Fire acquire former Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg

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Fire acquire former Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg

Friday, July 30, 2010
5:55 PM

CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Fire have acquired former Arsenal midfielder and Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg from the Seattle Sounders FC for a conditional selection in the 2011 or 2012 SuperDraft.

The move marks the first-ever trade of a Designated Player in the history of Major League Soccer. The 33-year-old midfielder becomes the Fire's second designated player and will become available for selection by Fire Head Coach Carlos de los Cobos this Sunday, Aug. 1 when the Fire take on the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.

"Freddie is an exceptional player, with world-class talent and we are thrilled to have him join the Chicago Fire," Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas said. "He is a player with an illustrious career and as an attacking player he will help us towards our goal of bringing the MLS Cup to Chicago."

Credited as one of the founding members of Seattle Sounders FC, Ljungberg (pronounced LOON-berg) helped lead the expansion side to the 2009 MLS Cup playoffs in their inaugural season. In 2009, Ljungberg tallied two goals and nine assists, including five game winning assists, as the former Arsenal great was named to the 2009 MLS Best XI.

"I have been thinking long and hard about the next step in my career and I am extremely happy to become the newest member of the Chicago Fire," Ljungberg said. "I had a very long and exciting meeting with Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and technical director Frank Klopas.

"Their vision and commitment to this club and to winning championships was extremely appealing to me. I am looking forward to working with my new teammates, meeting the passionate fans of Section 8 and becoming an active part of the community, which has such a strong and successful sports tradition."

Ljungberg is widely recognized for his prominent role in Arsenal's run of two EPL and three FA Cup championships between 1999-2005. The dynamic midfielder appeared in 328 matches for Arsenal from 1998-07, scoring 72 goals and was named 2002 MVP Barclaycard Premier League Player of the Year. In 2001-02 he scored a season high 17 goals in all competitions, including 12 in league play.

During his tenure with Arsenal, the club never finished lower than fourth in the English Premier League and recently, Ljungberg was voted top 11 on the Gunners' all-time top 50 players.

Between his first appearance for Sweden in 1998 (against the United States) and his international retirement following UEFA Euro 2008, Ljungberg played in two World Cups (2002, 2006) and three UEFA Euros. He served as national team captain from 2006-2008 and, altogether, scored 14 goals.

The creative midfielder's first home match for the Men In Red pits him against former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry, when the Fire host the New York Red Bulls at TOYOTA PARK on Aug. 8.

Sebastian Giovinco scores twice in Fire's loss at Toronto

Sebastian Giovinco scores twice in Fire's loss at Toronto

The Chicago Fire showed improved home success in a recent three-game homestand, but road success again eluded them Friday in Toronto.

A trademark move from Sebastian Giovinco got things started for the hosts and Toronto FC cruised to a comfortable 3-1 win against the Fire at BMO Field.

Giovinco, the 2015 MLS MVP, showed why he is one of the best players in the league with his goal in the 28th minute. He got some space just outside the box, set up his right foot and drilled a low shot past goalkeeper Jorge Bava.

Four minutes later Toronto doubled the lead following a short corner kick. Justin Morrow's cross found Eriq Zavaleta, who headed in the goal.

After falling down two goals, the Fire (3-2-2, 11 points) gained a larger share of possession and finished the first half with a majority of the possession. However, Toronto (2-1-4, 10 points) was happy to play on the counter with Giovinco and the Fire were unable to get a shot on target until the 88th minute.

Giovinco added his second goal on a free kick that went in under the bottom of the crossbar in the final 10 minutes.

The Fire went 2-0-1 in the past three matches, all at home, and won consecutive matches for the first time in coach Veljko Paunovic's tenure. However, Friday's loss on the road looked like many of the 14 road defeats the Fire suffered last season. The Fire were down two goals in the first half and were unable to threaten Toronto's goal for a comeback until the final few minutes.

David Accam, who came off the bench for the second straight game, scored a consolation goal for the Fire. Him and Luis Solignac combined on a counter. Solignac centered the ball from the right and Accam scored with a first-touch finish. That was the Fire's only shot on target while Toronto had nine.

Paunovic went with the same starting lineup that started the 3-0 win against New England last weekend.

The Fire continue the road trip in eight days with a match at the New York Red Bulls.

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

The story behind Bastian Schweinsteiger being on the other side of the camera on a viral photo

Eric Gehrig had a turn off your notifications moment on his phone last night.

The Chicago Fire assistant coach took a photo of Bastian Schweinsteiger taking a photo in the Toronto airport and it went wild on twitter.

Gehrig told the story over the phone of how Schweinsteiger, the most famous player on the team, ended up taking the photo instead of being in the photo.

The woman in the photo was on the plane to Toronto with the Fire and spotted the team with their team gear on.

"She said that her son is a huge soccer fan so she was all upset that he wasn't there and she passed out a piece of paper and we all signed a piece of paper for her," Gehrig said. "We got off the plane so she was like 'I got some time, I'm sure he'd love a picture.' She happened to say it right in the same vicinity as Basti and the guys. She said 'Yeah, let's take a picture.' It was half her looking at Basti, half Basti is like 'Sure, I'll take it.' I just thought it was so funny the magnitude of taking the picture. Obviously she had no idea and I thought it was hilarious and it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up to get my camera out."

Gehrig admitted he never thought the photo, which features forward Michael de Leeuw, goalkeeper coach Aleksandar Saric, goalkeeper Jorge Bava and midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, would blow up like it did.

"It has been nuts," Gehrig said. "Obviously that's the first time he's probably taken a picture like that, but my gosh."

Schweinsteiger, who is prepping for his first game away from Toyota Park with the Fire, finally got in front of the camera in Toronto, posting this picture Friday morning:

Schweinsteiger was nice enough to take the photo, but the rest of the team had a good chuckle over the German being on the other side of the camera for once.

"It was hilarious and Basti obviously, I'm sure he's enjoying the different roles and being here," Gehrig said. "She's obviously so nice with taking the picture and was all into it. It speaks volumes of him obviously and I just thought it was a unique, funny situation and I thought it would be cool to share it with the world."