Fire

David Accam happy for recent break after busy stretch with Ghana and the Fire

David Accam happy for recent break after busy stretch with Ghana and the Fire

After a busy couple of weeks, David Accam was happy for the break he and his Chicago Fire teammates got.

Accam played a pair of friendlies with the Ghanaian national team, June 28 vs. Mexico in Houston and July 1 vs. the U.S. in East Hartford, Connecticut, before rejoining the Fire for a match in Portland on July 5.

With Ghana, Accam came off the bench and played 31 minutes in the 1-0 loss to Mexico. He started, but was subbed out at halftime against the U.S. in a 2-1 American win. Then Accam traveled from East Coast to West Coast to play in Portland.

After earning a tough draw in Portland, the Fire were off from training for six days.

“I went out with my friends, just taking it easy with my friends and family,” Accam said. “I didn’t do much. I just wanted to rest and hang out with my friends and family.”

The Fire returned to training on Wednesday in a session that didn’t feature Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nemanja Nikolic or even coach Veljko Paunovic, who was in Tampa for league competition meetings.

“You want to be playing every time, but also the break is good,” Accam said. “Everyone is happy to come back with more energy.”

Accam’s time with Ghana wasn’t a resounding success. Not only did the team lose both games, but Accam failed to make a significant impression individually.

Even during arguably the best year of his club career, Accam hasn’t been called in consistently to the national team. He was not on the roster for the 2017 African Cup of Nations, which took place in January and February, and was only a late addition to the roster for the two recent friendlies.

When asked how his recent time with Ghana went, Accam wasn’t speaking in glowing terms.

“It was OK,” he said. “To be fair, we lost both games and for me I was happy to be playing with the national team also and I saw some of my friends so it was good.”

With the Fire, Accam has 10 goals, tied for fifth most in the league, and seven assists, also tied for fifth most. Those kind of numbers make it seem likely he will join Schweinsteiger and Nikolic in the MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field, but Accam wasn’t ready to predict his chances of getting the nod.

“I don’t know,” he said. “For me, I’m playing well. I’m doing well for the team and if I get in, it’s a bonus. If I don’t, nothing changes. I think I’ve done enough to get in, so I’ll just wait and see what happens.”

The rest of the MLS All-Star roster is expected to come out later in mid-July.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

portillos.jpg
@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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.