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Chicagoland Soccer Fans Have a Winner in Toyota Park

By Todd McClamroch in News on Jun 26, 2006 3:56AM

06_25_06_fire.jpgThe Chicago Fire christened their new stadium properly on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls. The victory moves them out of last place of the Eastern Conference and within striking distance of third place. Chicago Fire Coach Dave Sarachan said tonight was like the start of a new season for the Fire, and the Fire played like it.

The Chicago Fire were greeted by an enthusiastic sellout crowd of over 20,000 as they took the pitch. The fans did not have to wait long for something to celebrate as Fire Captain Chris Armas put the Fire on the board in the twelfth minute. Armas' shot was tipped by goalkeeper Tony Meola, then rolled across the end line for his first goal of the 2006 campaign.

The Fire dominated the possession for the entire game and created a lot of opportunities, but could not find the back of the net again before halftime. Midway through the second half, Brazilian Thiago received a ball from substitute Calen Carr, worked his way through the defense and drove a shot past Meola, extending the Fire lead to 2-0.

06_25_06_fire2.jpgThe second goal of the night came in front of the Section 8 fans, a group of diehard Fire Fans, and they erupted into song before the ball could hit the back of the net. The atmosphere in Toyota Park was electric, and the Chicago Fire definitely benefited from the excitement. After the game Chris Armas commented that the team fed off the energy of the crowd.

After the game, the players all came over to the stands and showed their appreciation to the fans. Defenseman C.J. Brown took the time to sign autographs and have his photo taken with the very appreciative fans. You can check out some Chicagoist photos on Flickr and video on YouTube.

Soccer fans who missed out on tonight's official home opener have plenty of opportunities to check out Toyota Park as the Fire's next eight games will be played at their new home. Details and ticket information can be found on the Chicago Fire website.