CHICAGO -- The Chicago Fire gave AC Milan everything they could handle and
more, keeping the European vice-champion on their heels for long stretches
but denied by the woodwork and some poor finishing before falling 3-1 in a
colorful international friendly Wednesday night at Soldier Field.
Christian Vieri started the scoring in the 21st minute, his first goal for
AC Milan after joining the club from city rival Internazionale this

Fearless Fire striker Chris Rolfe equalized one minute after Vieri's
opener with a scintillating 20-yard strike past the outstretched arms of
Milan 'keeper Valerio Fiori and into the side netting.

Milan's heavily touted summer signing, 22-year-old Alberto Gilardino,
tapped in the game-winner on 76 minutes, before Serginho added Milan's
third goal in stoppage time.

The final scoreline was not necessarily indicative of the run of play, as
the Fire kept the rossoneri hemmed in for long stretches of the match.
Rolfe led the Fire's offensive posture, dazzling the spirited crowd with
several first half rushes toward goal.

Rolfe's lone Fire goal was the culmination of an individual effort that
included the Fire rookie winning the ball at the top of the Milan box
before turning on accomplished Italian international Alessandro Nesta and
firing inside the post from outside the area.

The sides went into the interval level at 1-1, and Chicago started the
second half storming Milan's goal.

Fiori stonewalled Andy Herron's second breakaway of the match on 57
minutes, a virtual carbon copy opportunity and ensuing save of Herron's
35th-minute solo sprint on goal.

Chad Barrett and Samuel Caballero each beat Fiore on 64 and 67 minutes
respectively, but both of their hard shots hit the post.

Fire coach Dave Sarachan substituted seven players in the game's final 30
minutes - giving virtually the entire Fire roster a potentially
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete against some of the world's best
players -- and it was during that transitional stretch that Milan found
its foothold.

Gilardino had the easiest of finishes to put Milan ahead, after a neat
passing movement ripped apart the Fire backline.

Serginho then capped off the scoring with a vicious strike on the run from
the left that thundered off the underside of the crossbar over substitute
'keeper David Mahoney, just over the goal line and back out into the field
of play, but the referee and his assistant correctly ruled the ball
entirely crossed the line.

Foreign competition had been nothing new to the Chicago Fire before the
exhibition with Milan. Despite Wednesday's loss, the Men in Red have
posted a successful 4-2-1 record while hosting foreign exhibitions at
Soldier Field, beating successful clubs such as Germany's Hamburg (5-1 in
2000), Poland's Legia Warsaw (3-2 in 1999), England's Derby County (1-0 in
2001) and Mexico's Pumas UNAM (1-0 in 1998).

Ivaldo Basso is a contributor to This story was not subject to
the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

AC Milan vs. Chicago Fire
July 27, 2005 -- Soldier Field

Scoring Summary:
ACM -- Christian Vieri (Paolo Maldini) 21
CHI -- Chris Rolfe (unassisted) 22
ACM -- Alberto Gilardino (Clarence Seedorf, Andrea Pirlo) 76
ACM -- Serginho (Clarence Seedorf) 93+

AC Milan -- Valerio Fiori, Cafu (Dario Simic 46) (Lino Marzoratti 51),
Jakob Stam, Alessandro Nesta (Alessandro Costacurta 46), Paolo Maldini
(Kahka Kaladze 46), Manuel Rui Costa (Clarence Seedorf 46), Johann Vogel
(Gennero Gattuso 66), Massimo Ambrosini, Serginho, Christian Vieri (Andrea
Pirlo 46), Alberto Gilardino (Matteo Ardemagni 83).

Substitutes Not Used: Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos.

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Alberto Gilardino 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Alberto Gilardino
3); FOULS: 12 (Massimo Ambrosini 3); OFFSIDES: 8 (Alberto Gilardino 7);
CORNER KICKS: 7 (Serginho 3); SAVES: 7 (Valerio Fiori 7)

Chicago Fire -- Zach Thornton (David Mahoney 88), Samuel Caballero (Jared
Montz 88), C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin, Ivan Guerrero (Jack Stewart 77), Logan
Pause, Chris Armas (Scott Buete 65), Jesse Marsch (Thiago 60), Justin Mapp
(Will John 82), Chris Rolfe (Will Johnson 71), Andy Herron (Chad Barrett

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Andy Herron 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Andy Herron 3); FOULS:
9 (Andy Herron 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Andy Herron 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Chris
Armas 2); SAVES: 4 (Zach Thornton 4)

Misconduct Summary: none

Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday; Craig Lowry
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Attendance: 21,954
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Clear-and-70-degrees

=== Arif Ikram ===

Most consistent statement by any inter fan:
"There is always next season" || [EMAIL PROTECTED]


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