Fire

Fire loan Drew Conner and Patrick Doody to Saint Louis FC

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Fire loan Drew Conner and Patrick Doody to Saint Louis FC

The Chicago Fire officially announced the loan deals of Drew Conner and Patrick Doody to USL affiliate Saint Louis FC on Friday.

Both Conner and Doody played in a preseason friendly with the Missouri club earlier in March so this doesn't come as a surprise. Neither player had made an appearance in the Fire's first three matches of the season.

Doody, 23, went on loan to Saint Louis FC last season. He made 21 appearances with the USL club and tied for the team lead with four assists. He earned some late season appearances with the Fire after his positive loan stint, but through three matches this season it appeared Doody was fourth in the Fire's fullback depth chart.

Brandon Vincent seems to have locked down Doody's left back position and Doody only made the substitute list when Michael Harrington was suspended for the March 19 match against Columbus. While returning to St. Louis might feel like stagnation to Doody, he was a popular player in his time with the team last year, even having a fan club named for him.

"It is great to have Patrick back," Saint Louis FC coach Dale Schilly said in the club's statement. "Fans grew accustomed to his ventures down the left flank and his ball services. He's a very good teammate and a nice fit in our locker room. I am eager to watch him compete for his time on the team."

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Conner, who like Doody is a Fire Homegrown player, didn't appear in the FIre's immediate plans to giving the rookie midfielder a chance to play first team matches somewhere will be a positive for him.

"Patrick and Drew need games to remain game fit and sharp,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in the club's release. “In addition, we know they will receive excellent training as well as a warm reception from the great fans of Saint Louis FC."

The Fire can recall Doody and Conner at any time during the MLS regular season.

Saint Louis FC opens its season on Saturday at the Real Monarchs.

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?

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@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.