International showdown: Storm battle La Raza de Monterrey
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - The Chicago Storm were the first Major Indoor Soccer League team to greet expansion La Raza de Monterrey to the league. Chicago dropped host Monterrey, 16-12, in November of 2007. The Storm (13-9) head back to Monterrey, Mexico, for a road clash at 8:35 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at Arena de Monterrey.
The two teams square off again at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Sears Centre. Heading into Thursday's match, La Raza (10-11) and the Storm are tied in the season series at 1-1. Monterrey has won its past four matches, the longest current winning streak in the MISL.
"We knew they were going to be stronger down the line with the more games they had to jell," Storm head coach Steve Morris said. "They're an expansion team, and they've definitely moved forward. They have some talented players who can score a lot."
The Storm are in fourth place in the MISL standings, two games behind the first-place Milwaukee Wave. Monterrey is 4 1/2 games behind Milwaukee.
For the second leg of this and next week's home-and-home against Monterrey, the Storm have a jam-packed March 8 event at the Sears Centre Arena. Following that match is a concert by Duelo as part of the Univision Concert Series, brought to you by Comcast. March 8 also is the Storm's annual Green Jersey Auction, with game-worn green jerseys opening with $75 bids apiece. And the second annual Girl Scouts Kick-It with the Storm event also takes place that day. Tickets start at $16. Call (866) STORM-81 or visit ChicagoStorm.net.
STORM UPDATE - Points leaders: Three Storm players rank in the MISL's top 20 in points. Matthew Stewart is tied for 11th with 46 points, and he leads the Storm with 20 goals (all two-pointers). Carlos "Chile" Farias is 18th with 41 points. Farias has 17 assists and 11 goals (two three-pointers). Stephen Armstrong is tied for 19th with 40 points, and he leads the league in three-point goals with eight. - Storm's La Raza connection: Mariano Bollella and Fabinho won a championship for La Raza when the Mexican-based team was part of the World Indoor Soccer League, and Bollella was the league's most valuable player that 2000 season. - Road/home tendencies: The Storm are 7-5 at the Sears Centre and 6-4 on the road. Monterrey holds a 6-4 record at Arena de Monterrey and a 4-7 mark on the road. - Quotable: "They fought their hearts out tonight. It just wasn't going our way. ... I'm a big believer in that you earn your luck." - Chicago Storm head coach Steve Morris, following the team's 19-9 loss to the Baltimore Blast
LA RAZA UPDATE - La Raza vs. Storm, head-to-head: The Storm and La Raza de Monterrey have split their two previous matches this season. Chicago topped host Monterrey, 16-12, on Nov. 1, 2007, during La Raza's MISL debut, with Stephen Armstrong and Chile Farias each scoring two second-half goals. On Jan. 4, La Raza clipped the Storm, 16-14, at the Sears Centre. Victor Negrete's goal with 50 seconds remaining in regulation gave La Raza the two-point advantage. - Monterrey on a roll: La Raza's four-game winning streak currently is the best in the MISL. Monterrey has hopped up to sixth in the standings and 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Wave, needing one more victory to reach the .500 mark. Monterrey's offense also is tops in the league with 300 points. La Raza's defense, though, has given up 290 points, second-worst in the MISL. - Chicago ties: Monterrey head coach Erich Geyer made his head coaching debut with the Chicago Sting of the original Major Indoor Soccer League from 1986 to 1988.
The Chicago Storm are members of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Storm offices are located at 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy., in Hoffman Estates. For more information on all aspects of Storm soccer, including season tickets, group outings, birthday parties and more, call (866) STORM-81, or visit ChicagoStorm.net.
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