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Written by JR Patton | 15 April 2012
Posted in // Live Updates

It's been a long winter but I am finally back at Toyota Park. I've made my way into the pressbox and found my new seat, and aside from the concrete wall to my left, it's a great view. Ryan has made his way down to field level to set up his camera equipment, and I'm sure he's hoping it doesn't pour on him. 

I find myself sitting up here typing this post and stopping every couple words to look up at the beauty that is Toyota Park. There have been a lot of changes to the stadium decor during the offseason and the park has never looked better.

On to today's match vs Houston Dynamo. The Fire starting XI will see Sean Johnson back in the net with newcomer Arne Friederich, Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, and Gonzalo Segares in front of him. Marco Pappa, Pavel Pardo, Sebastian Grazzini and captain, Logan Pause will hold down the midfield. Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro will be up top for head man Frank Klopas today. 

Houston will send Tally Hall into the net, with Andre Hainault, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, and Jermaine Taylor in front of him. Je-Vaugn Watson, Nathan Sturgis, Luiz Camargo and Corey Ashe will patrol the center of the park, and captain Brian Ching will pair with Will Bruin up front for manager, Dominic Kinnear. 

The Fire subs will be: Paolo Tornaghi, Austin Berry, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini, Rafael Robayo, Orr Barouch, and Federico Puppo. 

Dynamo subs are: Tyler Deric, Warren Creavalle, Kofi Sarkodie, Alex Dixon, Calen Carr, Macoumba Kandji, and Cam Weaver.

Houston come in at 2-1-0 with 6 pts and the Fire are filling all columns at 1-1-1 and 4 pts. 

The referee tonight will be Geoff Campbell with assistants Anthony Vasoli and Peter Balciunas, the 4th official will be Drew Fischer. 

That's all for now, if you can't make it out to Toyota Park tonight make sure you stay tuned into our Twitter page for match updates, and check back at halftime for a report on the first half of play.

Written by JR Patton | 02 April 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

DSC_0269-1Fresh off their first victory of 2012 last weekend against Philadelphia, the Chicago Fire traveled to Commerce City, Colorado looking to build on their recent success and keep pace near the top of the Eastern Conference table. The match started out with some early fireworks, as both clubs had a go at net in the opening 15 minutes, but after that the match seemed to slip more and more into Colorado's hands. The Men in Red certainly had their fair share of opportunities to put the ball in the net, but they just couldn't beat keeper Matt Pickens. 

The match went in to halftime drawn at 0, but you had a feeling that the Fire were going to have to seriously pick up their play in order to come away from Colorado with any points. They did neither of those things, and lost 2-0 to a beatable Colorado Rapids squad.

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Written by JR Patton | 30 March 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

2012One of the more exciting benefits of being a season ticket holder is the bonus games. Every STH package contains tickets to "bonus games" that are unknown to anyone when the tickets come out. So, naturally, there's always a little anticipation to see what bonus games the club has in store for their supporters every season. Last year saw the Fire take on some marquee clubs in Mexico's CD Guadalajara, and of course the English Premier League powerhouse, Manchester United. 

With a new season comes new bonus games, and new anticipation over what top flight clubs we may get to see this year. Of course, as a Chelsea FC supporter, I'd love to see the Blues in Toyota Park or Soldier Field, but when it comes to seeing premiership level talent, I'm not picky. Aston Villa will be visiting Toyota Park on July 21st to take on our Chicago Fire. This match should be a great experience for everyone involved, players, supporters, media, everyone.

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Written by Raul Barraza | 23 March 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire opened up the 2012 season in Montreal and as become tradition, they opened another stadium as visitors. As soon as the schedule was out, the Section 8 message boards lit up. Supporters immediately started to plan how they were going to get there for the game. This ranged from helping each other find rides or cheap flights and hotels. Hearing how great these road trips have been in the past, I decided to join in for my first real road trip.

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Written by JR Patton | 17 March 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire


DSC_0753-1In a scene that has become all too familiar to supporters of the Fire, the team walked away from their first meeting with Montreal Impact drawn at 1. 

In front of more than 50,000 Impact supporters, the Fire helped Montreal open up their home building as the expansion franchise played its first MLS home match. After losing on the road in Vancouver last week, Montreal looked to get off to a fast start to please the home crowd. The match was pretty uneventful in the first half, with the Fire missing a few decent scoring opportunities, and Sebastian Grazzini picking up his first yellow card of the season. 

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Written by JR Patton | 08 March 2012
Posted in // Other

Hook n Ladders is proud to announce a new partnership with the new MLS site, mlsFLTR.com. This site will provide brief 100 word summaries of all MLS matches, with writers from various clubs and club dedicated blogs. Every MLS club has a page on this new website where you will be able to go and view all of the stories posted by that particular writer. 

Hook N Ladders own JR Patton will handle most of the posts for the Chicago Fire on mlsFLTR, with Ryan, Raul, and Chane filling in when needed, but ALL Chicago Fire posts on this new site will be handled by your favorite writers here at HNL. 

The site is up now, but not fully functional yet and is set to officially launch on Saturday, March 10. 

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Written by JR Patton | 20 February 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

jkAs we gear up for the start of the 2012 Fire campaign, there are plenty of preseason articles that can be written. And don't worry, they will be. But I feel the need to take a break from the traditional and give you something truly inspirational and flat out awesome. 

Jeff Krause is a Fire blogger who does some work for Total MLS and Chicago Fire Confidential. If you've never read his stuff, you really should - he writes some great articles about the Fire. He's also an awesome dude. Like most of the people in the Fire blogging community my first interaction with him was via Twitter. Before I took my first trip into the press box last season, I asked him for some advice and he (along with a couple other awesome bloggers) made me feel right at home in the press box. He's Fire through and through, and now he's taking it even a step further.

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Written by Ryan Byrne | 21 January 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

I'm sure by now everyone has had a chance to look at the 2012 schedule for the Fire. As you all know, the MLS has introduced unbalanced schedules this season in order to accommodate the Montreal Impact. I've broken down the Fire schedule so that we can see just how unbalanced it is.

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Written by Raul Barraza | 19 January 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

Ever since Best Buy declined their option to come back as the shirt sponsor, there has been much speculation as to who would replace the electronics giant. The team kept saying it would not rush into anything and would take the time to find the right sponsor. The search took all of the 2011 campaign and the club went without a sponsor. This past Monday night, news leaked about a new deal in place.

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Written by JR Patton | 19 January 2012
Posted in // MLS

Image courtesy of Total Football Madness.comI have not always been the biggest fan of David Beckham, and who could blame me? He had a reputation for being hot-headed, temperamental, and even at times a cry baby. When he came to MLS I was excited for the league. My excitement quickly disappeared, however, as he went through his phase of complaining about the lack of quality in the league, and even his attempt to leave MLS and return to European football. Eh, why be coy about it? I HATED David Beckham. But with the new year comes a new perspective, and strangely enough, I think I'm beginning to like the guy a little bit. 

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