Fire

Fire endure late onslaught to hold on for a draw in Portland

Fire endure late onslaught to hold on for a draw in Portland

The Chicago Fire may be looking forward to the upcoming Gold Cup break.

The Fire played to a 2-2 draw in Portland on Wednesday without Dax McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger and lost Matt Polster to an injury in the first half. The Fire’s next game is July 22 at New York City FC while Major League Soccer takes a break for the group stage of the Gold Cup.

Schweinsteiger didn’t travel with the team after suffering a hip injury in the first half against Vancouver. Polster suffered a right leg injury just shy of 30 minutes into the game and was subbed out soon after. McCarty remains with the U.S. for the Gold Cup, which starts Saturday for the Americans.

Despite that, the Fire (11-3-5, 38 points) had a lead in the second half and still earned a road point against a playoff team.

Portland took the lead via a Fanendo Adi penalty kick after Juninho was called for a handball in the box. The Fire leveled things a few minutes later when Arturo Alvarez put in a cross from the right wing that wound up in the net.

Nemanja Nikolic was initially credited with the goal after crashing in front, but after replay, and Nikolic’s own admission, the goal was later changed to Alvarez. Nikolic still has a league-leading 16 goals, but was denied No. 17.

“I need to say the first goal is for Arturo,” Nikolic said in the halftime interview on CSN Chicago. “I don’t touch that ball. Anyway I think that my movement disturbed the goalkeeper.”

Brandon Vincent later gave the Fire the lead in the 61st minute. It was his first career MLS goal.

"I didn't know what to do with myself," Vincent said on the postgame interview on CSN Chicago. "I'm just glad it went in. It was a great ball from (Alvarez) and I was in a good place. Great team effort."


Sebastian Blanco got the tying goal for Portland nine minutes later. Portland pushed for the winning goal, racking up 24 shots and nine on target, but settled for the home draw.

The Fire are now tied on points with Toronto FC after the Reds won 3-1 at Orlando earlier on Wednesday.

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.