals, Chris Rolfe is the Fire’s all-time series leader in goals scored against Toronto FC tallying on May 12, 2007, July 12, 2008 and May 16, 2009.
- Toronto FC has no less than six players that will likely miss the match due to international duty. Midfielder Terry Dunfield and defender Ashtone Morgan are with the Canada squad set to play in a World Cup qualifier at Panama on Tuesday, while forward Ryan Johnson and defender Dicoy Williams are part of the Jamaica squad set to face the U.S. Men’s National Team Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio. Finally, goalkeeper Freddy Hall and midfielder Reggie Lambe are with Bermuda as they take part in Caribbean Cup play in Haiti.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Montreal Impact
- Saturday’s game marks only the second meeting between the two squads. The Fire hold a 0-0-1 record against the Impact. This will be the first time the Fire host the Impact at Toyota Park.
- The Men in Red earned a road point in front of a record crowd of 58,912 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec after a 71st minute equalizer from Dominic Oduro earned the Fire a draw in the 2012 season opener on March 17.
- Three members of the Montreal Impact technical staff have deep ties to the Fire. In eight season with the Fire from 1998-2005, Impact Head Coach Jesse Marsch made 200 MLS regular season appearances, winning MLS Cup in 1998 and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in 1998, 2000 and 2003. Assistant coach Mike Sorber spent the 2000 season with the Fire, making 19 regular season appearances and helping the Fire to the Central Division title and the U.S. Open Cup championship. Denis Hamlett served as a member of the Fire coaching staff for ten seasons. Hamlet served as an assistant coach from 1998 to 2007, during which the Fire won MLS Cup in 1998, a Supporter’s Shield in 2003 and four U.S. Open Cup championships in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. Hamlet served as the Fire’s head coach in 2008 and 2009, helping the club to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
- Impact midfielder Justin Mapp spent seven seasons with the Fire. Acquired in a trade from D.C. United on Dec. 26, 2002, Mapp made 174 regular season appearances from 2003 to 2010, winning the Supporters Shield in 2003 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2003 and 2006. Mapp was also a MLS All-Star in 2005 and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2006.
- Fire midfielder Daniel Paladini will face his brother-in-law on Saturday in Impact defender Josh Gardner, who is married to the Fire midfielder’s sister Michelle.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF RACE
With only eight points separating the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, the next two months will be crucial for the Fire’s bid to make the 2012 MLS post-season.
The Fire currently sit in fourth place with 44 points, just six points behind Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.
Four of the remaining eight matches will be played at Toyota Park, where the Fire have a dominating 9-2-2 record against visiting teams this season. The Fire have gone unbeaten against Eastern Conference opponents at Toyota Park since they fell 2-0 on Oct. 12, 2010 to Sporting Kansas City, going 10-0-7 in that time.
CHICAGO FIRE RALLY TO DRAW SANTOS LAGUNA 2-2
The Chicago Fire surrendered two first half goals before using second half strikes from Michael Videira and Corben Bone to earn a 2-2 draw in an international friendly with reigning Mexican league champions Santos Laguna Saturday night at Toyota Park.
It would be the visitors that found the first goal in the 24th minute. Collecting the ball on the right, Santos forward Benjamin Joya dribbled to the top of the Fire box and unleashed an effort past Fire ‘keeper Paolo Tornaghi and inside the right post.
Santos would double their lead when Daniel Luduena forced a turnover at the back. The Argentine attacker took a deflected ball off the feet of Fire defender Michael Videira before placing his effort to the left of Tornaghi in the 29th minute.
Coming out of the break it didn’t take long for the Fire to get on the score board. The sequence would start in the 48th minute when halftime substitute Daniel Paladini’s free kick was tipped over the bar by Miguel Becerra. On the ensuing corner kick, Paladini found Videira charging through the box and the Fire defender volleyed his effort past Becerra from close range to take the score to 2-1.
The Fire would find the equalizer in the 63rd minute when Dominic Oduro dispossessed Juan Pablo Rodriguez at midfield. The fleet Ghanaian sped towards goal before finding Bone up the right side and the third-year Fire midfielder made no mistake, placing his effort under Becerra and inside the back post.
Making his first start for the Men in Red, Fire Homegrown player Victor Pineda got in on the action in the 68th picking up a loose ball before firing a low drive to force another save out of Becerra.
Santos had one more chance in the 81st minute as second half substitute Marc Crosas ran onto a ball at midfield before seeing his long-distance blast well held by Tornaghi, leaving the match deadlocked at 2-2 after 90 minutes.
FIRE IN THE NEWS
Berry's play merits rookie of the year talk - Jack McCarthy - Chicago Tribune - September 1, 2012
Fire inspired by Patrick Nyarko's early goal - Seth Gruen - Chicago Sun-Times - September 2, 2012
Early goals by Nyarko, Paladini lead Fire to victory - Len Ziehm - CSNChicago.com - September 2, 2012
El Chicago Fire espera con los deberes hechos a Santos Laguna - Jose Luis Sanchez Pando - Hoy - September 4, 2012
Jamaican family ties not the focus for Fire GK Johnson - Anthony Zilis -MLSsoccer.com - September 3, 2012
Lockout Survival Kit: The Chicago Fire - Sam Fels - Second City Hockey - September 4, 2012
CHICAGO FIRE TEAM WRITER, JEFF CRANDALL FEATURES ON CHICAGO-FIRE.COM
Five Things You Should Know About Saturday’s Game vs. Santos Laguna – September 8, 2012
All-In Podcast with Logan Pause – September 5, 2012
Sean Johnson Talks USMNT Call-Up Against Jamaica – September 2, 2012