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Monday, May 24, 2010
Fire drop a spot in power rankings

By Charlie Corr

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire are in the midst of a busy non-MLS month. And without a league match this past week, Chicago still dropped a point to 12th in ESPNSoccernet.com's weekly MLS Power Rankings.

The Fire (2-3-3) resume league play this Thursday when they host FC Dallas (7 p.m., ESPN). Chicago has not experienced a victory since its 2-0 blanking of the Houston Dynamo on April 24.

There is some curiosity to see how the Fire can bounce back into MLS action having gone so long without a win. They rotated some players into the mix during their two Sister Cities International Cup matches, losing to finish last out of the four participating squads.

"I guess we'll find out Thursday," Fire midfielder Justin Mapp said. "Some of these players have played a lot of minutes in the past week or two with the Sister Cities Tournament and league play. It's important to get them their rest. ... I guess we'll find out Thursday if that'll affect us, but I think we'll bounce back."

The timing of the Sister Cities probably was not ideal from the Fire's standpoint. Chicago's seven-match May is pretty hectic, and so far the team is 0-3-2 this month.

Sister Cities also took its lumps in the stands, but the finale made it worthwhile for those who made the trek to Bridgeview. Red Star Belgrade's win over Paris Saint-Germain was top-notch entertainment. The Red Star supporters’ section was vocal and RSB's hesitation penalty kick attempts prevailed. On the flip side, Marcos Ceara's 90th-minute game-tying strike for PSG was world-class, directly over RSB goalkeeper Sasa Stamenkovic's gloves and somehow sneaking under the crossbar.

Taste of Italian: As an Italian prelude to Sunday's Fire match against A.C. Milan, several Fire players will be at Piece Brewery and Pizzeria, 1927 W. North Ave., in Chicago, for a "Pizza Friendly" event from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, midfielders Baggio Husidic, Peter Lowry and Patrick Nyarko, and forward Calen Carr will be making and serving pizzas to the general public. Ten percent of Piece's "Il Fuoco" pizza and Worryin' Ale beer purchased will benefit the Chicago Fire Foundation.