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 Fire's 'MLS is Back' opening match postponed due to COVID-19

Chicago Fire's 'MLS is Back' opening match postponed due to COVID-19

MLS announced on Tuesday that the Chicago Fire’s first game back after the season was suspended due to COVID-19 has been postponed.

The Fire were supposed to play Nashville SC on Wednesday in their opening Group A match of the MLS is Back tournament. But since arriving in Orlando for the tournament, five Nashville players tested positive for COVID-19 and four others received inclusive results, requiring more testing. As a result, MLS is now evaluating Nashville’s participation in the tournament.

The Fire will now return to play on July 14 against Inter Miami CF.

The Fire also announced that the Drive-In Matchday event that was scheduled for Wednesday’s game has been rescheduled for their July 19 game against New York City FC. Fans who registered for that event will have the opportunity to sign-up again for the new date.

This is the second Chicago pro sports match altered as leagues try to return to play. The Chicago Red Stars also had a game cancelled in late June due to Orlando Pride players testing positive for COVID-19.

As MLB, the NHL and the NBA gear up to return it remains to be seen how they will react in a similar situation.

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MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

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USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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