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Chicago Fire Weekly Notes

June 12, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

Chicago Fire @ D.C. United - Saturday, June 16, 2007 - Fire Match #12 - MLS Match #69

TV: HDNet - Exclusive - (Glenn Davis, Marcelo Balboa)

RADIO: WRTO 1200 AM (Oscar Guzman, "Batata" DaSilva, "Tico" Fernandez), WNVR 1030 AM (Jacek Zielinski, Daniel Bociaga)

Fire @ D.C. United

The Chicago Fire (4-5-2, 14 pts.) face D.C. United (4-3-2, 14 pts.) in the nation's capital for the first of three Eastern Conference regular season series match-ups starting this Saturday, June 16, at RFK Stadium (6:30 p.m. CT, HDNet). Chicago travels to D.C. hungry for a win, dropping a 1-0 decision in Week 10 to Chivas USA Saturday night at TOYOTA PARK. D.C. United is coming off a 4-2 home result over the East-leading New York Red Bulls (6-2-2, 20 pts.) Sunday at RFK. The Fire are tied with D.C. United for fourth in the conference with 14 points, while D.C. United has two games in hand over "Men in Red". The game will be televised live via HDNet over the airwaves live on Chicagoland radio station WRTO-AM 1200 (Spanish) and WNVR-AM 1030 (Polish).

D.C. United to Date

D.C. United were led by veteran midfielder Ben Olsen in Week 10, the University of Virginia product earning a first career hat trick in a 4-2 victory over a New York Red Bulls side that found tallies from former Fire midfielder Demo Kovalenko and Juan Pablo Angel. Tommy Soehn's squad overcame a winless April to earn a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution (5/3), then scoring three-straight wins with successive 2-1 scorelines over Chivas USA (5/6) at home, away at Toronto (5/19), then at RFK versus the Houston Dynamo (5/26). Combined with a 0-0 tie at the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 2, D.C. United has won four of its last six regular season games and the "Red and Black" sit tied with Chicago for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Fire History vs. United

Last year the Fire fared well against D.C. United, notching a 3-1-1 mark in the 2006 overall series across all MLS regular season and U.S. Open Cup play. Chicago dropped its first road test at D.C. on June 21, dropping a 1-0 decision at RFK Stadium, but would bounce back with a 1-1 draw on July 22 in the first-ever meeting at TOYOTA PARK. The Fire evened the 2006 over series on Sept. 6, with an emphatic 3-0 win over United in the U.S. Open Cup Semifinals at TOYOTA PARK, and notched another home victory 1-0 over D.C. just a few weeks later on Sept. 17. In Chicago's 2006 regular season finale on Oct. 15, the "Men in Red" came back from a 2-0 deficit to pull out a 3-2 win on D.C. soil. Chicago has done exceptionally well versus D.C. in the playoffs as well, boasting an undefeated 4-0-1 record in five all-time postseason match-ups. The Fire are now 12-11-5 in regular season matches against D.C. United, but just 4-8-2 in games contested inside the beltway.

Mapp Golden in U.S. - Trinidad Showdown

Fire midfielder Justin Mapp accepted the call to play for the U.S. Men's National Team on June 9, registering an assist on Brian Ching's 29th minute goal in a 2-0 win in the CONCACAF Gold Cup contest versus Trinidad & Tobago. The helper marked the Mississippi native's second international assist with the "Red, White, and Blue". Mapp was selected to the U.S. Men's National Team by head coach Bob Bradley on May 24, joining a 23-man roster that is seeking to defend their 2005 Gold Cup title. Mapp began the 2007 campaign training with the U.S. squad and registered the game-winning assist in a 2-0 win against Denmark on Jan. 20. The 22-year-old Brandon, Miss. native has made five overall appearances with the senior national team, dating back to his first ever appearance for the U.S. against Panama on Oct. 12, 2005. Mapp will be eligible continue with the squad for their next match-up on Tuesday, June 12, against El Salvador (6:00 p.m. CT, Fox Soccer Channel and TeleFutura).

