Written by Hook N Ladders | 01 May 2014

MLS has come a long way since it's inception in 1993 and it's first league match in 1996. When league action first started in 1996 there were a number of things that made MLS stand out as a totally different league from most of the other soccer leagues in the world. There were several rules that were implemented that were meant to attract the average American sports fan. Since soccer was still relatively unpopular among the American public, the rules of the game weren't very well understood - so MLS tweaked these rules some to try to make the game more appealing to the American public. Some of these changes have since made way for more traditional soccer rules, and some haven't. There are still a few remaining rules and traditions that MLS needs to leave behind in order to usher in a new era where MLS continues to grow both here and abroad.

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Written by JR Patton | 23 April 2014
Posted in // Chicago Fire

The Chicago Fire announced another big international signing today as the team introduced the German World Cup veteran, Arne Friedrich. This German defender has represented the national team 82 times since 2002, and the signing will give the Men in Red even more depth and veteran experience on a backline that may need to step up at times during the upcoming campaign - with the expected international absences of starting GK Sean Johnson. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it looks like this could be a great potential signing for the club, and hopefullly lead them on their way as a surging franchise.

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Written by JR Patton | 25 March 2013
Posted in // Chicago Fire

Dear Mr. Hauptman, 

I'll get right to the point. It's time for you to sell the Chicago Fire. Please, sell the club to someone who cares about, well anything. Someone who cares about the City of Chicago. Someone who cares about the club. Someone who cares about the supporters. Someone who cares about winning. 

Ask any of the 5,100 folks (No, the actual attendance wasn't even close to the pathetic 9,000 announced) who sat in the freezing cold last night to watch this team post yet another embarrassing performance what the problem is and use buy januvia online 90% of them will tell you the same thing - this team has no attacking threat. Unfortunately, many of those same people will say that it's time for the club to sack Frank Klopas and move in a new direction. I see a bigger problem. I see a club with a staff who has yet to be given the tools they need to have sustained success. 

While New York gets Henry, Cahill, etc..., and LA gets Beckham, Donovan, Keane, and likely Lampard, what does Chicago get? Puppo? Robayo? MacDonald? Nazarit? Puerari? And on and on and on. Now, I'm not saying that Chicago Fire needs a big name player, it would be nice - but not necessary. What we need is a player who can actually play. Not some garage sale find who might be able to make an impact on the team. 

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and a major sports town, yet only 5,100 people showed up last night. Why? It certainly wasn't because of the cold, just look at the crowd that showed up in Colorado for the USMNT match in the snow. It wasn't because Chicago doesn't like soccer, look at any big time match held at Soldier Field. The reason people don't show up is because the product on the field doesn't warrant spending the money. I know *former* season ticket holders who have said that they refuse to put another dime into this club because clearly the owner can't be bothered to do the same. 

It takes money to make money. If you invest in this club and put a product on the field that will compete with the top tier clubs in this league, people will come out. It's been 7 years since Chicago has had silverware. Either open up the checkbook, give the staff the tools they need to put together a club that can compete, or do all of us in Chicago a favor - sell the team to someone who cares.


JR Patton, Season Ticket Holder

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Written by JR Patton | 09 March 2013
Posted in // Chicago Fire

DSC 0100The Chicago Fire returned home Saturday night to open their 2013 home campaign after a crushing 4-0 loss in LA last Sunday. While the defending was markedly better this week, the midfield play was still sloppy and the finishing in the final third was downright atrocious - all of this leading to a 1-0 loss in front of an announced attendance of 13,242. 

The loss will send the Fire to 0-2-0 (0 pts) on the young 2013 season, and will certainly get the fans in a tizzy. The club has not had an 0-2-0 start since the 2000 campaign when they opened with losses at Dallas and at Kansas City. We'll break down the bad, the worse, and the flat out awful after the break. 

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Written by JR Patton | 09 March 2013
Posted in // Live Updates

Hello and http://milleniummanor.com/generic-lowest-price-viagra welcome to another season of Chicago Fire soccer at Toyota Park. 

It's a chilly one tonight even though the official sheet from the club puts the temperature at 40 degrees.

Our Referee tonight is Hilario Grajeda with Kermit Quisenberry and Paul Scott as the assistants. Jorge Gonzalez is the 4th Official tonight.

The visiting Revs come in like this:

GK: Matt Reis

DEF: Andrew Farrel, A.J. Soares, Jose Julio Gonclaves, Kevin Alston

MID: Juan Toja, Kalida Cisse, Clyde Simms (C), Donnie Smith

FWD: Jerry Bengston, Lee Nguyen

BENCH: Bobby Shuttleworth, Darrius Barnes, Scott Caldwell, Andy Dorman, Kelyn Rowe, Chad Barrett, Diego Fagundez


The Men in Red look like this:

GK: Sean Johnson

DEF: Jalil Anibaba, Steven Kinney, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares

MID: Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz (C), Joel Lindpere, Dilly Duka

FWD: Chris Rolfe, Sherjill MacDonald

BENCH: Paolo Tornaghi, Michael Videira, Yazid Atouba Emane, Daniel Paladini, Wells Thompson, Alex, Maicon Santos

Written by JR Patton | 06 March 2013
Posted in // Chicago Fire

DSC 0883After waiting 123 long days since their disappointing playoff loss to the Houston Dynamo, the new look Fire were ready to get the 2013 campaign underway on Sunday. Ready right until the opening whistle. 

