Chicago Fire Officially Sold

The Chicago Fire have been officially sold to Andell Holdings, a Los Angeles-based private investment firm. Chairman and CEO Andrew Hauptman: "As a longtime soccer fan, I am so excited about our purchase of the Chicago Fire. We're fully dedicated to working with the team, its fans and the Chicago community to build a championship franchise."

The sale leaves Anschutz Entertainment Group with just two teams - the Houston Dynamo and the Los Angeles Galaxy. "Ultimately, the reason we agreed to sell the Fire was to reduce the number of teams operated by our organization. We believe that bringing in a new partner like Andrew and Andell will help the league and the sport continue to grow and become more successful," said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG. Last year, AEG sold the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to Red Bull, triggering the club's re-branding to the New York Red Bulls.

The purchase price for the Fire was not disclosed but my guess is somewhere in the range of $35 million. D.C. United was sold by AEG earlier this year for $33 million.

Chivas Battles D.C. To Tie

Chivas USA fell behind D.C. United quickly on Thursday night thanks to two Luciano Emilio goals in the first 26 minutes, but the Goats made a game of it by scoring two rather unconventional goals to salvage a 2-2 draw at the Home Depot Center.

Emilio's goals are #'s 15 and 16 on the season, moving him two clear of Juan Pablo Angel and Eddie Johnson in the race for the Golden Boot.

Full recap can be found at American Soccer Daily.

Chivas USA moves into sole possession of second-place in the West with the point, trailing Houston by two.

D.C. uses their point to pull one ahead of New England in the Eastern Conference and have ridden a seven-game unbeaten streak to the best point total in MLS.


Power Rankings - Week 23

Here are The MLS Zone power rankings for Week 23. Last week's positions are in parenthesis.

1. D.C. United (1)
It took them a while to get going, but they now look unstoppable, winning six straight league matches. DCU has won AT Dallas and AT New England - two of the league's best teams - by a combined score of 7-0 in the past month.

Week's results: DCU 4 - FCD 0

2. New England Revolution (3)
The Revs did not have any games scheduled this week, giving them time to prepare for Sunday's epic clash with D.C. United. With both teams tied at the top of the league with 42 points, whomever prevails this weekend will have the upper-hand over the other for the rest of the season.

Week's results: - none -

3. FC Dallas (2)
Got smacked down at home by D.C. United on Saturday - probably just a speed bump on their way to the playoffs. The imminent returns of Kenny Cooper and Juan Carlos Toja will make this already-dangerous offense that much more lethal. Desperate Toronto FC rolls into Pizza Hut Park this Saturday, a match FCD should be able to prevail in.

Week's results: DCU 4 - FCD 0

4. Houston Dynamo (4)
Fought back to earn a home tie against Kansas City, but the Dynamo offense is sputtering right now, with just three goals in their last five games. Dwayne De Rosario has scored just four goals this season, well down from his career-high of 11 set last year. Draws a red-hot Real Salt Lake team for this weekend - RSL has already defeated Houston once this season, 1-0 in early August.

Week's results: KC 1 - HOU 1

5. Chivas USA (5)
Preki's club could really make a statement this week with home gomes on Thursday against D.C. United and Sunday against the New York Red Bulls. The Goats are nearly invincible at home, compiling a 7-0-1 record in home matches in 2007.

Week's results: - none -

6. New York Red Bulls (7)
It's much easier to win when you don't score goals against yourself. Despite recent defensive woes, the Bulls pitched a shutout against the Chicago Fire this past weekend but will have to contain a peaking Chivas USA club this Sunday.

Week's results: CHI 0 - NYRB 1

7. Chicago Fire (8)
Saturday's loss to New York not withstanding, Chicago appears poised to make a serious run in the post-season. The return of Chris Rolfe can only help this team, who dearly missed him when he was sideline with an ankle injury for much of the season. A win at Columbus on Saturday would greatly improve their position in the standings.

Week's results: CHI 0 - NYRB 1

8. Kansas City Wizards (6)
Sliding the wrong way at the wrong time of year. Once the best team in the East, they are just a handful of points from falling into a four-team race for the last two playoff spots. Tying Houston was little consolation after losing to lowly Real Salt Lake this past week. Eddie Johnson is still motoring along with 14 goals this season, but isn't getting much help from his teammates.

Week's results: KC 1 - RSL 3, KC 1 - HOU1

9. Colorado Rapids (10)
A string of wins has put Colorado back in the thick of the playoff race. They have a must-win against Chivas USA in two weeks before going on the road for the rest September.

Week's results: COL 1 - CBS 1

10. Columbus Crew (9)
Also fighting for a post-season birth, but will have to pick up as many points this month as possible as the Crew will end their season with games vs. Dallas, @ New England, and @ D.C. United. Chicago will also be no pushover on Saturday.

Week's results: COL 1 - CBS 1

11. Real Salt Lake (13)
Showing some life late in the season, it is realistically probably too late to salvage the season. Putting together their first winning streak of the season is a good sign, but RSL has three road games in a seven-day span on the horizon, making their quest for points that much harder. Also, the franchise has never put together a 3-game winning streak since coming into the league in 2005.

Week's results: KC 1 - RSL 3, RSL 2 - LA 1

12. Los Angeles Galaxy (11)
While the Fire Frank Yallop movement has lost some steam in recent days, injuries are keeping this team from showing any improvement at all. The Galaxy showed heart in their SuperLiga final loss to Pachuca on Wednesday and were in the driver's seat on Saturday against RSL, but a makeshift defense couldn't stop the bleeding.

Week's results: RSL 2 - LA 1

13. Toronto FC (12)
They started the season looking like an expansion team, but turned their season around for several weeks this summer. As of late, they look more like the team that started the season, with injuries and player rifts destroying team morale. Saturday's trip to Dallas likely won't make things any better.

Week's results: - none -

Galaxy Lose Sixth Straight

Another rough night for Galaxy fans as they watch their team score six minutes in only to give up two unanswered goals in the second half, including one to former Galaxy player Robbie Findley. Landon Donovan missed a penalty kick early in the second half that would have likely put the game on ice, his second miss from the spot in as many games.

My full match report is up at American Soccer Daily.

Post-Game Quotes
Frank Yallop - "We had great chances to finish the game, and we didn't. I guess fatigue plays a part, but I don't wanna keep bringing that up, so I'm not gonna anymore."

Chris Klein - "There is disappointment in the locker room, but this is a proud bunch of guys. We've been in the thick of things every couple of days for two months and it hasn't gone our way.

Landon Donovan on the future of the club - "I think you have to be careful... there's a lot of very good players here and if you want to have a fire sale and just get rid of everybody, you're gonna be further in the hole - and that includes Frank. I think it'd be ignorant of people to put any blame on Frank. Nobody's quitting for that guy, we will run through the ******* wall for that guy."

LD on the missed penalty - "I smashed it. It almost went behind his head, I think, when he saved it. Give (RSL keeper Nick Rimando) credit, he made a good save."

Player Ratings
Cronin - 4.5
Klein - 6.5
Roberts -5.0
Xavier - 5.5
Randolph - 4.0
Donovan - 5.0
Harmse - 5.5
Vagenas - 3.5
Martino - 4.0
Buddle - 3.5
Gordon - 5.5

Cobi - 5.5
Pavon - 4.5
Glinton - 5.0