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Chicago Fire Host New York Red Bulls in Sunday Doubleheader

April 1, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire (0-3-1, one point) return to MLS action when they host the New York Red Bulls (1-2-2; five points) at Toyota Park on Sunday, April 7, at 4:00 p.m. CT (ESPN2). Following the match, the Chicago Fire will take on the Red Bulls in a MLS Reserve League Match on the Toyota Park Stadium Field at 6:30 p.m. CT.

This is the first of two meetings between the Fire and Red Bulls this season. The Fire will close out the 2013 MLS Regular Season on the road at Red Bull Arena Oct. 27 at 4:00 p.m. CT (My50/UniMas/La Ley 107.9).

The Men in Red took the 2012 series 2-1-0. The Fire welcomed the Red Bulls to Toyota Park June 17 and found an early goal from Patrick Nyarko in just the 4th minute before using a 68th strike from Gonzalo Segares and an 81st minute tap-in from Chris Rolfe to defeat the Red Bulls 3-1. In the mid-week, mid-day match in triple digit heat, the Fire fell 1-0 to a Thierry Henry wonder-strike at Red Bull Arena July 18. In the final leg, the Fire gave a complete team performance and were led by two Sherjill MacDonald goals to defeat the Red Bulls 2-0 at Red Bull Arena Oct. 6.

The recent break in MLS play gave Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Klopas an opportunity to return his lineup to full strength. Sean Johnson (USA) and Joel Lindpere (Estonia) returned to the Fire after representing their respective nations in FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Currently working towards full fitness following injuries are Dilly Duka (hamstring), Arne Friedrich (hamstring), Steven Kinney (quadriceps), Logan Pause (quadriceps) and Michael Videira (concussion). Arne Friedrich, who spent two weeks in Berlin receiving treatment for a hamstring strain, returned to Toyota Park on Wednesday, March 27 and resumed training with the squad. Captain Logan Pause, who missed the first four games of the season with a quadriceps injury, returned to full training March 12 and was named to the 18-man roster against Chivas USA March 24.

The Red Bulls enter the match after earning their first victory of the season. Dax McCarthy's 55 st minute goal combined with Henry's 81st minute strike to defeat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Saturday, March 30 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

CHICAGO FIRE vs. New York Red Bulls

- The Fire hold a 22-12-9 all-time regular season advantage over the Red Bulls, including a 12-3-6 record in matches played at home.

- The Men in Red have not lost to the New York side since a 3-0 loss to the then MetroStars May 14, 2005 at Soldier Field.

- Current Fire midfielder Joel Lindpere spent the first three seasons of his MLS career with the Red Bulls. The Estonian international joined the Red Bulls prior to the 2010 season and in three seasons, scored 15 goals and added 18 assists in 97 MLS Regular Season appearances. Lindpere scored his first MLS goal in the Red Bulls' season opener against the Fire March 27, 2010. The midfielder joined the Fire Jan. 4, 2013 in exchange for a 2013 International Roster Spot.

- Fire forward Chris Rolfe has seven career goals against the Red Bulls, including a hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Red Bulls Oct. 23, 2008.

- Rolfe's strike partner Sherjill MacDonald notched his first multi-goal MLS game Oct. 6, 2012 when his brace lead the Fire to a 2-0 victory at Red Bull Arena.

- A product of Montville, N.J., Fire midfielder Dilly Duka came up through the New York Red Bulls Academy system before matriculating to Rutgers University. On Feb. 4, 2013 the Fire acquired Duka and the right of first refusal to U.S. international Robbie Rogers from the Columbus Crew in exchange for striker Dominic Oduro.

- Two current Red Bulls, forward Andre Akpan and midfielder Brandon Barklage, spent time with the Chicago Fire PDL squad during their collegiate careers. Red Bulls rookie midfielder Ian Christianson was a three-year Fire Academy player prior to his collegiate career at Georgetown University.

CHICAGO FIRE LOAN KELLEN GULLEY TO ATLANTA SILVERBACKS

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Monday that the club has loaned forward Kellen Gulley to the Atlanta Silverbacks. The 18-year-old Homegrown striker is currently training with the NASL side. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gulley joined the Fire on Aug. 11, 2011 as the second Homegrown Player in club history. A product of the Mississippi Fire Juniors, Gulley earned valuable experience in MLS Reserve League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy matches during the 2012 season.

Born in Clinton, Miss., Gulley was named to the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program in January 2010 and earned eight caps at the U-17 level, tallying four goals during international competition in 2009 and 2010.

CHICAGO FIRE FOUNDATION LAUNCHES P.L.A.Y.S. PROGRAM

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced the launch of the Chicago Fire Foundation P.L.A.Y.S. Program (Participate, Learn, Achieve Youth Soccer) created in partnership with World Sport Chicago. This first of its kind program integrates soccer with social and emotional learning (SEL) to not only help kids learn and enjoy soccer, but also strengthen academic performance. The 10-week program, beginning April 1, serves 256 third through fifth grade boys and girls at eight Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) schools across Chicago.

The uniqueness of the P.L.A.Y.S. program is the integration of soccer and a curriculum focused on instilling grit as a means to grow social and emotional learning (SEL) skills of youth. Research into grit has shown that kids with a high degree of emotional control, goal setting and attainment, cooperation and respect, and communication and teamwork are able to more effectively handle adversity and perform well in school. With the collaboration of World Sport Chicago, AUSL, the University of North Carolina and the University of Chicago and Mindful Practices, the Chicago Fire Foundation has developed the first youth sports curriculum that uses sport to develop grit in students.

Kicking off April 1, the students participating in the program will engage in 10 weeks of instruction via five out-of-school hours each week, plus an additional three game days. The eight schools chosen for the inaugural year of the P.L.A.Y.S. Program are Bradwell School of Excellence (South Shore), Bethune School of Excellence (North Lawndale), Casals School of Excellence (Humboldt Park), Deneen School of Excellence (Englewood), Herzl School of Excellence (North Lawndale), Piccolo School of Excellence (North Edgewood), and Curtis School of Excellence (Roseland).

The program will conclude with a celebration event scheduled to take place at the Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers game at Toyota Park on June 8, 2013.

CHICAGO FIRE SEASON AND INDIVIDUAL TICKETS ON SALE

Individual single game tickets for the club's 16th MLS season at Toyota Park are now on sale .

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.

Season Tickets are also available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.

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