The Chicago Fire take on Honduran side Real España in an international preseason friendly at New Orleans' Tad Gormley Stadium today, Saturday, February 4, at 5:00 p.m. CST. This whole trip has been in conjunction with the Youth Development Program, the Chicago Fire Juniors - Louisiana. Earlier today, fans had the chance to meet and greet Fire players at three CFJ-LA campuses: Audubon Park, City Park and Lions Park. An open public training session was held at Lafreniere Park in Metairie, LA. Lyons Yellin of the Times-Picayune did a great job highlighting how the Fire ended up with a Juniors program in Louisiana and what it means to Chicago.
Tonight's game will feature two groups of Fire players playing 45 minutes each instead of the three groups getting 30 minutes of playing time like in Florida. More notes on the game after the break.
UPDATE: There might be a stream of the game on this Ustream channel. A Fire fan has setup their phone to stream the game. Their arm might start hurting or the feed might go down but hey, it's better than nothing.
The Fire have looked into streaming every game this preseason but the setup in New Orleans was deemed not to be sufficient enough to provide a quality product.
Three players fans will not hear about tonight are Sean Johnson, Logan Pause and Rafael Robayo. Johnson continues to rest from USMNT camp and other training. The plan for awhile now has been for him to join the team in California on February 8th. Pause is with his wife and their newborn child. The Fire captain will also join the team in California. Robayo continues to wait on his visa.
Another trio that won't be in action is Supplemental Draft picks defender Justin Chavez, striker Evans Frimpong and goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski. All three have been released from the team.
Defender Steven Kinney will not be available for selection in tonight's game. On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Klopas confirmed speculation that he wasn't training with the club. Kinney is relegated to simple exercises. HTIOT highlighted Kinney's troubles in a recent article.
The 21 other players on the Chicago Fire roster are available selection. MLS SuperDraft pick Hunter Jumper, MLS Supplemental Draft picks Tony Walls, and trialists Ivan Guerrero, Alec Kann, Paulo Tornaghi, and Alex make for a total of 27 players that could see action tonight. If the game ends in a tie, the two squads will line up for penalty kicks.
The weather is a decent 65 degrees but rain is coming down steadily. The game is not streaming but regular updates will come out from the team's Twitter account ChiFireMatch.