An Aston Villa Supporter and English Football Writer's Perspective on Saturday's International Friendly

Reblogged from Chicago Fire Blog:

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Following last season’s high profile international friendlies against Manchester United and Chivas, the Chicago Fire yesterday announced they will be hosting another exciting international friendly this year against EPL side Aston Villa at Toyota Park on July 21st.

The summer is always an exciting time with international friendlies and this summer will certainly be no different with the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Shay Given arriving in Chicago.

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Interview from back in March... ... (optional)

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Chicago Fire promo

Every once in a while I find myself a good soccer video that compels me to press replay over and over again. And ever since I started supporting the club all those years ago, not much has brought me greater entertainment on youtube than Chicago Fire videos made by either the Fire front office, the media or our very own fans. Now, Chicago Fire Blog has decided to get in on the act and produce its very own promo for your viewing.

All footage in this video was recorded during the Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps match Saturday night at Toyota Park and all credit goes to Fire supporters Geoff Stellfox and Zach Huey for putting together this great video. Enjoy!

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Fire Team Trivia Night – Don’t miss out!

Come out to Halsted Harp this Thursday for Fire Team Trivia Night! This fantastic event is a first for the club and is destined to be an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. The event is hosted by Jeff Crandall and Drew Elden and will provide all Chicago Fire and soccer fans with the opportunity to test their Fire, MLS, and world soccer knowledge against other fans. Teams of six will be allowed to compete and a variety of prizes will be available for the event’s winners. Don’t miss out!

Event details:

Location: Halsted Harp (2138 N. Halsted)
Date: 7:30 p.m., Thursday June 7th
RSVP: http://on.fb.me/KTVrA4

Additionally, the Fire are also hosting ‘Brews and Bites’ Saturday from 3-5pm at Roots Pizza. More on that here.

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Match preview: Bring on the Revs

The Fire look to back bounce from a shocking midweek defeat to the Michigan Bucks in the 3rd round of the US Open Cup. | Photo credit: zimbio.com

Chicago Fire at New England Revolution
Saturday June 2, 2012 (6:30 pm)
Gillette Stadium

Last weekend I was more than a little bit worried that the match against Columbus was not going to end well for Chicago. Unfortunately, I was right. Chicago has been consistently inconsistent to such a degree that their record has become oddly balanced (excluding the US Open Cup failure on Tuesday). The Fire’s form over the last five matches, T-W-L-W-L, is just part of the see-saw season they’ve strung together thus far, and their home/away results are a near mirror image, 3-1-2 at home and 2-3-1 on the road. It’s irksome.

I mentioned last week over at Total MLS, that the Fire’s weaknesses can be pin-pointed. They have been woeful defending set pieces and have seemingly always been behind this season. Updating the states shows us that Chicago has allowed the opening goal nine times this season, which ties the wretched Toronto FC for the most games conceded first in MLS. This is a major problem. Chicago haven’t kept a clean sheet since May 9th which was only the second of the season, the first being against Philadelphia on March 24th. Continue reading

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Fire aiming to keep the momentum going against Portland Timbers

JELD-WEN Field | Photo credit: http://blog.craigmitchelldyer.com

May 20, 7pm

JELD-WEN Field, Portland

Peter Vermes made a stink last week, embarrassing himself by going off on rookie referee Jose Carlos Rivero’s decision to give Roger Espinoza a straight red card for flying through the air and deciding to land elbow-first on Sebastian Grazzini.  Funny thing about that red card, it wasn’t about embellishment or how much Grazzini was or wasn’t hurt, it was about clear intent to harm. Espinoza went up high and was falling when he started to come down but replays show how Espinoza saw full well what was before him and how he decided to toss his elbow out. No one in the history of sport has ever thought, “I will cushion my fall using my elbow.” Complaints about that red card are, at best, disingenuous.  Which I guess is the reason why Vermes was suddenly so taciturn this week when mumbling that the team would not to appeal the red card. Three straight loses makes every manager snippy.

For Fire supporters it matters really for only one reason, Grazzini who has been pushed around all season and gotten no calls from referees was finally given a call. Too bad it had to be so blatant. Speaking of blatant, apparently Arne Friedrich and the team really want to play down his hamstring injury. Continue reading

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Match preview: Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City

Chicago welcomes its “rivals” to Toyota Park on Saturday. | Photo credit: http://www.isiphotos.net

Match Preview: Chicago vs. Kansas City
Toyota Park, May 12

So far May has been kind to the Fire, undefeated with four points over two games. But things are getting progressively more difficult. The defeat of Chivas in LA came at the last seconds and this last Wednesday’s draw against Real Salt Lake though steady was uninspiring. Chicago’s midweek match was a midfield grind which in a way revealed the true character of the Fire. MLS is midfield-centric league, and Chicago toes the line.

On Wednesday, we saw Marco Pappa put in a third straight excellent performance. Part of this is due to the growing understanding between Pappa and playmaker Seba Grazzini, but part of this is also due to the fact that Pappa has embraced playing the left wing role. Manager Frank Klopas has said that Chicago “are not a team that is going to rely too much on service,” so I suppose I’m going to have to resign myself to the fact that Pappa and Patrick Nyarko will never be played as out-and-out wingers. Yet it can’t be ignored that when Pappa and Nyarko provide service, the Chicago attack lights up. Continue reading

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Match preview: Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake

Can the Chicago Fire make it two wins in a row? | Photo credit: zimbio.com

Chicago Fire vs. Real Salt Lake
May 9, Toyota Park (7:30 p.m.)

When Real Salt Lake comes to Toyota Park on Wednesday they will hear cheers. Not for them but for longtime Fire defender and now RSL coach, C.J. Brown. Brown will be inducted into the club’s Ring of Fire which honors the best Fire players. Brown’s retirement saw the last of the old guard leave the pitch for the Chicago Fire and since then the team has been patiently rebuilding, nurturing a new crop of stars. Continue reading

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