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Archived from Original Site http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/ Sun, 19 Apr 2015 22:51:42 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb We're Moving! http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/were-moving.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/were-moving.html To all of our readers: We are moving! Please be sure to check out our new site at www.hooknladders.com Update all of your bookmarks because once we get settled in over there - we won't be here anymore! Thanks!    

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) September Sun, 25 Sep 2011 08:40:46 +0000
Fire Hitting Top Form at Right Time - But How Are They Doing It? http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/fire-hitting-top-form-at-right-time-but-how.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/fire-hitting-top-form-at-right-time-but-how.html It is the best feeling in the world. Our Chicago Fire look to be hitting top form at the most perfect time of the year. As we close in on the final few matches before the MLS Cup playoffs, the Fire have started to really roll, taking away six points vs. Toronto FC and Colorado. A two game winning streak is not something to normally get overly excited about, but if you've watched the last few matches - any of this season really - there is a hope that better things are just over the horizon. On top of that, the Men in Red secured a chance at their record tying 5th US Open Cup last night, beating Richmond 2-1 at Toyota Park. It is always a joy to watch your team hit top form (as a Fire and Chelsea fan, it can be hit or miss) but when a team that has performed the way the Fire have this season, you have to ask how they are turning it on all of a sudden. Of course there are a number of reasons, but here are a few.

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) August Thu, 01 Sep 2011 01:42:32 +0000
Why Klopas Needs to Stay http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/why-klopas-needs-to-stay.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/why-klopas-needs-to-stay.html
Klopas v Chivas USAWe can all agree that Carlos de los Cobos did a lousy job as Fire head coach. So much so, that probably any replacement would look great in comparison. But the fact that Frank Klopas is not Carlos de los Cobos is not the only reason why I like him. He managed to bring the Fire back from the bottom of the table to genuine playoff hopefuls. Yes, there are still a few teams to beat for us to grab the last playoff spot, but there’s still time. And if our recent performance is any indication

Klopas v Rapids

 (3 wins and 7 goals in the last 4 regular season matches), I think we actually have a chance – albeit small.

Klopas’ changes to the lineup and formation have been incredibly important for this team. As technical director, he has done well to acquire Gargan, Oduro, Chaves, Grazzini, Paladini, Pardo, Barouch (on loan), and Cuesta, just to name a few. As coach, he has done well to put these players to good use. We’ve mentioned before how the defense has strengthened by the addition of Gargan and by Anibaba’s subsequent move back to CB. The pair of Oduro and Nyarko up front has been fantastic. The midfield doesn’t have any weak spots, in my opinion. Not to mention his use of subs during games has been very effective. What more can you ask for? Nothing.  

The bottom line is Frank Klopas has brought momentum and energy to a club that was going nowhere fast. He has a strong relationship with the players. They respect him. If he stays on as coach next season I think we can expect great things from the Fire. I would love to see him get a shot at coaching for a full season.

byrnesolid@gmail.com (Ryan Byrne) September Wed, 21 Sep 2011 03:57:00 +0000
Vote Oduro for Goal of the Week http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/vote-oduro-for-goal-of-the-week.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/vote-oduro-for-goal-of-the-week.html DSC_0185Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro is eligible for this week’s AT&T Goal of the Week. Help him beat Lamar Neagle of Seattle, Josh Gardner of Columbus, and Bobby Warshaw of Dallas to take home Chicago’s first Goal of the Week this season. With 9 goals in 2011, he’s earned it. Follow this link to watch all of the candidates' goals and cast your vote.

byrnesolid@gmail.com (Ryan Byrne) August Tue, 30 Aug 2011 02:54:00 +0000
Fire Announce New "Strategic Alliance" http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/fire-announce-new-strategic-alliance.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/fire-announce-new-strategic-alliance.html The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced this afternoon that they have formed a new partnership with Atletico Madrid, Club América and Sport Club Internacional. The whole press release can be read here.

This partnership will be instrumental in growing the popularity of the club outside the borders of the United States. In partnering with these other clubs, the Fire will hopefully be able to gain valuable insight into how to turn the club into a more well known club outside the CONCACAF region. The knowledge they will gain about various aspects of how these other clubs run will be huge - the player development aspect of it alone will be a big step forward for the Fire.

MLS is really a league of two types of teams. The teams that are well known outside the US, where big name players from other areas of the world want to come play - the LA's and New York's. And then there's the teams that are content with operating like smaller market teams and don't necessarily have the huge recognition worldwide. As much as I love the fact that the Fire players, staff, and overall team are so accessible to the fan base and interact with their supporters, I would love for the club to get more recognized around the world. It will lead to bigger things for both the Chicago Fire and MLS.

