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Fire Faces Kansas City Wizards Saturday

April 20, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

Chicago Fire/AthletiCo "Recovery Room"

Pause, Logan - R groin strain - QUESTIONABLE

Fire History vs. Kansas City Wizards

Chicago fared well against the Wizards through 2006, taking regular season series 2-1-1. Competing in 28 previous regular season meetings, the Fire now sits on a comfortable 17-7-4 series advantage, winning its previous first two regular season contests (7/4/06, 8/16/06) played within the confines of TOYOTA PARK. Saturday's game is also a re-match of the Fire's 2006 U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round 2-0 blanking of the Wizards on Aug. 14, 2006 to advance to the Quarterfinals. Chicago's overall mark against the Wizards is 19-9-3 in all competitions (MLS regular season, U.S. Open Cup & MLS Cup Playoffs), boasting a near-spotless 11-1-1 record in games contested in Chicagoland.

Sarachan - Coach of Coaches

As a coach for nearly a quarter-decade, Chicago Fire Head Coach Dave Sarachan has seen many of his players come and go, even a select few become coaches themselves. Wizards Head Coach Curt Onalfo and Assistant Coach Kris Kelderman are two such examples of former players under Sarachan to take the coaching plunge, both having played for the 2003 MLS Coach of the Year at the University of Virginia in 1987 and 1988. Other former players of note who played for Sarachan at D.C. United and have moved on to the coaching ranks include John Harkes (Red Bulls assistant) and Richie Williams (Red Bulls assistant).

2006 U.S. Open Cup Revisited

In what was the biggest match-up between the two clubs in 2006, the Chicago Fire played host to the Kansas City Wizards on Aug. 14, 2006 in a Fourth Round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash at TOYOTA PARK. The "Men in Red" advanced in convincing fashion, defeating Kansas City 2-0. Rookie midfielder Calen Carr tallied his first-ever goal in Open Cup play in the 18th minute, while the second goal in the 65th minute came courtesy of a smooth header by former Fire forward Andy Herron.

FWFK Auctions to Assist Virginia Tech Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund

During Saturday's game, the FireWorks for Kids Foundation (FWFK), the charitable of Chicago Fire Soccer, will offer the proceeds from its game day auction to benefit the Virginia Tech Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. Up for auction is Fire midfielder Brian Plotkin's "Plotty Pack", which includes a game-worn jersey and set of cleats from the Naperville-native, as well as a meet-and-greet opportunity with number 16 himself (date TBD). Also up for auction is a game-worn Fire forward Chris Rolfe jersey from the 2007 home opener, as well as an authentic Kansas City Wizards forward Eddie Johnson 2007-edition jersey. To bid on any of the select items, please visit the FWFK booth on the northeast concourse during the game.

Blanco Watch

Club América striker Cuauhtémoc Blanco signed a Designated Player contract with the Chicago Fire on April 3 and is expected to join the "Men in Red" in July, upon completion of América's 2007 closing (Clausura) tournament. In 11 games played this season for the "Aguilas", or Eagles, Blanco ranks second on the team in goal-scoring with four tallies to go with his four assists. Club América (8-4-3) currently stands third in the Mexican First Division standings, playing host to Atlante this Sunday at Azteca Stadium (TeleFutura, 4 p.m. CT).

Quick Kicks vs. Kansas City Wizards - Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens is second all-time in Fire goalkeeper wins with 8, tied with Henry Ring.

- Chicago's active leaders against Kansas City are: Games Played - C.J. Brown (23); Games Started - C.J. Brown (23); Goals - Diego Gutierrez & Justin Mapp (4); Assists - Justin Mapp (8); Fouls Suffered - Justin Mapp (30).

- Fire midfielder Chris Armas marked career start 238 - good enough for tenth-best all-time in MLS - as of Sunday's 1-1 draw at Colorado.

- Chicago boasts the second all-time home record with a .683 winning percentage, just behind Los Angeles' .685.

- The Fire leads the all-time regular season series against the Wizards in goals (61), shots (366), shots on goal (163), and corner kicks (135).

- Caution watch - Chad Barrett (2), Calen Carr (1), Diego Gutierrez (1).

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Major League Soccer Stories from April 20, 2007

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