Fire set to participate in 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup


Fire set to participate in 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup

Jeremy Mikula

The Chicago Fire will once again participate in the preseason Carolina Challenge Cup in February, the team said in a statement Tuesday.

Hosted by the United Soccer Leagues Charleston Battery, the competition is a four-team round-robin tournament that will feature the Battery, the Fire and two MLS sides to be named later.

The Fire have twice participated in the Carolina Challenge Cup, now in its 10th year, having competed in both the 2011 and 2012 editions of the tournament. In 2011, the team finished third with a 1-1-1 record -- the loss coming to eventual winners DC United. In 2012, the team was second behind DC United before severe thunderstorms cancelled the remaining games.

The Men in Red will report to Toyota Park for preseason training on Jan. 18 before eventually heading to Charlestown, S.C., for the tournament to be held at Blackbaud Stadium from Feb. 16 to 23. The fixture dates are scheduled for Feb. 16, 20 and 23.

The Charlestown Battery were recently crowned the 2012 USL Pro champions in September.

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

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, 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.