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) September Tue, 20 Sep 2011 19:15:01 +0000
Fire Beat Rapids! http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/fire-beat-rapids.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/fire-beat-rapids.html
Dominic OduroTo anyone who read my last post: I’m sorry. I had almost given up on the Fire’s playoff chances and decided that the Fire should rest up for Tuesday’s USOC match. Well, maybe we can have our cake and eat it too. Chicago had a dominant win last night over the reigning MLS Cup champs, Colorado. If you weren’t there or couldn’t watch it I highly recommend checking out the highlights online. The Fire just looked like they were finally all on the same page last night. Defense gave up a lot of corners, but Colorado couldn’t make anything of the chances. Midfield looked great with Pardo working hard before coming off at the half. Pause, Grazzini, and Pappa all looked solid throughout the match, as did Paladini when he came in for Pardo. Oduro and Nyarko were once again fantastic together up front and I think it was a great move by Frank Klopas to take them out before the full 90’. They did their parts, we were in the lead, and it’s always nice to see Baggio and Orr getting some playing time.

byrnesolid@gmail.com (Ryan Byrne) August Sun, 28 Aug 2011 22:10:00 +0000
Fire Move Up Power Rankings, More Anelka Transfer Rumors, and Looking Ahead to the Last Few Weeks http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/fire-move-up-power-rankings-more-anelka-transfer-rumors-and-looking-ahead-to-the-last-few-weeks.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/fire-move-up-power-rankings-more-anelka-transfer-rumors-and-looking-ahead-to-the-last-few-weeks.html Well, the latest Soccer By Ives version of the MLS power rankings are out and the Fire have jumped three spots. Coming in at number 14, your Chicago Fire sit just ahead of Chivas USA and just behind Toronto FC. Power rankings are what they are, they can be arbitrary and vary from source to source, but it is nice to see the Fire moving up the list - they've been stuck at the bottom for far too long.

With this recent push up the rankings the one thing that Fire supporters can't stop talking about it the possibility for the tenth and final playoff spot. Is it possible? What do they have to do to get in? Can they go anywhere in the playoffs? Does this team have what it takes to get there?

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) September Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:16:34 +0000
A Little Richmond Kickers Knowledge Ahead of Tuesday's Tilt http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/a-little-richmond-kickers-knowledge-ahead-of-tuesdays-tilt.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/a-little-richmond-kickers-knowledge-ahead-of-tuesdays-tilt.html  I know a lot of people probably don't follow the USL Pro very often. Don't know much about the Richmond Kickers? That's okay, we'll give you all you need to know about the club right here - that way you're prepared going into Tuesday's all-important match. Who are they? The Richmond Kickers were formed in 1993 as a member of the USISL. In 1995, the Kickers won both their league championship as well as the US Open Cup - beating the El Paso Patriots (USISL Pro) in the final. The Kickers have had many MLS players on their roster at one time or another, most notably DC United's Dwayne De Rosario, who netted 17 goals in 35 appearances in a Kickers kit. They've won three league titles and the one USOC title in their short history.

What to watch out for:

  • The leading goalscorer for Richmond this year is Englishman Matthew Delicate who has put 10 in the back of the net this year.
  • Their keeper, Ronnie Pascale, has not allowed a goal since July 30 against Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
  • 23 year old defender Henry Kalungi is definitely their iron man, having played 2236 minutes so far this season.
  • So far against MLS teams in the USOC this season, Richmond has outscored SKC and Columbus 4-1.
jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) August Fri, 26 Aug 2011 19:27:15 +0000
Gibbs Uses His Head (Before losing it) To Give Fire Early Lead - Fire Scramble Late to Come Away with 3 Points http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/gibbs-uses-his-head-before-losing-it-to-give-fire-early-lead-fire-3-2-chivas.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/september/gibbs-uses-his-head-before-losing-it-to-give-fire-early-lead-fire-3-2-chivas.html Cory Gibbs started the scoring the way we've seen him do it on a few occasions this year - with his head. Before most people even found their seats the Fire defender redirected a beautiful cross from Sebastian Grazzini into the back of the net. Of course, 35 minutes later Gibbs lost his head and was sent off after receiving a straight red card for his tackle on Michael Lahoud. The straight red might have been a little harsh, but it was a rough tackle and that's the risk you run when you make a tackle like that.

The straight red to Gibbs forced the Fire (up 2-0 at the time) to play the remaining 55+ minutes down a man. Frank Klopas tried to preserve the lead after halftime by choosing to remove midfielder Sebastian Grazzini and bring on defender Yamith Cuesta to help shore up the depleted back line. (In addition to losing Gibbs, they were playing without Dan Gargan who was suspended for the match) The second half started out nicely and it looked like the Fire were certainly marching towards another three points - until disaster struck again in the 63rd minute. After having given up a goal just minutes before, the men in red gave up the equalizer to Nick LaBrocca and all of a sudden we were living an all-too-familiar story.

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) September Mon, 19 Sep 2011 02:57:19 +0000
Looking Ahead - Fire Welcome Colorado and Richmond to Toyota Park this Week http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/looking-ahead-fire-welcome-colorado-and-richmond-to-toyota-park-this-week.html http://hooknladders.com/archives-2011/august/looking-ahead-fire-welcome-colorado-and-richmond-to-toyota-park-this-week.html  The Chicago Fire have a very important two game stretch coming up over the next few days. On Saturday the Men in Red will take on defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids and then will have a quick turnaround before their Tuesday tilt with the USL Pro side Richmond Kickers in a US Open Cup semifinal matchup. Both matches are very important to the team, and both will present their own unique set of challenges. It will be of the utmost importance for the Fire to come away from these two matches with victories. The Colorado match presents an opportunity to build on their win last weekend against Toronto FC and continue to make a push for the final playoff spot. A victory in the Richmond match will see the Fire through to the US Open Cup finals and put them one win away from a shot in the CONCACAF Champions League next season. 

jpatton03@gmail.com (JR Patton) August Fri, 26 Aug 2011 02:58:23 +0000