The Fire head to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA this Friday. Kick-off is at 10:00 PM CST with the game being broadcast on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com. Guillermo Rivera of Fire Confidential confirmed that Austin Berry will start at center back in the place of the suspended Jalil Anibaba. Chris Rolfe will miss yet another game but is making progress. Rivera has some other nuggets that are a must read. Len Ziehm of CSNChicago had a great story on how Anibaba found out about his red card.
"I found out from our PR personnel yesterday," he said following Tuesday's training session in Bridgeview. "He asked if I'd been told I received a red card. I said no, but we checked on line and they said I got one for fighting. Actually, I heard three different things -- one was for fighting, one was for starting a fight and one was for the challenge. So, I'm not too sure."
That's absurd. Ziehm has some other great insights from Anibaba and Klopas so be sure to check that out. More Fire news of the absurd and the unabsurd kind after the break.
Chicago Fire Equipment Manager Charles Raycroft revealed that the Fire will be wearing the navy blue jersey on Friday. That's not surprising given Chivas USA's home colors but Chicago is being forced to wear their red shorts instead of the monochrome navy look. I'm typically not much of a kit nerd as the cool kids like to call it but man, that look sounds terrible. The Chicago Fire Flag Jersey: now it's not only demanded by the fans, it's practical for games too.
Chicago Fire PDL
U.S. Open Cup season has begun. The United States Soccer Federation announced the pairings for the first round of the USOC this past Tuesday. Chicago Fire's PDL team hosts the Croatian Eagles (USASA) at the Toyota Park Practice Field on Tuesday, May 15th at 6:00 p.m. CST. Section 8 Chicago is organizing fan support for the PDL squad. Chicago Riot fans might recognize the Eagles goalie: the legendary Ante Cop. James Coston recently chatted with PDL head coach Mark Spooner and we'll have that interview up soon. Great minds think alike though as team writer Jeff Crandall interviewed Spooner in his most recent 'All-In' podcast.
While on the USOC, I'll point out that the 2nd Round will take place on May 22nd. The Chicago Fire senior team will join the action in the 3rd on Tuesday, May 29th. We won't know the opponent or the venue for that game for several days. However, the Fire are likely to play Minnesota Stars FC, Des Moines Menace, Milwaukee Bavarians, Dayton Dutch Lions, Croatian Eagles, or the Michigan Bucks depending on who remains in the field. Chicago isn't guaranteed to host the game but fans should keep that Tuesday, May 29th night free on the calendar. We will keep you posted as updates become available. For a full picture of the field, check out this glorious bracket courtesy of thecup.us.
Chicago Fire Academy
The U-18 team saw their 11-game winning streak snapped over the weekend. However, the 0-0 draw against Indiana Fire Academy might have been the best way to have that happen. The U-18 squad is in first place in the Great Lakes Division and was recently ranked the top team in the entire country. Opponents of the U-18 squad have been outscored 37-3 in the last 12 games dating back to December 3, 2011. The Fire will look to build on that impressive form when they play Crew Soccer Academy Wolves on May 5 and Vardar SC Freiburg on May 6. Both games take place at 11:00 AM at the Toyota Park Practice Field.
Both U-18 games will be followed by U-16 games played against the same academies in the same location at 1:30 PM. U-16s trail Crew Soccer Academy Wolves by one point for first place so this weekend is pretty important for them. They haven't been as dominant as the U-18s. The U-16s deserve high praise for their 9-2-1 record in their last 12 games, their 5 game winning streak, and outscoring their opponents 11-3 in their last 5 matches.
Yesterday, TopDrawerSoccer.com released their top 150 players nationwide in the 2015 class. Chicago Fire players Collin Fernandez (27), Michael Jiminez (56), and Jacob Roth (132) all made the list.
Art of Futbol
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Arte y Vida Chicago will showcase work from Chicagoland artists who submitted original works that celebrate love and passion for soccer and community at the second annual Art of Futbol exhibition at the Society Art Gallery (2140 W. Fulton Street, Chicago, IL 60612) on Wednesday, May 16 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. CT.
Hosted by the Chicago Fire Foundation, the club has put out a call to Chicagoland artists looking for original works that celebrate the game of soccer and everything it represents. Each individual views soccer in a different perspective and artists are asked to submit original works displayed through various mediums including paint, pencil, photography, poetry and digital.
The exhibition will also feature an original modern art piece by Chicago Fire Defender Dan Gargan, who minored in studio art while attending Georgetown University. Artists interested in creating and submitting original artwork can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets to the event, which benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation, can be purchased here.
MLS Wednesday Games
New England knocked off Colorado 2-1 at home. The Revolution now stand at 9 points with 8 games played. Chicago trails them with 8 points but they have 2 games in hand. There's no time to be playing at the same pace of teams like New England. Seattle defeated Los Angeles 2-0. LA put out a makeshift lineup that included former Bradley University and Fire PDL player Bryan Gaul. Gaul made his MLS debut. San Jose overcame D.C. United in a 5-3 barnburner. The result helps the Fire gain ground on their Eastern conference foe who now have played 4 more games than Chicago and have 7 more points. There are opportunities to be had out there. Time to win of most of the six MLS league games in May and cap it all of with a victory in the U.S. Open Cup on May 29.