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Fire PDL Team Qualifies for Elite Eight and Super-20 Team Qualifies for National Championships

July 30, 2009 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

CHICAGO, IL (July 29, 2009) - The Chicago Fire Premier Development League (PDL) and Super-20 teams helped the Chicago Fire program to become the first MLS Player Development program to qualify for the National Championship in both leagues, following the PDL's 2-1 win on Saturday, July 25th in the Great Lakes Division Championship match over the Kalamazoo Outrage.

The Fire PDL team avenged the Kalamazoo Outrage in an exciting matchup, as the Outrage was the only team to beat the Fire earlier this season. The Fire had a thrilling comeback victory after Tom Oatley from Kalamazoo posted the first goal in the 63rd minute. The Fire responded quickly with a 66th minute penalty kick by Chris Cutshau (Bradley University) after Justin Morrow (Notre Dame University) was fouled in the penalty box. The Fire followed with a game-winning-goal in the 79th minute by Rich Edgar (George Mason University), assisted by Mark Blades (Northwestern University). The Fire PDL's regular season record stands at 12-1-5.

The Fire PDL moves on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003 when current first team players Chris Rolfe and Dasan Robinson lead the PDL to the championship game where they were defeated by the Cape Cod Crusaders by a score of 2-0. The PDL advances to the National Quarterfinals versus the Ocean City Barons on Friday, July 31st at 5:00 PM in Des Moines, Iowa. If they win, they will advance to the semi-finals on Saturday, August 1st at 7:30 PM in Des Moines to face the winner of Des Moines Menace versus Cary Clarets, who will also play Friday, July 31st at 7:30 PM. The North American Championship match will take place on Saturday, August 8th.

The Super-20 team is looking to defend its 2008 North American Championship title this Thursday, July 30th versus HC United from Tampa, Florida. The match will take place at 12:00 PM in Rockford, Illinois. This will be the first match of group play for the Super-20 team. They will continue group play on Friday, July 31st versus Northern Virginia Royals from Woodbridge, Virginia at 10:00 AM, and will finish group play on Saturday, August 1st versus fellow MLS player development team Chivas USA at 10:00 AM. If the Super-20 team advances, they will play in the semi-finals on Saturday, August 1st at 6:00 PM. The final of the North American Championships will take place on Sunday, August 2nd at 11:00 AM. In addition to the Chicago Fire, DC United, Red Bulls New York and Chivas USA make up the other MLS development teams in the North American Championships.

"The Fire believes in total player development and being the only MLS team to operate teams at the PDL and U-20 level highlights this belief. We have had great success on the field this season, with the PDL team making the Elite Eight and the Super-20 team making its third consecutive National Championship. We hope to finish the season with two National Championship teams," said Paul Cadwell, Senior Manager of Player Development.

ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER

Chicago Fire Soccer was founded on October 8, 1997 as a Major League Soccer expansion team. The Fire won the MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998 and was crowned the champion of U.S. Soccer's national tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. In June 2006, the Fire moved into its world-class home of TOYOTA PARK, located in Bridgeview, IL.

ABOUT TOYOTA PARK

Located 15 minutes from downtown Chicago and minutes from Midway airport off of I-55 on Harlem Avenue, TOYOTA PARK is the Midwest's preeminent outdoor live entertainment and sporting facility. Opened in 2006, TOYOTA PARK not only serves as the home of the Chicago Fire, but also hosts a variety of sporting events, special events and concerts by national and international artists. In 2009, artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Phish will perform live at TOYOTA PARK.


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