Fire aim for first-ever home win vs. FC Dallas

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Fire aim for first-ever home win vs. FC Dallas

All the good vibes that came from the Fires first busy stretch of the season are pretty much gone now.

The Fire took seven of a possible nine points in a three-game in nine-night stretch, which included matches with both of the conference leaders in Major League Soccer.

And then came Saturday's visit to lowly Portland and a 2-1 loss created by an own goal, the ball bounding into the net off the knee of Fire captain Logan Pause. Needless to say the second busy stretch of the season didnt start well, and now the Fire (4-3-3) must rebound with a Wednesday home match against FC Dallas (3-6-4). This three-games-in-seven-days binge ends at Columbus on Saturday.

The FC Dallas visit, in which the Brimstone Cup is on the line, is eerily reminiscent of the match with Portland. The Fire has yet to play well against the Timbers, who came into MLS last season. The Fire is 0-3-0 vs. Portland, and the last loss was a problem.

"It was frustrating for us," admitted Fire coach Frank Klopas. "We didnt deserve to walk away with a loss."

But thats what happened, as the clubs three-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt halt.

The Fire hasnt played well against FC Dallas, either. Wednesdays visitors have never lost at Toyota Park, going 5-0-1 when traveling to play the Fire in Bridgeview.

"Its a quick turn-around (from the loss at Portland)," said Klopas. "Weve got to put that game in the past and focus on what we have to take care of on Wednesday."

FC Dallas last played on May 19, a 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union on the road. The Fire was 0-1-1 vs. FC Dallas in 2011, the draw coming in the season opener at Pizza Hut Park on March 19. The Fire has beaten FC Dallas just once in the last 10 meetings, in 2009 at Pizza Hut Park.

Fire player personnel director Mike Jeffries was the coach of the Dallas Burn, the original name of the team, and took Dallas to the playoffs in 2001 and 2002.

Both teams will be without key players. FC Dallas will be minus Brek Shea, who is serving a three-game suspension for kicking a ball at an assistant referee in a match against Columbus. The Fire will be without defender Arne Friedrich, who is nursing a right hamstring sprain.

Chris Rolfe remains questionable with a sprained ankle suffered in training three days after he rejoined the Fire following a three-year stint in Denmark.

Bob Arum slams Conor McGregor for wanting to fight Floyd Mayweather: 'It's a joke'

Bob Arum slams Conor McGregor for wanting to fight Floyd Mayweather: 'It's a joke'

Conor McGregor has no chance to beat Floyd Mayweather in the ring, according to Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum: “The truth is, the sad truth is, I could take any four-round fighter in my gym and put him in with Conor McGregor and McGregor wouldn’t beat him.”

The legendary boxing promoter was in the CSN Chicago studios on Wednesday taping a segment for “In The Loop” to promote Friday’s fight at the UIC Pavilion with Irish Olympic boxer Michael Conlan.

Arum didn’t hold back when reacting to McGregor’s challenge to Mayweather.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a joke," he said. "You don’t put someone who’s never had a boxing match into a ring with a world-class fighter like Floyd Mayweather and expect a contest.”

Arum conceded that there is a huge market for a potential fight between the two stars.

“If people want to see it, and they will, they’ll make a lot of money," he said. "God bless them.”

Watch the full interview in the video above. “In the Loop” airs nightly on CSNChicago and csnchicago.com/watchlive at 6:30, 10, and 10:30 p.m.

Joe Maddon ‘Anchorman’ vision for Cubs road trip: ‘We got the Sex Panther in today’

Joe Maddon ‘Anchorman’ vision for Cubs road trip: ‘We got the Sex Panther in today’

A homestand that has already featured Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price grumbling “Hail to the Cubs” after a game ended on an overturned replay review – and Milwaukee Brewers officials complaining about a premature rainout – will end with Joe Maddon’s team walking out of Wrigley Field dressed as “Anchorman” characters. 

The Cubs are hovering around .500 as a baseball product, but the defending World Series champs are already back in terms of getting under people’s skin and going viral on social media. That will happen again on Thursday, when the Cubs start posting photos of their 1970s outfits to Twitter and Instagram before boarding their flight to Southern California.

“We got the Sex Panther in today,” Maddon said during Wednesday’s pregame media session, sounding nothing like San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Q: You got the what?

“Sex Panther,” Maddon said, “60 percent of the time, it works every time, you’re not aware of that?”

Q: Does it growl when you open it?

“It does,” Maddon said. “It growls.”

The official theme for the road trip through Los Angeles and (Stay Classy) San Diego would be…

“It’s the Ron Burgundy/Brick Tamland – and I also wanted to include Tommy La Stella – Tribute Road Trip, where 60 percent of the time, it works every time, sponsored by Sex Panther cologne,” Maddon said.

La Stella is the enigmatic pinch-hitter/backup infielder now playing at Triple-A Iowa. Steve Carell played Tamland – the weatherman for the Channel 4 news team – in the movie. 

“I just see him like Brick Tamland,” Maddon said. “I just see him kind of like Brick. It’s almost like two interchangeable guys. I see Brick, I see Tommy, I see Tommy, I see Brick. Put some glasses on Tommy like that, dress him up, some sideburns and have him scream a little bit, I got Brick.”     

And when the Cubs return home next week, it will be interesting to see if the St. Louis Cardinals notice the celebration shots on the big video board and find any amusement in the dancing relievers.

“Oh my God, absolutely, I love it,” Maddon said. “I think it’s very entertaining. I would have to believe two things: I believe the fans will really appreciate it, and I don’t think it’s disrespectful to the other side. 

“I just think it’s funny. I really believe if we’re on the road and the other bullpen did that, I would laugh. So whoever’s thought it was in the beginning, I commend them. I think it’s pretty funny.

“It really makes you look forward to the next home run, to see what these guys are going to do, so I’m all for it.”