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July 20, 2012: Five Things to Know - Chicago Fire U20s, U16s, Pineda, AS Roma, Aston Villa, Inferno

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The Super 20 League is a United Soccer League (USL) that often gets overlooked. It's only a 7-game regular season whereas the Premier Development League has 16 regular season games. U20 games take place at the same time as PDL games so they don't necessarily get the best players. There is a strict age restriction for U20. In addition to PDL teams being U23, teams like the Michigan Bucks regularly use as many of their '8 age exceptions' as possible. Since both the Fire PDL and U18 teams have been eliminated from the playoffs, many of the top Fire Academy products are playing with the Fire U20s in the Super 20 League finals. Yesterday Dan Figura and Felipe Cortez scored first-half goals to propel the Fire to a 2-0 victory over Knoxville Soccer Academy. The Fire play the Ottawa Fury today at 11:00 AM CST and VSI Tampa Flames at 11:00 AM CST on Saturday. Chicago must win its group to advance to the Semi-Finals (to be played later that day at 4:00 PM). Super 20 League Finals are on Sunday at 10:00 AM.

Chicago Fire U16s lost to heavy favorite New York Red Bulls U16s 1-0 last night in USSDA Academy Playoffs action. The standings currently look like this:

Group 1 Team Pts GF GA
NY Red Bulls 6 4 1
Chicago Fire 3 3 2
Pateadores 3 4 4
Charlotte 0 2 6

Chicago must win the Saturday 8:00 PM CST game vs. Pateadores and have Charlotte defeat New York in order to have any hopes of advancing to the final. The Crew Soccer Academy Wolves and D.C. United both were eliminated from their group with loses last night. St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri looks to be headed to the final out of that other group. The Missouri squad can clinch with as little as a tie Saturday.

Victor Pineda will be competing in the international Milk Cup tournament with the U.S. U20 team this weekend. The US plays Denmark on Saturday at 1:00 PM CST followed by a game against Turkey on Monday at 2:00 PM CST. Pineda and his teammates should see action on Thursday, July 26th too.

Chicago will be buzzing with international exhibitions of their own tomorrow and Sunday. Aston Villa takes on the Chicago Fire Saturday at 7:30 PM CST. Fans from all over the world can catch the action live streaming at and AS Roma plays against Zaglebie Lubin at Wrigley Field this Sunday at 2:30 PM CST. A Groupon for the game just went out so if you were on the fence about attending, this is a pretty good opportunity. Tickets are also still available for the Aston Villa vs. Chicago Fire game.

The international exhibitions will be back in August. The PDL side Chicago Inferno Soccer Club is set to take on the Philippine National Team on August 11th and the U.S. Virgin Islands National Team on August 14th. Both games kick-off at 7:30 PM. The exhibitions will be played while both national teams are holding training camps in the Chicagoland area. The Philippines and U.S. Virgin Islands then will face one another in an August 17 international exhibition match in Indianapolis (7:30 p.m.). The Inferno's matches against the Philippines and U.S. Virgin Islands will mark just the second and third time in history a team from the PDL has faced full national teams. Tickets can be purchased through