Bears

Fire to host Aston Villa in July

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Fire to host Aston Villa in July

The Barclays Premier League is coming back to Chicago.

A year after hosting English giant Manchester United at Soldier Field, the Fire will hold an international friendly against Premier League side Aston Villa at Toyota Park July 21, the team announced Tuesday.

Aston Villa's squad features two Chicago-area natives in keeper Brad Guzan (Homer Glen) and Eric Lichaj (Downers Grove).

Historically one of England's most successful clubs, Aston Villa has fallen on hard times in the Premier League this season. The club sits 15th in the league table with 33 points, eight points above the relegation zone. Only two teams -- Stoke City and Wigan Athletic -- have scored fewer goals than Aston Villa, but no other 11-20 team has allowed fewer goals than Villa's 38.

The Fire have played three matches against English Premier League clubs, defeating Derby County 1-0 in 1999 and Everton 2-0 in 2008. Aston Villa has played MLS clubs twice, defeating Toronto and Columbus in 2007.

Tickets to the event go on sale Tuesday afternoon.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.

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Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

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USA TODAY

Bulls announce substitute broadcasters for first five Neil Funk-less games

If you haven't heard, Neil Funk is cutting 20 road games from his 2018-19 Bulls' play-by-play schedule.

Friday, the Bulls announced that Adam Amin, Andy Demetra and Kyle Draper will fill in for Funk for the first five of those games.

Amin, a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, will games on Oct. 22 against the Mavericks and Nov. 14 against the Celtics. He grew up in Addison, resides in Chicago and also does play-by-play for Bears preseason games.

Demetra is from Oak Brook and currently is the play-by-play broadcaster for Georgia Tech basketball and football. He will call games on Oct. 26 against the Hornets and Oct. 27 against the Hawks. He has previous play-by-play experience with the SEC Network, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports South.

Draper will call the Bulls' Nov. 7 game against the Pelicans. He is the Celtics' pregame and postgame host for NBC Sports Boston and an occasional play-by-play annoucer and sideline reporter for the Celtics.

The Bulls said they will continue providing updates on substitute broadcasters as they are scheduled.