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Preview: Fire host slumping Dallas in Brimstone Cup

TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
May 23, 2012 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #109)
7:30 p.m. CT (NBC5.2; FS-SW)

The lone installment of the Brimstone Cup for 2012 is set for Wednesday evening at Toyota Park when the Chicago Fire play host to FC Dallas. The Fire saw their three-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Sunday afternoon, a 2-1 loss at the Portland Timbers. FC Dallas are trying to end a seven-game winless skid, coming off a 1-1 home draw with Philadelphia Union. The clubs play for the cup awarded by the two supporters' clubs of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Peter Balciunas; JAR (opposite): Kevin Klinger; 4th: Abbey Okulaja
MLS Career: 65 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 14; pens: 9



  • CHICAGO FIRE - OUT: DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus repair); MF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis); DF Arne Friedrich (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Chris Rolfe (L ankle sprain)
  • FC DALLAS - OUT: MF David Ferreira (R foot surgery); MF Ricardo Villar (R foot strain); MF Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia repair); MF Bobby Warshaw (R foot fracture); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms); DF Alex Lee (R hip strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Fabian Castillo (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Carlos Rodriguez (L elbow dislocation)



SUSPENDED: DAL: Brek Shea (through June 16)


  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Pavel Pardo ... DAL: Jair Benitez, Fabian Castillo, Daniel Hernandez


ALL-TIME (35 meetings): Fire 11 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals ... FC Dallas 20 wins (2 shootout), 67 goals ... Ties 4

AT CHICAGO (18 meetings): Fire 8 wins (1 shootout), 31 goals ... FC Dallas 8 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals ... Ties 2


3/19: DAL 1, CHI 1 (Rodriguez 18 - Chaves 17)
10/12: CHI 1, DAL 2 (Grazzini 86 - Jackson 41; Cruz 53)

  • This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
  • FC Dallas have a five-game unbeaten streak alive vs. the Fire, since a 3-1 Chicago win in 2009.
  • The Fire have also never defeated FC Dallas at Toyota Park. FC Dallas have won on five of their six trips to Bridgeview, including a 2-1 win last Oct. 12, with one draw. The Fire's last home win against Dallas came in 2005, a 2-0 victory at Soldier Field.
  • The clubs play for the Brimstone Cup - awarded by the two supporters' clubs of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn (the name of the Dallas club until 2004).
  • Dallas has won the cup for each of the last 10 seasons. The Fire won the first series in 2001, the Burn then claiming it in 2002, and they've held it ever since.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. DAL: P1 W0 L1 D0 ... Schellas Hyndman v CHI: P7 W4 L1 D2


The Chicago Fire saw their three-game unbeaten run come to an end, falling to a 2-1 defeat by the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon at Jeld-Wen Field. The Fire are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 15 points from 10 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Fire dropped in Portland


  • A Timbers player scored for the first time in more than a month in the 20th minute. A corner kick was knocked beyond the far post, where defender Hanyer Mosquera headed the high-arching service into the area. Kris Boyd's bicycle kick attempt fell to Eric Brunner's feet, and he banged in from close range.
  • The Fire pulled even in the 39th minute. Marco Pappa intercepted an ineffective clearance from Portland defender Steven Smith and found Jalil Anibaba free in the penalty area right of the goal. The defender controlled, spun and fired a right-footed shot to the far corner past a diving Troy Perkins.
  • But the Timbers hit for the game-winner seven minutes into the second half. Sal Zizzo's corner kick to the near post was headed on by Boyd and deflected into the back of the net by Chicago's Logan Pause.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City at Toyota Park. Dan Gargan came back into the team for Arne Friedrich.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-1-1): Sean Johnson - Dan Gargan (Orr Barouch 81), Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause (Rafael Robayo 68), Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa - Sebastian Grazzini - Dominic Oduro (Federico Puppo 60).