"Chicago Fire Soccer Weekly" Radio Show - Bakary Soumare

"Chicago Fire Soccer Weekly", a half-hour weekly soccer talk show, will air its next broadcast via WXAV 88.3 FM from the campus of Saint Xavier University (SXU) this Tuesday, June 12, at 6:00 p.m. CT, and each week throughout the rest of the Fire's 2007 MLS campaign. The show's host, Angelo Bonadonna and guest co-host Kevin Kellam will talk with Fire rookie defender and second-overall 2007 SuperDraft pick Bakary Soumare. Fans are encouraged to call in at 708.429.0463 to talk about "Baki" and all things Fire-related - live over the airwaves and the internet, with podcasts available through Chicago Fire or WXAV subscriptions on iTunes. For more information visit www.wxav.com or www.chicago-fire.com.

Banner Debut

With four minutes of action on June 9 versus Chivas USA, rookie Mike Banner was the third of five 2007 SuperDraft selections to see first team minutes when he relieved defender Jim Curtin in the 86th minute. The Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville product has cut his teeth in the 2007 Reserve Division, playing four games (three starts) for 297 minutes of action for the Fire Reserves. First-rounder Bakary Soumare (2nd overall) and fellow first-rounder Jerson Monteiro (8th overall) have also seen time as of late, with Monteiro coming off the bench for three minutes against Chivas USA on June 9, while Soumare went the full 90 minutes the same game in his second start of the season.

Fire @ United an HDNet Exclusive Broadcast

Saturday's broadcast will be the second of six total HDNet broadcasts covering the "Men in Red" during their 2007 MLS regular season campaign. The broadcast booth duo of Glenn Davis and Marcelo Balboa will be on hand as the Fire take on D.C. United at RFK Stadium in glorious high-definition quality, and will air on HDNet exclusively. For a complete listing of upcoming MLS matches on HDNet, visit http://www.hd.net/mls.html.

Fire - Cracovia on June 22, presented by Illinois Express Phone Cards

Chicago Fire Soccer has announced that Illinois Express Phone Cards will be the presenting sponsor for the Fire's international friendly versus Polish side MKS Cracovia on Friday, June 22, at TOYOTA PARK. Kick-off for the Fire's first international match of 2007 from 71st and Harlem is set for 8:00 p.m. CT. The "Pasy", or Stripes, of Cracovia have won five league titles all-time. The oldest active club in Poland, Cracovia was founded in 1906. Tickets can be purchased through the TOYOTA PARK box office and other Ticketmaster outlets.

Pause on Pause

Fire midfielder Logan Pause has been ruled out of Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan's line-up for the time being as he tends to a severe concussion injury suffered in practice on Saturday, June 2, leading up to the Columbus game on June 3. Pause went up for a header off a corner kick attempt and collided heads with defender Jeff Curtin, resulting in an injury that required five stitches. Though he did break any facial bones, Pause could miss two to four weeks of practice, and may wear a protective headgear unit upon his return.

Guerrero Goes Gold

Fire midfielder Ivan Guerrero has been tabbed to represent Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will be in the "Catrachos" camp from June 6-24. Guerrero has been a constant fixture in the Honduras National Team starting line-up over the past eight years and was last called up for friendlies in late March of 2007. Guerrero has competed in the tournament before, starting in all five of Honduras' games in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, leading the country on a surprising run to the tournament's semifinal round, scoring the lone goal on July 21, 2005 versus the U.S. in a 2-1 loss.

Fire Forward Breakdown:

Barrett, Chad - 3G/1A - 869 minutes - 11 games/10 starts (Scored game-winner in 3-2 win vs. CLB on June 3) Carr, Calen - 1G/0A - 442 minutes - 9 games/4 starts (Last scored in 2-1 loss vs. DAL on May 17) Monteiro, Jerson - 0G/0A - 43 minutes - 3 games/0 starts (Made MLS debut on May 27 vs. RSL) Rolfe, Chris - 4G/3A - 495 minutes - 6 games/6 starts (Has missed last five games due to ankle injury)

U.S. Open Cup Rings Awarded

Fans of the Fire were in for a treat the night of June 9, as members of the 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup-winning squad were honored prior to the start of the Fire - Chivas USA match. A highlight video tribute to the 2006 "Men in Red" gave a look at the past season's achievements, with Fire President/CEO John Guppy on hand to present each Open Cup-winning player and coach with a 2006 U.S. Open Cup Championship ring prior to kick-off. The Fire clinched their MLS club-record fourth Open Cup title on Sept. 27, 2006, defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 at TOYOTA PARK.

