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Fire Take on Wizards for First Time at Cardinal Stadium

August 14, 2002 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire FC News Release

CHICAGO, IL (Wednesday, August 14, 2002) - The Chicago Fire (8-9-4, 28 pts.) will return to Cardinal Stadium at North Central College to take on the Kansas City Wizards for the first time this season tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcasted via radio on WBIG AM 1280 (English), WIND AM 560 (Spanish), and WNVR AM 1030 (Polish). A win tonight will put Chicago in first-place in the Eastern Conference, but with a tie the Fire will have to rely on the Los Angeles Galaxy defeating or drawing the Columbus Crew (8-10-4, 28 pts.) tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT at Crew Stadium.

Thus far, the Fire holds a commanding 10-2-0 advantage on the Kansas City Wizards in the all-time series (6-0-0 @ home and 4-2-0 @ Arrowhead Stadium). Fire all-time leading scorer Ante Razov has pummeled KC with seven goals and two assists for 16 points in eight games. Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton has posted a 10-1-0 record against the Wizards with five shutouts and a minuscule 0.73 GAA. Kansas City currently occupies the cellar in the Western Conference with an 8-6-8 mark for 32 points, but is only two points behind second-place Dallas and six behind the defending MLS Cup champion and league-leading San Jose Earthquakes. KC is captained by MLS Player of the Week Tony Meola, who currently leads all goalkeepers in goals against average with 0.93 mark. Meola's MVP 10-save performance in MLS Cup 2000 led the Wizards to a 1-0 win against the Fire at RFK Stadium.

The Fire has not faced off against Kansas City in MLS play, since destroying the Wizards 7-0 on July 4, 2001, in a contest that set several marks including largest margin of victory in a shutout. The teams did face each other a week later in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with the Fire winning 1-0 on a late goal by Hristo Stoitchkov.

Chicago Fire vs. Kansas City Wizards

Wednesday, August 14 @ 7:30 p.m. CT: Cardinal Stadium
Satellite Coordinates: KU Band SBS 6, Transponder 7
Radio: WNVR AM 1030 (Polish); WIND AM 560 (Spanish); WBIG AM 1280 (English)

Time Capsule

The Fire had milestones topple during its club record 7-0 destruction of the 2000 MLS Cup Champion Kansas City Wizards on July 4, 2001. Immediately after the opening whistle, Jamar Beasley scored the quickest goal in team history with a strike 27 seconds into play assisted by Eric Wynalda and Zach Thornton. Midfielder Sergi Daniv tallied in the seventh minute to mark his first career MLS goal. Jamar teamed up with his younger brother DaMarcus to assist on Eric Wynalda's 44th minute goal, which was the first time the brother combination did so on a goal together. In the 72nd minute, Peter Nowak finished off his 20th career goal for the Fire on David Vaudreuil's first ever assist for the team in his Fire debut. Nowak also equaled his point production on the season with two goals and two assists in the game and later scored his 21st career tally. Second half sub Hristo Stoitchkov slammed home two goals (83rd and 88th minutes) in only 12 minutes of play to finish the thrashing and give the Fire its 10th win over the Wizards all-time (10-2-0 vs. Kansas City). The win set a new MLS mark for largest shutout win and tied a league record for largest win margin set on June 4, 1998 when Los Angeles crushed Dallas 8-1. KC goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi was in goal during the contest.

Quick Hits

* Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley has suffered a team-high 51 fouls (tied for third in MLS) in 12 games for an average of 4.3 fouls a game. Jesse Marsch is second on the team with 41. MetroStars midfielder Andy Williams leads with 64 suffered in 17 games (3.8 avg.), New England's Taylor Twellman is second with 60 in 21 (2.9), Colorado's Mark Chung is tied with Beasley for third and has been fouled 51 times in 21 games (2.4).

* Jim Curtin has been issued 20 caution points and will be suspended for a game if he is issued another yellow card.

* Fire forward Hristo Stoitchkov's amazing freekick goal against the Dallas Burn last weekend was his first for the Fire since July 21, 2001, in a 2-1 overtime win over the Burn at Soldier Field.

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