Fire midfielder Dax McCarty named to U.S. national team's World Cup qualifying roster

Fire midfielder Dax McCarty named to U.S. national team's World Cup qualifying roster

The first U.S. men's national team roster for World Cup qualifiers in Bruce Arena's second tenure as coach was announced Wednesday and Chicago Fire midfielder Dax McCarty was included.

The U.S. will host Honduras on March 24 and play at Panama on March 28. The games are of high importance for the Americans, which lost at home to Mexico and at Costa Rica in the first two matches of the final round of qualifying.

After dropping those two matches, Jurgen Klinsmann was removed as coach. Bruce Arena, who led the U.S. in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, is back in charge and this roster was his first for competitive matches in this tenure.

McCarty was a part of a training camp in January and February that featured mostly MLS players during the league's offseason. McCarty played in a friendly against Jamaica on Feb. 3 for his first cap since 2011.

McCarty has played every minute of the Fire's two MLS matches in 2017 and was named to the MLS Team of the Week after the 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake. He will report to the national team after the Fire visit Atlanta on Saturday.

He recently said national team players "should be a part of winning teams."

Formations and tactics are of course uncertain, but it appears that McCarty is one of four center defensive mids on the team along with Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Kellyn Acosta. Bradley and Jones have been regular starters with the national team for years so playing time could be tough to come by for McCarty, but being included in this roster is a big step after Klinsmann didn't call him in at all.

Here is the full roster (player's club team in parentheses):

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough/ENG), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana/MEX), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER)

FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)

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

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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