All-Time Attendance Mark Reached Last Saturday

The "Men in Red" played in front of their largest MLS home crowd ever at TOYOTA PARK in Saturday's Fire-Chivas USA match-up, with 20,407 fans packing into the Fire's soccer-specific home. The previous all-time attendance mark was set on June 25, 2006, when the Fire opened TOYOTA PARK in front of 20,133 fans. The second-largest crowd to date for Chicago's 2007 campaign came in the Fire home opener on April 7 against New England, with 15,353 in attendance.

Chicago Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan

Now in his fifth season, head coach Dave Sarachan owns a career record of 55-49-31 (.522). Among MLS coaches, Sarachan ranks tenth all-time in winning percentage (10 wins minimum) and 12th in overall wins. He has led Chicago to the postseason in three of the last four years, including an appearance in MLS Cup 2003. Under Sarachan's direction, the Fire have captured two Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2003, 2006). Sarachan was named MLS Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Fire to the league's best record (Supporters Shield).

Around the Town

Chicago Fire fans can catch their favorite members of the "Men in Red" as they make public appearances throughout Chicagoland this week. Fire sophomore defender Jeff Curtin will be on hand to sign autographs and join a question and answer session at the Illinois Youth Soccer Association State Camp at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. on Tuesday, June 12, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. CT. Fire defender Gonzalo Segares will be signing autographs at an AthletiCo. Open House event on Thursday, June 14, at the AthletiCo. facility located at 4080 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago from 6:30-8:00 p.m. CT. Fire goalkeeper Nick Noble and defender Osei Telesford will be available as the "Men in Red" hosts its popular Community Soccer Series on Saturday, June 16, in Marquette Park, located a 6734 S. Kedzie Ave. in Chicago from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. CT.

Fire Premier in First Place After 2-0 Win Over Indiana Invaders

The Chicago Fire Premier (5-1-3, 18 pts.) of the Premier Development League (PDL) moved into first place in the Great Lakes Division with an important 2-0 road win Sunday evening over the Indiana Invaders (2-2-2, 9 pts.) at the Indiana Invaders Soccer Complex in South Bend, Indiana. Chicago scored both goals early in the first half, with a Marcus McCarty (NIU) 3rd minute goal that was assisted by Neil Hvalaty (Boston University). The second tally came in the 15th minute, scored by midfielder Cesar Zambrano (UIC), assisted by David Roth (Northwestern). The Fire Premier will once again travel to South Bend in a second-straight contest against the Indiana Invaders on Saturday, June 16, at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Indiana Invaders Soccer Complex before returning home to play the St. Louis Lions on Thursday, June 21, at 6:00 p.m. CT (location TBD). For more information on the Chicago Fire Premier, visit www.chicagofirepremier.com.

Fire Super-20s Return to Action Saturday

The Fire Super-20s travel to South Bend, Ind. to double their pleasure against the Indiana Invaders Super-20s on Saturday, June 16, at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Indiana Invaders Soccer Complex. The Chicago Fire Super-20 squad earned a 1-0 win over the Invaders in the team's first official match in TOYOTA PARK on Sunday, May 27, following the Chicago Fire first team match against Real Salt Lake. The Fire Super-20s returned to action on Thursday, June 7, tying the Kalamazoo Kingdom 2-2 at the Loyola University Soccer Complex. The Fire Super-20s currently sit third in the Midwest U20B Division. The Super-20s practice at the two soccer fields in Burr Ridge near 74th and Wolf Road. For more information about the Fire Super-20, visit www.chicagofirepremier.com.

Jeff Curtin Back from Suspension

Head Coach Dave Sarachan has one more defensive option at his disposal this Saturday, as sophomore defender Jeff Curtin returns from a one-game suspension handed down by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Fans of the "Men in Red" may have done a double-take on June 3, as veteran Chicago Fire defender Jim Curtin came on in the 73rd minute to fill the defensive gap left by his younger brother, who was ejected in the 63rd minute with a dual yellow booking. Younger Curtin, a four-year Georgetown product, missed almost his entire 2006 rookie season due to a season-ending surgery to repair an athletic Pubalgia (sports hernia) condition (5/10). He and older brother Jim are the ninth set of brothers to make the ranks of MLS, and the second to do so as members of the Fire, joining Jamar and DaMarcus Beasley.

