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Chicago Fire Open Preseason With Victory, Continue Preparations For 2013 Season

January 28, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire

PRESEASON CAMP ROLLS ON

The Chicago Fire opened the team's 2013 preseason campaign Sunday, defeating Florida Gulf Coast University 2-0 in Ave Maria, Fla. Head coach Frank Klopas utilized 28 different players during the match that was played in three 30-minute periods. Dominic Oduro's goal in the 39th minute combined with Daniel Paladini's in the 47th minute to give the Fire the victory.

Following two more days of training in Ave Maria, Fla., the Fire will take on the Columbus Crew Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 10:30 a.m. CT at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Follow the match live via @ChiFireMatch on Twitter. The Crew topped D.C. United 1-0 Saturday courtesy of a 66th minute penalty kick from trialist Sercan Güvenisik.

The Fire will return home following the Crew match and are off Thursday and Friday before reconvening for phase two of preseason in Ventura, Calif. from Saturday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 10. While on the west coast, the team will face Chivas USA (February 5), 2012 MLS Supporters' Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes and hold a reserve match against the University of California-Santa Barbara on February 9.

The Men in Red will close out preseason from Feb. 13 - 24 in Charleston, S.C. as part of the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup where they will face 2012 MLS Cup Finalists Houston Dynamo, 2012 USL Pro Champions Charleston Battery and fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

FIRE ROSTER CONTINUES TO TAKE SHAPE

The Fire roster continues to take shape as the Fire made three selections in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The Fire acquired Penn State defender John Gallagher (30th overall), Duke University goalkeeper James Belshaw (49th overall) and 2012 National Champion and Indiana University captain and defender Caleb Konstanski (68th overall).

With the recent announcement that the club has loaned midfielder Alvaro Fernandez (Al Rayyan - Qatar) and forward Federico Puppo (LDU Quito - Ecuador), the Fire currently have 24 signed players on the Fire roster. Here's a breakdown of the current Fire roster:

- A total of 18 signed players are currently in camp with the Fire. Missing are goalkeeper Sean Johnson (U.S. Men's National Team camp), defender Arne Friedrich (joining the team for the second leg of preseason), midfielder Corben Bone (training with Atletico Madrid), Victor Pineda (meniscus recovery), forward Kellen Gulley (potential loan) and defender Tony Walls (did not travel to camp).

- Walls did not travel with the team to Ave Maria, Fla. Gulley, who was with the team for the first five days of camp, could potentially go on loan in the near future.

- Eight nations are represented on the Fire roster: Brazil (Alex and Santos), Germany (Friedrich), Estonia (Lindpere), Netherlands (MacDonald), Ghana (Nyarko and Oduro), Costa Rica (Segares) and Italy (Tornaghi). Fourteen Fire players hail from the United States.

- Nine states are represented on the Fire roster, with California (Anibaba and Paladini), Georgia (Johnson and Kinney), North Carolina (Pause and Thompson), Ohio (Berry and Rolfe) and Texas (Bone and Jumper) each featured twice.

- The average age of the current Fire roster is 26 years and two months. Five players were born in 1988 (Alex, Anibaba, Berry, Bone and Tornaghi).

- Fifteen players played collegiately. Three players won national championships with their respective schools: Pause (2001 - UNC), Bone (2007 - Wake Forest) and Jumper (2009 - UVA). Berry led the University of Louisville to the 2010 College Cup Final where they fell 1-0 to the University of Akron.

- Thirteen players were acquired through the MLS SuperDraft; two (Larentowicz and Paladini) joined MLS through the MLS Supplemental Draft process.

- Arne Friedrich and Joel Lindpere lead the Fire in international experience. Friedrich, capped 82 times for Germany, featured in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups and the 2004 and 2008 UEFA European Championships. Lindpere has five goals in 83 total appearances for Estonia, helping his side to the 2012 UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying playoff stage before falling to the Republic of Ireland in the two-leg playoff series.

- Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson are the two current Fire players with MLS Cup championship experience. Both players were a part of the Colorado Rapids squad that won MLS Cup 2010 with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas.

- Five players bring Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship experience to the team. In his rookie season, Logan Pause and the Fire defeated the MetroStars 1-0 for the 2003 title. In 2006 Logan Pause, Chris Rolfe and Gonzalo Segares all started as the Fire won their fourth Open Cup title with a 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy. The following year, Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson led the New England Revolution to their first cup trophy in club history. Thompson's 57th minute game-winner was the difference as the Revs defeated FC Dallas 3-2.

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS FOR THE CLUB'S 2013 MLS CAMPAIGN AT TOYOTA PARK NOW ON SALE

The Chicago Fire announced Monday that individual single game tickets for the club's 16th MLS season at Toyota Park will go on sale via Ticketmaster today at noon CT.

One of the most affordable live events in the Chicagoland area, single game ticket prices start as low as $20 and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.

Chicago Fire Season Tickets and #cf97withdrawals Winter Packs, which give fans the opportunity to witness the Men in Red in action on Opening Day while donning the four Fire hats and four pairs of Fire gloves included in the pack are now on sale. Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.

MARCH TO SOCCER - FIRE OPEN 16TH CAMPAIGN AGAINST MLS CUP CHAMPION LA GALAXY IN 35 DAYS

The Men in Red open their 16th season on the road in just 35 days when they visit two-time defending MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on Sunday, March 3 at 4:00 p.m. CT (Univision). The following week, in just 41 days, the Fire will host the New England Revolution for Opening Night at Toyota Park on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network).

The Fire's full 2013 schedule can be found at www.Chicago-Fire.com/schedule. The Fire are slated to appear in a total of 16 nationally televised broadcasts throughout its 16th season of MLS play.

Season Ticket Holder exchanges will begin Monday, February 18.

SUPPORT THE CHICAGO FIRE FOUNDATION AT THE 15TH ANNUAL SEASON KICKOFF LUNCHEON MONDAY, MARCH 5

Get your tickets for the 15th annual Chicago Fire Season Kickoff Luncheon which will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati will help kickoff the event by delivering the keynote address. This is the first chance of the season to meet your 2013 Chicago Fire Soccer team. The event includes a reception, lunch and silent auction featuring Chicago Fire and other sports memorabilia, gift certificates and more. The first 20 full paid tables of ten (10) at $850 will be seated with a Fire player or coach. Tickets are available by calling (708) 496-6751.

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Major League Soccer Stories from January 28, 2013


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