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Soccer/DAILY REPORT

Another MLS Team to Get New Stadium

January 26, 2004|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Major League Soccer took another significant step forward Sunday when the Chicago Fire and its owner, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, announced that they will build a $70-million stadium in suburban Bridgeview, Ill.

The move comes less than one year after AEG completed the $150-million Home Depot Center in Carson as home for the Galaxy and U.S. national teams and one year before the Hunt Sports Group completes a soccer-specific stadium for the Dallas Burn in Frisco, Texas.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber called Sunday's announcement "another watershed moment for our sport."

Bridgeview was one of more than 20 communities considered by the Fire for its new home. The stadium, which will seat between 20,000 and 25,000, is expected to be completed by the start of the 2006 season. The 60-acre site, 12 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, also will feature team offices and training fields.

The Fire will be the primary tenant, but the stadium will also be used for international and NCAA matches and, according to Tim Leiweke, AEG's president and chief executive, for "concerts and other sporting competitions."

It is part of a broader redevelopment that will include restaurants, theaters, a hotel and other commercial ventures.

Peter Wilt, the Fire's general manager, called the stadium "critical to the team's long-term economic viability."

The Fire will continue playing at Soldier Field until its stadium is ready.

Benfica Player Dies

Hungarian international forward Miklos Feher died at a hospital in Guimaraes, Portugal, on Sunday night after collapsing during a league game for his Portuguese club team, Benfica.

Feher, 24, slumped to the turf shortly after being shown a yellow card by referee Olegario Benquerenca during injury time at the end of the match against Guimaraes. According to reports, he smiled at the referee before leaning forward with his hands on his thighs and then suddenly falling backward.

"He fell heavily and didn't move," Benquerenca said. "It was obviously something serious."

Feher was given CPR on the field before being taken to hospital, where he died an hour later of a suspected heart attack. Feher's death comes less than a year after Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed during a Confederations Cup match in France and later died of a heart attack caused by an enlarged left ventricle.

Athens 2004

Paraguay qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games on Sunday with a 1-0 upset victory over Brazil. The five-time world champion will thus have to wait another four years to have the chance to win the Olympic gold medal for the first time.

A headed goal by defender Jose De Vaca in the 33rd minute gave Paraguay its victory in Vina del Mar, Chile, and sent it to the Olympics for only the second time. Paraguay's previous appearance was in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Argentina earlier had clinched South America's other place in the Games when it defeated Paraguay, 2-1, on Friday night.

On Sunday, with nothing at stake, Argentina was fortunate to tie Chile, 2-2, in a match in which Argentina goalkeeper Wilfredo Caballero saved a penalty kick from Joel Soto with one minute left.

Carlsberg Cup

Norway won the annual Carlsberg Cup in Hong Kong when it defeated Honduras, 3-1, after last week shutting out Sweden, 3-0. Harald Martin Brattbakk, Frode Johnsen and Magne Hoset scored for Norway, while Saul Martinez, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese league, scored for Coach Bora Milutinovic's Honduran team.

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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