Fire select Maicon Santos in MLS re-entry draft

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Fire select Maicon Santos in MLS re-entry draft

Since Major League Soccer initiated a re-entry draft several years back, only five players have been selected in the first of the two stages. Thats when teams must pay selected players according to their current contracts.

The Fire was the only club to select a player in that stage of this years re-entry draft that was held on Friday. The other 18 teams passed, preferring to wait for next Fridays second phase when more players are traditionally chosen.

Brazilian forward Maicon Santos was the lone player chosen on Friday. In his fourth MLS season, he had seven goals and three assists for D.C. United last season and has 21 goals and eight assists in his MLS career.

Javier Leon, the Fires president of soccer operations, called the 28-year old Santos "a talented forward who brings with him a scoring touch."

Just where Santos will fit in is uncertain. The Fire has returnees Sherjill MacDonald, Dominic Oduro, Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe returning as forwards who drew considerable playing time and up-and-coming Kellen Gulley is waiting in the wings as a promising young player.

The Fire made its best use of the re-entry draft in 2010, when defender Cory Gibbs was acquired in the second phase. He was an immediate starter, but a knee injury suffered early last season led to his retirement two weeks ago. Forward Kheli Dube was the latest player chosen via the re-entry draft in 2011. He was released midway through the season.

While no other clubs make a re-entry draft selection on Friday, one did make two major moves. The Philadelphia Union brought back forward Sebastian Le Toux in a trade with the New York Red Bulls and also traded for Philadelphia native Jeff Parke, a defender who had been with the Seattle Sounders.

Le Toux was a popular player for the Union for two seasons under head coach Peter Nowak, the first Fire captain. Le Toux was sent to Vancouver in a controversial trade last season prior to Nowak being dismissed from his job. The Union went on to a disappointing season and is making a major rebuilding effort.

Fire lose Open Cup epic in Cincinnati after penalties

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AP

Fire lose Open Cup epic in Cincinnati after penalties

CINCINNATI — A few days ago Dax McCarty was talking about the Chicago Fire trying to win every trophy they were competing for this season. The hopes of winning one of those trophies ended Wednesday night.

The Fire lost in penalty kicks to FC Cincinnati after 120 minutes of goalless soccer. A crowd of 32,287 in Cincinnati waited and waited and waited some more, but finally got what they wanted.

It was all about the goalkeepers before penalty kicks with the Fire’s Matt Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt combining for 17 saves. Hildebrandt improved on his crazy good night by denying Nemanja Nikolic, Arturo Alvarez and Juninho in penalty kicks. Bastian Schweinsteiger was the only Fire player to convert a penalty in four rounds. Cincinnati missed its first penalty, but converted the next three.

In regulation, the Fire huffed and puffed in the first half, but didn’t really create much danger in front of Cincinnati’s goal. At halftime, the Fire had 78 percent of the possession, but couldn’t manage a shot on target.

Cincinnati’s game plan to defend deep and counter was stifling the Fire’s attack. The Fire only managed shots from outside the box that all missed the target. Matt Polster had an open shot in the box following a corner kick, but it was deflected wide by a sliding defender.

The home crowd of 32,287, which is the second biggest crowd in U.S. Open Cup history, didn’t have much to cheer in the first half, but Matt Lampson made the only save of the half when he came off his line to deny Danni Konig who got free down the left side.

Both the atmosphere and the game livened up in the second half. Both teams had multiple quality chances and both keepers, Lampson and Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt came up with big saves.

Lampson saved the game to deny a breakaway for Jimmy McLaughlin in added time just before regulation ended.

In extra time, Cincinnati thought it had the go-ahead goal from Andrew Wiedeman in the 110th minute, but it was called back for a close offside call. Hildebrandt and Lampson both came up with huge saves in the final minute of extra time to send the match to penalties.

Bears Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

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Bears Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

On this week’s Bears Talk Podcast, we hear from Markus Wheaton as Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz discuss the training camp competition at slot receiver.

Boden and Stankevitz also weigh in on PFF ranking the Bears’ starting lineup 18th in the NFL, answer listener questions and add another layer of Aaron Rodgers envy.

Listen to the latest Bears Talk Podcast right here: