As the World Cup comes to a close, the Fire will celebrate the 19th edition of the World’s largest sporting event, when they host reigning MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake on “World Cup Night” at TOYOTA PARK on Thursday, July 8 at 8:30 PM CT (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
With only four days to prepare, the Fire (4-4-5, 17 points) face another quick turnaround entering Thursday’s tilt with Real Salt Lake (8-3-3, 27 points), having never lost to the Claret-and-Cobalt at TOYOTA PARK in MLS regular season play, going 3-0-2 in five meetings and 5-1-4 all-time. The Men in Red won’t soon forget their penalty kick defeat to RSL in last year’s Eastern Conference final in front of 21,723 boisterous fans at TOYOTA PARK.
The Fire will commemorate World Cup Night presented by Best Buy by giving away an autographed Giant adidas World Cup Jabulani soccer ball signed by Brian McBride, Frank Klopas and Carlos de los Cobos, the Fire’s three participants in previous World Cups. In addition, several Giant adidas World Cup Jabulani soccer balls will be presented to lucky fans and food from World Cup nations South Africa, Spain and Germany will be served in the Fire’s Stadium Club.
CHICAGO FIRE vs. Real Salt Lake
- Marco Pappa will appear in his 50th match for the Fire on Thursday. The 22-year-old Guatemalan is having the best season of his young MLS career, tallying six goals and adding four assists in 13 games this season.
- Real Salt Lake enters Thursday’s match in second place in the Western Conference with 27 points, trailing LA Galaxy who lead the league with 36 points.
- The Fire’s only loss to Real Salt Lake in MLS regular season play came July 3, 2006. Jeff Cunningham tallied a brace and Salt Lake benefitted from a Dasan Robinson own goal to defeat the Fire 3-1 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
- In 2009, the Fire won and tied the eventual MLS Cup Champs. Patrick Nyarko’s header gave the Fire a 1-0 result Aug. 1 at TOYOTA PARK. In the away leg, Jamison Olave scored to pull RSL level after Chris Rolfe scored to close out the first half on Sept. 12.
- Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley returned to action following his time with the United States Men’s national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The speedy forward played 45 minutes and tallied a goal in RSL’s 5-0 victory over the New England Revolution last Friday.
Real Salt Lake enters Thursday’s match riding a nine game unbeaten streak (7-0-2).
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