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Fire Tie Celtic FC 1-1 in International Friendly

July 22, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Chicago Fire News Release

BRIDGEVIEW, IL (July 22, 2007) - The Chicago Fire tied 2007 Scottish Premier League Champions Celtic FC in front of 15,719 fans in an international friendly today at TOYOTA PARK. Fire forward Cuauhtémoc Blanco provided the lone goal for the "Men in Red" today in the 30th minute in his Chicago Fire debut. Celtic FC forward Derek Riordan finished for the "Hoops" in the 80th minute to bring the final score to Fire 1-1.

The Fire took the lead in the 30th minute as Blanco received a ball from forward Chad Barrett in the middle of the field from forty yards out and carried it toward goal, slipping a pass behind the final Celtic defender right back to himself for a one-on-one with goalkeeper Artur Boruc. As Boruc came off his line to shut down the angle, "Temo" took a touch to the left to beat the keeper and slotted home his first goal for the "Men in Red".

Blanco nearly doubled the lead at the end of the first half as Carr slipped him the ball across the top of the 18-yard box for a one-time left footed shot towards the left upper 90, but an outstretched Boruc got a hand on the ball to steer it out-of-bounds.

In the 54th minute, a string of passes between Fire midfielder and captain Chris Armas, Carr, and Blanco inside the 18-yard box nearly resulted in the second goal of the match, but Celtic goalkeeper Mark Brown, who subbed in at the half for Boruc, made a key save and cleared the ball with the help of his defense.

Celtic FC leveled the score in the 80th minute as midfielder Massimo Donati sent a ball from the top right corner of the 18-yard box to midfielder Derek Riordan positioned just inside the box on the left side. Riordan powerfully one-timed the cross past Busch for the game-tying goal.

"I am very disappointed we did not win this game," said Fire head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. "If we had finished on at least 25 percent of our chances we would have won that game by at least a two goal difference. We'll continue to work on our finishing and I think we can improve on that. We had better possession today and I think in general we did quite well but we'll continue to improve. There is only one way to do it and that is work on the training pitch and we'll continue to do that."

The tie tonight brings the Fire to 11-6-3 all-time in international competition and 5-3-2 in friendlies contested at home. The Fire return to action on Wednesday, July 25, as the "Men in Red" take on Club Santos Laguna of the Mexican First Division in their third and final international friendly of the 2007. Kickoff from Los Coyotes Stadium in La Joya, Texas is set for 7:00 p.m. CT.

Fire Lineup: GK-Matt Pickens (Jon Busch 45), D-Diego Gutierrez, D-C.J. Brown (Dasan Robinson 65), D-Gonzalo Segares, M-Chris Armas (Captain) (Brian Plotkin 65), M-Ivan Guerrero, M-Bakary Soumare (Willian Oliveira 77), M-Cuauhtémoc Blanco (Thiago 58), M-Bruno Menezes (Logan Pause 45) F-Chad Barrett (Floyd Franks 59), F-Calen Carr.

Celtic FC Lineup: GK-Artur Boruc (Mark Brown 45), D-Mark Wilson, D-Lee Naylor, D-Steven Pressley, D-Stephen McManus (Captain), M-Andrea Capone (Massimo Donati 45), M-Scott Brown, M-Paul Hartley (Theodore Bjarnason 56), M-Aiden McGeady (Derek Riordan 71), F-Maciej Zurawski (Scott McDonald 56), F-Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (Chris Killen 77).

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