After an off season that saw the retirement of midfielder Pavel Pardo, the departure of veterans Dan Gargan and Dominic Oduro, and the addition of several new players, the Fire were looking to move beyond the disappointment of 2012, and move into 2013 with a fresh start and all eyes on an MLS Cup. With a promising pre-season behind them, Fire players and supporters alike were bubbling over with excitement on Facebook and Twitter as the opening kick neared on Sunday afternoon. Everyone knew that opening the season on the road against the 2 time defending champions wouldn't be easy, but there was still a sense of optimism in the air, the feeling of freshness that you get with each new season. LA was playing without Landon Donovan, and had lost the legendary David Beckham in the off season, why couldn't the Fire start the season off right?

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Written by JR Patton | 18 September 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

DSC_0593It’s been a while since Hook ‘N Ladders has posted a full length story about the club that we all love so much. I apologize for the delay in posts, but I hope that you’ve continued to follow along with us on Twitter and cheapest secure delivery cialis uk help listen to us on O’Leary’s Podcast. If you haven’t, well then you’re just plain missing out! But here we are, back in the business of writing full length analyses, opinions, and other random junk – so fasten your seat belts and let’s get this thing rolling.

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Written by JR Patton | 14 July 2012
Posted in // Live Updates

Hello and welcome to another beautiful Saturday night from Bridgeview, Illinois. On tap tonight is a match between our beloved Men in Red and the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.


July 14th, 2012 - Toyota Park

85 degrees and partly cloudy

Chicago Fire (8-6-4, 28 pts) v. Vancouver Whitecaps (8-5-6, 30 pts)


Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero

Referee's Assistant: Adam Wienckowski

Referee's Assistant: Peter Manikowski

4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja


Chicago: Johnson, Anibaba, Friedrich, Berry, Segares, Rolfe, Pause (C), Alex, Pardo, Nyarko, Oduro.

Vancouver: Cannon, Young-Pyo, DeMerit, Bonjour, Harvey, Robson, Davidson, Koffie, Rochat, Nanchoff, Mattocks


Chicago: Nolly, Gargan, Bone, Paladini, Pappa, Robayo, Puppo

Vancouver: Knighton, Klazura, Mitchelll, Richards, Teibert, Camilo, Hassli

Written by JR Patton | 30 May 2012
Posted in // Chicago Fire

4_CupsThe Chicago Fire have 4 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup titles, more than any other MLS club. They've been in the final a total of six times, including last season's defeat at the hands of Seattle Sounders. The Fire are the "Kings of the Cup". So, when MLS clubs entered the competition in the third round last night, the Fire were looking for an easy win vs. the PDL Michigan Bucks. Apparently no one told the Bucks that they weren't supposed to win. 

Sure, you can take a look at the starting XI that Frank Klopas fielded, and even the gameday 18 and say that it's not a huge surprise that this side couldn't bring back the victory and move on to the next round. But even an MLS reserve squad should be able to beat a PDL team, if not than why are they playing on our reserve squad? What does that say about the depth of this club?

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Written by JR Patton | 23 May 2012
Posted in // Live Updates

Hello on a beautiful night from Toyota Park. We are set to see our Chicago Fire (4-3-3 15 pts) take on the visiting FC Dallas (3-6-4 13 pts) in the only Brimstone Cup matchup this season.

Starting XI:

Dallas: Hartman, Loyd, John, Hedges, Benitez, Jackson, Marcelin, Jacobson, Hernandez (C), Leyva, Perez.

Chicago: Johnson, Gargan, Anibaba, Berry, Segares, Nyarko, Robayo, Grazzini, Pause (C), Pappa, Oduro.



Dallas: Seitz, Guarda, Hernandez, Rodriguez, Sealy, Top, Ulloa

Chicago: Tornaghi, Jumper, Bone, Paladini, Pardo, Barouch, Puppo


Referee: Hilario Grajeda

Assistants: Peter Balciunas, Kevin Klinger

4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja


Overall Thoughts:

The first thing that jumps out right away is Robayo starting in place of Pardo.

It'll be interesting to see how Robayo handles himself with the opportunity to start and get some solid minutes.

Coming off the loss in Portland, the Fire need to get out to an early lead and build on it - no giving up the first goal, and no sitting back if they go ahead early.

The lineup has Patrick Nyarko listed in the midfield with a 4-5-1 lineup - no big surprise there.

It's time for the pregame pagentry, I'll check back in with you guys at halftime - make sure to follow along on Twitter if you're not at the park tonight.