Fire to Battle Earthquakes in Home Opener

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Fire to Battle Earthquakes in Home Opener

Saturday, April 10, 201010:54 AM

By ALAN FERGUSON, STATS Writer

After earning one point in their first two games, the Chicago Fire hope that playing in front of their home fans for the first time will spark them to a victory.

They couldnt pick a much better opponent to face in their Toyota Park debut than the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Fire will try to add to their home success over the Earthquakes and give coach Carlos de los Cobos his first MLS win Saturday night.

Chicago (0-1-1) dropped its season opener 1-0 in New York on March 27 and needed Brian McBrides penalty kick to salvage a 2-2 draw in Colorado last Saturday.

Patrick Nyarko drew the key infraction in the 51st minute on Rapids defender Marvell Wynne, and McBride scored on the ensuing kick. Collins John, McBrides former teammate in the English Premier League, also scored in his second MLS match.

The Rapids are a very good team, and it is very difficult to win here, de los Cobos told the leagues official Web site. Im satisfied with the work of the players. Im only happy when we win, but Im satisfied.

If history is an indication, the Chicago coach could be happy following Saturdays game. The Fire are 7-1-4 all-time at home against San Jose, with the only loss coming in a shootout July 23, 1999, when the Earthquakes were known as the Clash.

Chicago has also never lost its opener at Toyota Park, going 3-0-1.

The Fire earned a 2-0 win there last season over San Jose and a 3-3 draw on the road as part of their 5-0-6 start. The Earthquakes are 0-2-2 against Chicago since the franchises resurrection in 2008, but that doesnt mean the Fire will take them lightly.

I always think San Jose is a dangerous team, defender C.J. Brown told the leagues Web site. If you sleep on them, theyll crush you. So for us, weve got to stay compact, and when we get our chances, weve got to bury them.

After finishing last in the Western Conference in each of the last two seasons, the Earthquakes didnt get 2010 off to a strong start with a 3-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake on March 27.

Three days later, they signed former Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch. In a stunning move, Chicago waived the 33-year-old Busch on March 22 so it could start 24-year-old Andrew Dykstra, who had never played an MLS game.

Busch, the leagues 2008 goalkeeper of the year, had 21 shutouts in 63 games and played every minute the previous two seasons. As the backup to Joe Cannon, hes expected to watch Saturdays match.

The addition of Jon gives us one of the best goalkeeping corps in the league, general manager John Doyle told the leagues Web site.

The Fire could see their latest acquisition on the field after signing Salvadoran defender Deris Umanzor on Thursday.

Illini running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn announces transfer

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USA TODAY

Illini running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn announces transfer

The guy who went into last season looking like the Illini's biggest offensive weapon announced his transfer Wednesday.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn announced on Twitter that he'll be transferring away from Lovie Smith's program. His decision comes after a 2016 season in which he started the as the team's primary running back and finished as the third option in the Illinois backfield.

"After much thought, consideration and discussing this with my family, I have decided to explore different avenues to obtain my bachelor's and athletic endeavors," Vaughn wrote on Twitter. "I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to the University of Illinois and the coaching staff for the opportunity to not only gain experience academically but as an athlete as well. Will forever love the Illini Nation."

Vaughn played in 11 of the Illini's 12 games this past season, finishing as the team's third-leading rusher with 301 yards. He trailed Kendrick Foster (720 yards) and Reggie Corbin (523 yards), who emerged as the offense's preferred rushing options.

Vaughn had one big game in 2016, rushing for 116 yards and a touchdown in Illinois' 48-23 loss to North Carolina. Take that game out, and Vaughn totaled a mere 185 yards in his other 10 games. His carries plummeted after the first two weeks. After rushing 17 times in the opener and 15 times against North Carolina, Vaughn received just 28 carries the remainder of the season, including just one carry in four separate games.

The lack of production and opportunity doesn't make Vaughn's transfer much of a surprise. But in light of what he did as a true freshman just one season earlier, the fact that Vaughn is departing says something.

Recruited by Tim Beckman, Vaughn was one of the Illini's highest-rated recruits in that 2015 class. He rushed for 723 yards on just 157 carries as Josh Ferguson's backup, including turning in a huge 180-yard, two-touchdown game in a 48-14 win over Purdue.

Now, he'll continue his career elsewhere.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Tim Raines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

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AP

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Tim Raines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly), David Schuster (670 The Score) and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel.  Tim Raines finally gets the call from the Hall along with Jeff Bagwell and Pudge Rodriguez.  So when will Bonds and Clemens get in?  Why are Sammy Sosa’s vote totals dropping? The guys debate from former Cub David DeJesus joins the panel to talk Hall of Fame and the 2017 Cubs.

The Bulls lose to a bad Mavericks team. When will GarPax blow it up and start over?

Plus the guys discuss whether or not Antonio Brown will distract the Steelers and if the Falcons defense is the x-factor in the NFC title game.