Chicago Fire Announces Sixth Annual Girls High School All-State All-Academic Team

Chicago Fire Soccer, in conjunction with the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association, announced on Wednesday, June 6, the Sixth Annual Girls High School Soccer All-State All-Academic Team. This year's first-team of 24 student-athletes were honored at the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State Banquet on Thursday, June 7, at the Diplomat West Banquet Hall in Elmhurst, Ill. The first-team selections will be joined by the 21 second-team All-State Special Mention selections, 22 third-team All-State Honorable Mention selections, and 124 members of the Boys 2006 All-State All-Academic team on the field for a special recognition during the Fire's upcoming match against Toronto FC on Saturday, July 7, at TOYOTA PARK. High school soccer coaches from throughout the state of Illinois were asked to nominate senior student athletes with a grade-point-average of "B" or higher, have contributed to their high school soccer program for at least three seasons, and have been involved in at least two other school or community extra-curricular activities.

"The Fire would like to once again thank the IHSSCA for allowing us to take part in the 2007 All-State Banquet," said Fire Senior Director of Community Relations Donald Ortale. "The popularity of making the All-State All-Academic Team has risen among the high school coaches and their athletes with each of the teams that have been named. The Fire is excited to have the opportunity to reward these amazing student-athletes for their work both on and off the soccer field."

Brown, Carr, Segares, on League's Yellow Card Watch List

The Fire has been one of the more congenial teams in MLS this season, as evidenced by Chicago ranking eighth in MLS in fouls committed (141), fourth in fouls suffered (154), yet somehow still ranks third in the league in yellow card cautions (23). Three members of the "Men in Red" are in jeopardy of earning suspensions due to caution accumulation, as defender Gonzalo Segares currently sits on four yellow cards and another caution Saturday against D.C. United would give the Costa Rican a one-game suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Fire forward Calen Carr and defender C.J. Brown are both two cautions away, totaling three yellow card cautions apiece to date for the 2007 campaign.

Marcelo Salas in Fire Camp

Chilean international legend José Marcelo Salas Melinao was in Chicago as he joined the "Men in Red" for a Thursday training session and a physical exam on Friday, June 1. Discussions regarding the forward's future with the Fire are still ongoing. A left-footed striker, Salas brings a wealth of international experience. Salas spent 11 years with the Chilean National Team, scoring a record 35-goals while earning 65 caps. In the 1998 World Cup, he scored four goals in four games. The 32-year-old Salas split time between Universidad de Chile (1993-96, 2005-06) and River Plate (1996-98), an Argentine First Division club. Nicknamed "El Matador", Salas also spent five years in Italy's Serie A, going to S.S. Lazio (1998-01) for an $18 million transfer fee before landing with Juventus (2001-03).

Fisher Nuts "Nuttiest Fan of the Game"

Are you the wildest, craziest, and most passionate Fire fan at each home game? Do you cheer louder than Section 8? Wear your Chicago Fire jerseys, scarves, and hats proudly every match? Do you come to the game with your face painted and your hair dyed red? If so, you could be the next winner of Fisher Nuts "Nuttiest Fan of the Game" contest. At each Fire home game at TOYOTA PARK, representatives from Chicago Fire staff will be on a search for the most spirited fan in the crowd. The winner will receive a Chicago Fire Gift Pack and be recognized during halftime of each game. This contest is for all ages, so all fans of the Fire are encouraged to come support the "Men in Red" and become the next "Nuttiest Fan of the Game".

Value City Furniture "Best Seat in the House"

Ever wonder what the best seat in the stadium would be like? Get tired of the hard plastic stadium seats? Well now is your chance to sit in the Value City Furniture's "Best Seat in the House", located just next to the visiting team's benches in the front row. For every Fire home game at TOYOTA PARK, the Chicago Fire staff will upgrade two fans into the sofa chairs giving two lucky fans a unique front row experience of the game. Both winners will be announced and shown on the stage-end video board before the start of every home game. Fire fans, be sure to wear your favorite Chicago Fire gear to each home game and it could be you selected next to sit in the Value City Furniture's "Best Seat in the House".

