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Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire

The battle for the Brimstone Cup is part of First Kick 2011 as the MLS Cup finalists in FC Dallas play host to the Chicago Fire, renewing their old rivalry.

PURCHASE TICKETS: FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, March 19 at 7:30 pm

REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: Elias Bazakos

SUSPENDED: DAL: Jair Benitez (through March 20)


ALL-TIME (33 meetings): FC Dallas 19 wins (2 shootout), 64 goals … Fire 11 wins (1 shootout), 51 goals … Ties 3

AT DALLAS (16 meetings): FC Dallas 12 wins (1 shootout), 37 goals … Fire 3 wins (0 shootout), 21 goals … Ties 1

RETURN MATCH: 10/12: Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. CT


5/27: CHI 1, DAL 1 (McBride 40 – Ferreira 6)

10/2: DAL 3, CHI 0 (Rodriguez 19; Chavez 46; Cunningham 67)

  • The Fire have never defeated Dallas at Toyota Park. FCD won four consecutive trips from 2006-09 before the 1-1 draw last season.


  • Chicago has one victory in the last 10 meetings all-time between the teams – that coming March 21, 2009 in Frisco.


  • The clubs play for the Brimstone Cup – awarded by the two supporters’ clubs of the two teams so named when it matched the Fire and the Burn (the name of the Dallas club until 2004).


  • Dallas has won the cup for each of the last nine seasons. The Fire won the first series in 2001, the Burn then claiming it in 2002, retaining it in 2003 when the teams leveled the series, then winning both league meetings in 2004. In 2005, the teams split their league meetings, but the FCD won the cup when they won the U.S. Open Cup semifinal. Dallas won the season series from 2006-08 and in 2010; retaining possession when the teams split in ‘09.

Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman v CHI: P5 W3 L1 D1 … Carlos de los Cobos vs. DAL: P2 W0 L1 D1


FC Dallas reached the MLS Cup Final for the first time in 2010, falling just short of the championship in an extra-time loss to the Colorado Rapids in Toronto last November. FCD finished third in the Western Conference with 50 points and a 12-2-14 record.



  • FC Dallas concluded their preseason with a 2-0 victory against Chivas USA last Saturday at Pizza Hut Park. Daniel Hernandez and Ruben Luna scored on either side of halftime for FCD.



  • Teenager Ruben Luna scored just minutes after coming on as a halftime substitute. The 19-year-old home grown player made four appearances in his rookie season.


  • “This game I felt a lot more calm than usual and it helped,” Luna said to the Dallas Morning News. “I wasn't as nervous and I scored a goal, so it's a good approach.”


  • Once again, Brek Shea filled a spot in central defense, playing the entire 90 minutes. He has spent time there virtually the entire preseason.


  • “Brek Shea is an extremely talented player,” FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman said to the Dallas Morning News. “To me, he's a better center back than he is a left-sided player.


  • Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman will also have at his disposal newly-signed player Fabian Castillo, an 18-year-old Colombian striker expected to immediately challenge for a starting role.



  • The Chicago Fire are aiming to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs, after missing out in 2010 for just the second time in club history. The Fire finished last season with a 9-12-9 record and 36 points, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference.


  • The Fire concluded their preseason with a scoreless draw against USL Pro side Charleston Battery in the finale of the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C.



  • Fire boss Carlos de los Cobos has set out his team in a 3-5-2 formation for much of the preseason.


  • "I believe that sometimes when we are playing against a team and the other guys have control of the game, the only way that we can change this situation is we change the distribution of our players on the field and we play with a different dynamic," de los Cobos said to the Sun-Times. "For that reason we are playing like this [in a 3-5-2]. I think the guys understand the idea and they are having good moments on the field in matches. But I'm not sure I will start like this because I know the guys play 4-4-2 and know this format, because they normally play this way."


  • Starting up top in the match was Orr Barouch, a day after finalizing his loan agreement with Tigres UANL. A 6- foot-2, 190-pound Israeli-born forward, Barouch can also play as a as a withdrawn striker or on the left wing.


  • “What I really like to do is drop off,” he said. “I can hold up the ball, too, but I like to drop off a bit more. I like to give through balls and stuff like that. I can also play from the left wing, which is the position I’ve played the most. But if I had to pick one spot, it would probably be dropping off and playing that No. 10 role.”


  • Behind Barouch and new signing Gaston Puerari,Baggio Husidic will have some responsibility pulling the strings of the Fire attack.


  • "With this 3-5-2 formation, we're having to defend a lot more, so what happens is we have to push out to the outside backs, and we spend a lot of time defending," Husidic said to ESPN.com. "So far it's been going well. I think there are a few things we need to figure out offensively and defensively, and that will come with time. We only had four [preseason] games to play the formation together. I think this year we have a lot more responsibility to create than last year."


  • Pari Pantazapolous, who attended preseason training after winning an open indoor tryout in January, one of 210 players from 19 different countries, was expected to be signed to a contract before the start of the season.


  • Pantazopoulos, 22, was born in Greece and came to Chicago with his family in 1998, the Fire’s first season. After attending Prospect High School in Chicago, his pro career started in Cyprus in 2007, then played with Zakynthos in Greece’s third division. He returned to Chicago after two seasons abroad and kept his touch with Schwaben, one of Chicago’s oldest amateur clubs. "


  • It’s a dream come true,’’ Pantazopoulos said. ‘‘I used to be a fan. I went to every home game, cheering for [DaMarcus] Beasley, Logan Pause, [Chris] Armas and [Peter] Nowak.’’


  • The Fire have had a nearly complete makeover since last year. Seven of the starting 11 players in the 2010 season opener are no longer with the club.

 PURCHASE TICKETS: FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, March 19 at 7:30 pm