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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Fire to host Man-U at Soldier Field

By Charlie Corr

After many weeks of speculation and floating reports across the globe, the Chicago Fire's bout against Manchester United is set in stone.

The Fire face Manchester United at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23 at Soldier Field as part of the World Football Challenge.

"We are excited to host Manchester United, one of the world's finest clubs, at home in Chicago in front of our supporters," Fire owner Andrew Hauptman said in a statement. "Bringing United to Chicago helps the Fire continue to expand our reach in one of North America's premier soccer markets. Our participation in the World Football Challenge gives our players an opportunity to take on one of the most talented clubs on the planet, while galvanizing Chicago's vast soccer community."

The Red Devils' World Football Challenge schedule includes a match against the New England Revolution on July 13 in Foxborough, Mass.; the July 23 match against Chicago; the 2011 MLS All-Star Game against the Major League Soccer All-Stars at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on July 27 (7:30 p.m., ESPN2); and a match against FC Barcelona on July 30 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Fire face Colorado in Open Cup: The Fire travel to Bradley University's Shea Stadium in Peoria, Ill., on Wednesday to take on the defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids in a qualifier match for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m., and a webcast will be available through the team's site, Chicago-Fire.com.

Chicago has garnered the Dewar Trophy on four occasions in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 -- the most among MLS clubs. But the Fire have not had a successful run in the Open Cup in recent years.

The Fire most recently lost to the Charleston Battery in a shootout, 3-0, on June 29 in last year's third-round match of the Open Cup at Toyota Park. After a scoreless regulation and overtime, the Fire saw Brian McBride strike the ball over the crossbar, Krzysztof Krol take an attempt saved by Charleston goalkeeper Tim Melia, and Wilman Conde hit the crossbar during the shootout.