Blanco Watch

Cuauhtémoc Blanco, the Chicago Fire's Designated Player signing, scored a penalty kick-goal in the 29th minute for Mexico's lone tally before being sent off in the 49th minute in Sunday's 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in a 2-1 loss to Honduras in Giants Stadium. The 34-year-old attacker has been selected to the Mexican National Team after closing out his career with Mexican First Division side Club América. Overall, the native of Mexico City, Mexico tallied seven goals and six assists through 1,530 minutes of action for the 2007 Clausura regular season. Blanco will become an official member of the "Men in Red" on July 1 and will be eligible to play that day in Chicago's match-up with the Colorado Rapids at TOYOTA PARK (6:00 p.m. CT, Comcast SportsNet).

FireWorks For Kids 2007 Golf Retreat Set for July 19-21

Join other loyal Fire fans for the all-inclusive FireWorks For Kids Foundation (FWFK) 2007 Golf Retreat at the spectacular Eagles Nest Ranch in Denver, Colorado this July 19-21. The ninth annual FWFK trip includes airfare, transportation, meals, accommodations for two nights, a new set of golf clubs, a ticket to the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star game at the new Dick's Sporting Goods Park, fishing, hiking, golfing and more. All proceeds from the annual Golf Retreat benefit the FireWorks For Kids Foundation. For more information or to request an invitation to attend the 2007 Golf Retreat, please contact the Foundation office at 708-496-6740 or e-mail at [email protected]

Join the Fire's Fight Against Malaria

Join Chicago Fire midfielder Diego Gutierrez in the battle against malaria. Major League Soccer joined the effort against malaria through its community outreach initiative - MLS W.O.R.K.S. - collaborating with the Nothing But Nets and Malaria No More campaigns. For more information on malaria awareness and how to donate, log on to www.NothingButNets.net or www.malariaNOMORE.org.

Quick Kicks vs. D.C. United

- The Fire's all-time record in MLS regular season play against the "Black and Red" of D.C. is 12-11-5, which includes a 4-8-2 mark at RFK Stadium.

- Chicago averages 10.9 shots per game, 5.27 shots on goal per game through 2007.

- Not one player on the D.C.'s current roster has ever suited up for the Fire. Chicago midfielder Justin Mapp made three appearances (7/24, 8/17, 9/14) for United during his 2002 rookie season, while Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch was part of the D.C. United roster during the 1999 campaign, but did not play.

- Only goalkeeper Matt Pickens and defenders Gonzalo Segares and C.J. Brown have played every game this season for the "Men in Red", with Pickens and Segares playing all 990 possible minutes across 11 games.

- Chicago has seen at least one yellow card caution in each of its 11 regular season games this season.

- No player on United's current roster has ever suited up for the Fire, but the "Men in Red" are quite with familiar United Head Coach Tom Soehn, who played for the Fire from 1998-2000 and served as an assistant coach for the following three seasons. Soehn is also a Chicago native, having played his collegiate ball at Western Illinois University.

- Fire defender C.J. Brown celebrates his 32nd birthday on Friday, June 15.

- Former Fire midfielder Alexandre Boucicaut's 72nd minute goal salvaged a 1-1 for Haiti on Saturday, June 9, against Costa Rica in 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup group play.

- The Fire's active leaders against D.C. United are: Games Played - C.J. Brown (26), Goals - Chris Rolfe (3), Assists - Chris Armas (6), Fouls Committed - C.J. Brown (51), Fouls Suffered - Chris Armas, C.J. Brown (35), Minutes Played - C.J. Brown (2,304), Shots - Chris Rolfe (19), Shots On Goal - Chris Rolfe (9).

- Chivas USA midfielder Paulo Nagamura's previously unassisted goal last Saturday has been corrected by MLS to read as assisted by Ante Razov and Maykel Galindo.

- Chicago is 3-0-0 this season when scoring the game's first goal, 2-0-0 when leading at halftime.

- Caution Watch - Chad Barrett (2c), C.J. Brown (3c), Calen Carr (3c), Diego Gutierrez (2c, 1e), Jeff Curtin (2c, 1e), Jim Curtin (2c), Logan Pause (1c), Dasan Robinson (2c), Gonzalo Segares (4c), Bakary Soumare (1c), Thiago (1c).


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