United’s third pre-season game of the 2011 USA tour takes United to Chicago where the Reds will face Chicago Fire at Soldier Field...
Saturday 23 July 2011. KO: 16:00 local time.
Not quite founder-members of the MLS, but almost – the Fire joined the league as part of its first expansion in 1998, two seasons after MLS was launched. They were an instant hit – winning the MLS Cup and the U.S Open Cup that year. The Fire have been consistent ever since, without ever quite scaling those early heights. In their 13 MLS campaigns they have made the end-of-season play-offs 11 times, but have never gone on to win the MLS Cup again (though they’ve twice made the final). They have claimed the U.S Open Cup on three further occasions, though, and in 2003 they won the MLS Supporters' Shield (awarded to the overall league winner at the end of the season, before the play-offs). Alumni include Brian McBride, Carlos Bocanegra and Freddie Ljungberg. Oh, and the name? Comes from the great conflagration that engulfed the city in 1871.
Greek-born Frank Klopas, also a US citizen, who is currently technical director and interim head coach. He plied his trade with the Fire for the final season of his career having won countless honours back in his home country with AEK Athens. He is a former United States international and was part of the 1994 World Cup squad.
Logan Pause. The veteran (well, 29) is the Fire’s longest-serving player and newly anointed captain, picking up the armband from Brian McBride after his retirement. A versatile player, his natural position is as a defensive midfielder. Last term he won Fire’s Goal of the Season and Most Valuable Player accolades.
A disappointing campaign for the Fire who failed to finish in the play-off places. They ended up in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and tenth overall.