Fire, players nominated for MLS awards

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Fire, players nominated for MLS awards

At least this is progress.

Last year the Fire had but one player chosen among the three finalists for the various postseason awards handed out in Major League Soccer. Dominic Oduro was among the trio in contention for Comeback Player-of-the-Year, but the award went to David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

MLS announced its various award finalists for 2012 on Thursday, at about the same time Fire players were cleaning out their lockers at Toyota Park. As expected, defender Austin Berry was among the finalists for Rookie of the Year.

Captain Logan Pause was also mentioned for the Fair Play Award. The winner of it is selected by MLS, based on objective criteria such as fouls committed, cards received and games and minutes played as well as a subjective evaluation of sportsmanship behavior.

The Fire was also nominated for the Team Fair Play award, joining the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution.

Frank Klopas, who merited consideration for Coach of the Year based on his teams improvement from a 9-9-16 record in 2011 to this years 17-11-6, was bypassed. The finalists among the coaches were Frank Yallop of San Jose, Peter Vermes of Sporting Kansas City and Ben Olsen of D.C. United.

At least the Fire wont have to wait long to find out if it has an MLS award winner for the first time since 2009. The first winners will be announced on Monday, and they are in the three categories that the Fire has finalists.

In the Fires last trip to the awards stand three years ago, the club won the Team Fair Play and Pause took Humanitarian-of-the-Year. His rivals for this years Fair Play honor are Ante Jazic of Chivas USA and Heath Pearce of New York.

Lens Picks

As previously mentioned here, Berry is my clear-cut choice for Rookie of the Year and Pause is as good as any for Fair Play. He didnt draw a card in 32 games this season.

My choices for the other MLS individual player awards are: Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City, Defender; Kei Kamara, Sporting Kansas City, Humanitarian; Olsen, Coach; Eddie Johnson, Seattle, Comeback; Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City, Goalkeeper; Michael Gspurning, Seattle, Newcomer; and Chris Wondolowski, San Jose, Most Valuable Player.

Illinois State Soccer Assn. Hall of Fame ceremony

While Fire players have scattered for the season Toyota Park will still be a busy place, especially on Sunday when the Illinois State Soccer Assn. holds its Hall of Fame banquet beginning at 4 p.m. Heading the list of this years inductees is Hank Steinbrecher, former head of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Also joining past honorees at the Toyota Park Hall of Fame exhibit are Frank Basan, Mary Jane Bender, Rey Carlberg, Tony Dallas, Charlie Dyson, Harold Hall, Robert Meschbach, Boris Pavichevich, Zygmunt Prudzienica, Hans Wissman, and Richard Znamierowski.

Five others will receive Meritorious Service awards: Edner Franck, Stanley Makowka, Karen ODowd, Harry Quidzinski (posthumously) and Jeff Stern.

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

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Chicago Fire

Fire Talk Podcast Episode 1: Recapping the Fire's offseason and looking ahead to 2017

A new Chicago Fire season is near, which means it's a good time to start a new podcast.

Shane Murray, a Fire contributor for MLSSoccer.com, joined me for our new endeavor: the Fire Talk Podcast.

This first episode focused on the key departures and new additions to the Fire this season and served as a look ahead to the 2017 season. We looked at the additions made to the team, how the team may line up to start the season and what improvements still need to be made.

Also, the Fire are 5-0 in the preseason, but do preseason results matter?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw score in Fire's fifth straight preseason win

The Chicago Fire's preseason continued with yet another win on Wednesday.

Luis Solignac and Michael de Leeuw scored off headers in each half in a 3-2 Fire win against United Soccer League foe FC Cincinnati at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday.

Solignac's goal came in the 31st minute following a short corner. John Goossens whipped in a cross from the left after the corner and Solignac headed it home.

Cincinnati had put the ball in the net earlier in the half, but it was ruled out for offside.

A lineup that featured mostly Fire regulars in the first half was swapped out at halftime. For the second straight preseason match the Fire played two different elevens in each half.

Homegrown signing Djordje Mihailovic played his first game action of the Fire's preseason as part of the second half lineup, playing in central midfield. He was with the U.S. under-19 team for the Fire's first week in Florida.

Trialist Chad Barson, who has made 50 appearances with the Columbus Crew from 2013-2016, started the second half at right back.

De Leeuw's goal in the 70th minute was also a header. Patrick Doody crossed from the left and de Leeuw headed it back across to the far post for the 2-0 lead.

Cincinnati got on the board in the 88th minute when rookie goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland came too far off his line to clear a cross and an easy header went into the net.

A minute later the Fire restored the two-goal lead with rookie Matej Dekovic finding some open space on the back post following a corner kick. Dekovic was able to easily score from close range.

The frantic finish continued when Kenney Walker scored directly from a free kick in the 90th minute for Cincinnati's second goal. It came just seconds before the end of the match.

Former Fire defender Austin Berry, who won 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, started for Cincinnati.

The Fire are now 5-0 this preseason with one game left in Florida before returning to Chicago. The Fire will take on Toronto FC on Saturday in Tampa.