Fire

Ex-Fire star Blanco apparent winner of mayoral race in Mexico

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Ex-Fire star Blanco apparent winner of mayoral race in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexican soccer star Cuauhtemoc Blanco has apparently been elected mayor of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City.

Preliminary counts published Monday show the former star forward won 25.7 percent of the votes cast in Sunday's election, well ahead of his nearest rival, who had 21.2 percent.

Blanco ran on the ticket of the tiny Social Democrat Party.

The 42-year-old former national team star jumped into the campaign after retiring on April 21. He had played limited minutes off the bench for the first-division Puebla team this year, and was earlier with the Chicago Fire in the MLS.

His lack of political experience had raised doubts among some.

Known for his pugilistic playing style, Blanco was equally combative at a victory news conference.

''Now I've screwed them,'' he said of his rivals.

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Another soccer figure also got involved in Mexico's midterm elections on Sunday.

National team coach Miguel Herrera, best known for his emotional sideline celebrations in the last World Cup, drew criticism for tweeting slogans supporting the Green Party.

Herrera on Sunday tweeted ''don't forget to vote, let's go with the Greens,'' and ''The Greens fulfill'' their promises.

Green was traditionally the Mexican national team's color, but the ''The Greens Fulfill'' was a party campaign slogan.

Electoral law forbids campaigning by parties on election day, but Green Party officials say they had nothing to do with Herrera's tweets.

Herrera was prickly and defensive about the tweets at a news conference Sunday, after the national team lost 2-0 in a friendly match with Brazil.

''I'm a human being, I'm a normal Mexican citizen, with statements that I can make in social media,'' Herrera said. ''It's simply a personal situation.''

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof was involved in a car accident on his way to practice Thursday morning that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to authorities and the Secretary of State’s Office, a box truck crashed into the Dutch player’s 2013 Volkswagen and another vehicle in the 5900 block of South Harlem. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over and two people fled from the scene.

The driver ran on foot and the passenger moved into the driver’s seat before driving the truck onto the Stevenson Expressway after the crash, officials said. After the damaged vehicle broke down, police say the same passenger tried to jump into the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Both were taken into custody.

Team officials said Kappelhof was treated and released from the hospital without indicators of a concussion. The 27-year-old was reportedly seen at Toyota Park after the crash and did not have any serious injuries. The other driver who was hit by the box truck was also treated, police said.

This season in league play with the Fire, Kappelhof has three assists in 16 games. The international product was a 2017 MLS All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the Fire last season. He was signed in 2016 and has made one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.