  • The Fire have yet to put together back-to-back wins - or ties - this season. The three-game unbeaten run snapped by Portland was a season-long.
  • "I thought that we didn't deserve to walk away with a loss. I felt that we had a five-minute start in second, but we made a few mistakes. After we gave up the goal, I felt that we were chasing from behind the rest of the game," said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "Overall, I thought it was frustrating because I feel disappointed when we lose, but when you feel that you should have walked away with points from here it's hard to take the loss."
  • Fire Drills: Logan Pause

  • The Fire have conceded the first goal on seven occasions this season, more than only two teams in MLS (Toronto FC, 9; LA Galaxy 8). They have taken points from four of those seven matches.
  • "We haven't really haven't put together a consistent 90 minutes," defender Dan Gargan said. "We've put very good halves together, we've played very well in 60-minute stretches. I think we're looking for a really good 90-minute performance from start to finish. That's certainly something we need to get better at."
  • With Arne Friedrich sidelined for up to a month, both of the Fire's first-choice center backs are out injured (along with Cory Gibbs). Rookie Austin Berry started his fourth consecutive match, partnering Jalil Anibaba.
  • "We have a quick turnaround and so we have to stay positive. We do have Dallas Wednesday and we are still in a good position as far as the table is concerned," said Anibaba.
  • Of the 12 goals the Fire have allowed, four have started with set pieces, and a fifth came on a penalty kick.
  • "We started to make mistakes and the key to start each half is important. We had opportunities to play up field and when we start in the back and work our way up, we can't let the set pieces get to us," Klopas said. "[Kris] Boyd got onto it and flicked the ball, but it hit our own player. I mean, what are you going to do? There was nothing we could do."


FC Dallas had their winless streak extended to seven games, pegged back to a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at FC Dallas Stadium. FCD is in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 13 matches.

HIGHLIGHTS: Dallas frustrated by Philly


  • FC Dallas took the lead in the seventh minute. From a corner, Bryan Leyva directed the ball to the far post, where George John's attempted header hit a Union defender. The ball into the six where seemingly out of nowhere, Blas PÈrez dove in and headed home.
  • But the visitors pulled even 11 minutes after the halftime break. A long ball from midfield was header across the box by FCD defender Carlos Rodriguez and Union's Gabriel Gomez raced in to fling himself headlong at the ball, heading it past Kevin Hartman before colliding with the FCD 'keeper.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made four changes to the team that lost 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Kevin Hartman returned to goal in place of Chris Seitz, Matt Hedges came into the defense for the suspended Zach Loyd, and James Marcelin and Bryan Leyva started in midfield for Fabian Castillo and the suspended Brek Shea.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Hernan Pertuz (Carlos Rodriguez 44), George John, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez, James Marcelin - Jackson, Andrew Jacobson, Bryan Leyva (Ruben Luna 77) - Blas Perez.


  • FC Dallas saw their winless streak extended to seven games in the 1-1 draw with Philadelphia last weekend, the club's longest in five seasons. The FCD club record is 10 games without a win, set in 2005.
  • "It doesn't feel good, just getting a point at home," said midfielder Daniel Hernandez. "You want three points. You want to win every time at home. I thought we played well enough to win. It's just same old story. We can't find a way to get three points."
  • With Fabian Castillo injured and Brek Shea suspended, Hyndman opted to go with three central midfielders, James Marcelin and Hernandez sitting in behind Andrew Jacobson.
  • Deep Thoughts with George John

  • "I thought Andrew, James and I were very comfortable with one another in the middle. We did a good job. I felt good. We had a good rhythm going. Philadelphia likes to crowd the midfield and I felt we did a good job of containing them,: Hernandez said.
  • In place of Castillo, Bryan Leyva made his first appearance since March 30 and his first start since the third game of the season. "I thought he played very well," Hyndman said. "He was composed and was able to make some very good passes. He's a player that, if he can continue to get more playing time, can compete for a starting position on this team."
  • Said Leyva: "I haven't talked to Schellas other than when he walked by and said that I had played well. I felt great. It was my first game back since I injured my ankle. It did not give me any trouble."
  • With Zach Loyd suspended, Hernan Pertuz moved back to right back with rookie Matt Hedges shifting into central defense. But Pertuz was forced off with an injury before the first half was over and Carlos Rodriguez - coming off a dislocated elbow - made his first appearance in five games.
  • "I don't think our depth is strong enough right now with the injuries to handle it. I think one key point was when Pertuz got hurt," said Hyndman. "I think it changed our defense. We weren't as strong in the air and we weren't as strong marking-wise. All in all, the players showed up today to play and they gave us everything they had."
  • Blas Perez netted his fourth goal of the season, his first in more than a month after starting his MLS career with three goals in six games.
  • "It was a big goal. It gave us a confidence boost for the rest of the first half," said Perez. "The second we didn't pressure Philadelphia like we needed to and we gave away a goal on a mistake. We may have had a few more chances than them but [Chase] Harrison played well."
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