The MLS All-Stars should be filled with Chicago Fire players and two of them are among the first players on the roster.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic were included in the group of 10 players that fans voted into the MLS All-Star Fan XI, as first posted by the Chicago Tribune. The MLS All-Star Game will take place at Soldier Field on August 2 with Real Madrid serving as the opponent.
Both Schweinsteiger and Nikolic are newcomers to the Fire this season and have been huge parts of the team's turnaround from cellar dwellar to being currently tied with Toronto FC for the best record in Major League Soccer. Schweinsteiger was called the MVP at this point in the season by MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle and Nikolic is leading the league in goals with 16 so far.
Joining the two Fire standouts as players voted in the by fans are David Villa (New York City FC) at forward, Kaka (Orlando), Michael Bradley (Toronto) and Miguel Almiron (Atlanta) in midfield, defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Houston), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City) and Greg Garza (Atlanta) and goalkeeper Tim Howard (Colorado). Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco got into the Fan XI via a contest involving FIFA 17.
Schweinsteiger played in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game when he played with Bayern Munich in Portland and was on the receiving end of a tackle from Will Johnson that set then-Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola off. This time Schweinsteiger will be a part on the MLS side of the All-Star Game.
Later in July, Fire coach Veljko Paunovic will add 11 players and commissioner Don Garber will select two more to fill out a 23-man roster. Dax McCarty and David Accam seem likely choices to join the All-Star Team from the Fire.
Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.
OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet.
From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.
Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.
As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.
The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.
Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.
At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.
Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.