Wednesday Afternoon Union Freekicks: Chicago Away

BRIDGEVIEW, IL - JULY 16: Chicago Fire fans light flares during the match between the Chicago Fire and the Portland Timbers during an MLS match on July 16, 2011 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Tonight's a rather busy night in American soccer -- particularly for a Wednesday. The Union-Fire match is one of three MLS matches set to take place tonight, not to mention tonight's second legs of Seattle-San Francisco FC and FC Dallas-Alianza in CONCACAF Champions League play and the Barcelona-Chivas Guadalajara match taking place at Sun Life Stadium. But for Union fans, tonight is all about getting a result in Chicago. Today's open discussion thread for all things Union and MLS.

Players to debut for revamped Fire [Len Ziehm, Chicago Sun-Times] - Despite earlier indications, both Sebastian Grazziani and Pavel Pardo are expected to make their MLS debuts tonight.

Source: Carlos Ruiz leaving Union for Mexican club [Kerith Gabriel, Philadelphia Daily News] - Seems like the only thing left for the two clubs and Ruiz is to work out logistics.

Union motivated to reclaim first place after home setback [Nick Iuele, philadelphiaunion.com] - One does wonder whether a bad loss like Friday is actually a good thing for a team in a position like the Union every in a while, to make sure that they're not subconsciously trying to coast.

Farfan exceeding expectations as Union's left back [Dave Zeitlin, MLSsoccer.com] - "I feel a lot more comfortable than when I first started out. Game by game, I'm just getting more comfortable."

Fire get back to grind against Union [Charlie Corr, ESPN Chicago] - "The team has come back with a very good attitude and is eager to get things going again," interim head coach Frank Klopas said. "We all understand what's at stake right now. Mentally and physically, we have to put everything into these next 14 games."

Toronto FC advances in Champions League play [National Post] - Toronto beat Real Estelí last night 2-1 in Nicaragua, taking the series 4-2 on aggregate. They will find themselves in Group C when group play begins later this month.

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