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Ching's hat trick sinks the Fire in Houston

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Ching's hat trick sinks the Fire in Houston

Saturday, Aug. 21, 201010:23 PM

Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP)Brian Ching scored the last of his three goals in the 85th minute to help the Houston Dynamo win for the first time in 11 games with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.

After Wilman Condes equalizer for Chicago in the 81st minute, the Hawaiian-born forward secured the win for Houston when he headed a corner kick by Richard Mulrooney just inside the right post four minutes later.
HOUSTON - AUGUST 21: Goalkeeper Sean Johnson 25 of the Chicago Fire goes up over Brian Ching 25 of the Houston Dynamo for a save in the first half at Robertson Stadium on August 21, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Johnson lost control of the ball when he came down and Ching put the ball in the back of the net for a goal.

Lovel Palmer scored his second goal of the season and Mulrooney was involved in all four goals for the Dynamo, whose last win was 2-0 over D.C. United on May 22.

Ching recorded his first hat trick since the franchises first game in April 2006 and now has six MLS goals in 2010.

Ching used a left-footed shot to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute after Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson dropped a corner kick by Mulrooney. That gave the Dynamo its first lead since July 1 at Toronto.

Palmer extended Houstons lead to 2-0 in the 50th minute, when the Dynamo scored on yet another set piece. But the Fire made it 2-1 when Calen Carr powered a shot by Pat Onstad in the 55th minute.

Ching scored a pretty bicycle-kick goal four minutes later to give Houston a 3-1 lead. Bobby Boswell hit the crossbar, but the rebound ended up just outside the goalkeeper box. With his back toward the net, Ching jumped and scored his second goal of the night in the 59th minute.

The Fire got within a goal in the 59th minute when Boswell rolled an own goal by Onstad to make it 3-2.

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.