Chicago Fire Earn Point against Sporting Kansas City in Opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park



Fire KANSAS CITY, KS (June 9, 2011) – The Chicago Fire withstood the emotional stress of opening Sporting Kansas City’s soccer-specific stadium to earn a point on the road in front of a capacity crowd of 19,925 at the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park Thursday night in Kansas City.

The Fire (1-4-8, 11 points) played the final 21-plus minutes of the match with a man advantage over Sporting KC (1-6-4, 7 points), however, neither team was able to break the deadlock and the match finished in a 0-0 draw.


The Fire, christening their second new stadium of the season, withstood early pressure from the home side that was playing in its first home match in 10 games. Sporting made a number of forays into the Fire’s offensive third and nearly took the lead in the 15th minute. Sporting midfielder Kei Kamara sped into space on the right side before skipping a ball across the Fire penalty area towards a charging Omar Bravo. The ball eluded Bravo, but found a wide-open Graham Zusi at the back post, who cleanly deposited the ball into the back of the net. The ensuing madness of the first goal at Livestrong Sporting Park came to a halt as Bravo had been adjudged offside on the initial ball.


The Men in Red nearly drew first blood in the 31st minute. Fire defender Bratislav Ristic served a looping cross into the box towards Cristian Nazarit. Sandwiched between two Sporting defenders, the Colombian striker rose to the ball and nodded it towards the goal, but a diving effort from Sporting ‘keeper Jimmy Nielsen kept the ball from crossing the line.


Sporting Kansas City were reduced to ten men when Daniel Paladini sprung Dominic Oduro into space on the right side. As the fleet Ghanaian dribbled in on goal, Nielsen leapt of his line to slow the Fire attack. Oduro attempted to chip the Danish ‘keeper at the edge of the 18-yard box only for Nielsen to handle the ball outside the penalty area and receive a red card for his efforts in the 67th minute.


Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas pushed the game, making three offensive substitutions throughout the second half. The Fire’s best chance to spoil the party and leave KC with three points came in the 80th minute. Paladini fired a long distance shot that substitute goalkeeper Eric Kronberg couldn’t control. The ball fell to the feet of Orr Barouch, but the Israeli-born striker saw his rebound effort ricochet off of the crossbar to keep the match even at 0-0.

The Fire remain on the road and travel to Columbus to take on Eastern Conference rival Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Sunday, June 12 at 3:00 p.m. CT (My50). Over 350 Fire supporters will be in attendance as the Fire look to create FireHouse East at Crew Stadium on Sunday. Chicago Fire Season Tickets, which include a ticket to the Chicago Fire – Manchester United match at Soldier Field, are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), or by heading to the club’s official website at



Sean Johnson tallied his second consecutive shutout in as many games. The 22-year-old ‘keeper notched five saves while keeping the clean sheet.

The Fire are mired in an 11-game winless strike. The Men in Red’s last win came against Sporting Kansas City, 3-2, on March 26.

The Fire have been the visiting team in three stadium debuts dating back to March of 2010. The Men in Red helped debut Red Bull Arena, JELD-Wen Field and now, Livestrong Sporting Park.

Gonzalo Segares wore a black armband to honor the passing of his girlfriend’s mother.

The Fire were without Marco Pappa who is with Guatemala for the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Section 8 Chicago traveled over 80 supporters to Kansas City.


Chicago Fire 0 – 0 Sporting Kansas City


Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Bratislav Ristic, Yamith Cuesta, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares; Dominic Oduro, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause ©, Corben Bone (Patrick Nyarko 56’); Gaston Puerari (Diego Chaves 71’), Crisitan Nazarit (Orr Barouch 77’)


Substitutes not used: Jon Conway, Dasan Robinson, Michael Videira, Baggio Husidic


Sporting KC: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin; Chance Myers; Kei Kamara (CJ Sapong 59’), Luke Sassano, Davy Arnaud (Birahim Diop 85’), Ryan Smith; Omar Bravo, Teal Bunbury (Eric Kronberg 68’)


Substitutes Not Used: Milos Stojcev, Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar, Seth Sinovic

Scoring Summary:



Misconduct Summary:

SKC – Michael Harrington (Caution, reckless tackle) 21’

CHI – Gaston Puerari (Caution, Tactical Foul) 37’

CHI – Cristian Nazarit (Caution, Reckless Foul) 57’

SKC – Jimmy Nielsen (Ejection, Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity) 67’

SKC – Aurelien Collin (Caution, Tactical Foul) 98+’


Referee: Michael Kennedy

Referee’s Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Brian Poeschel

4th Referee: Mark Declouet

Attendance: 19,925

Brendan Hannan , Chicago Fire Communication Manager