Fire

Fire midfielder Matt Polster could be out for seven weeks with knee strain

Fire midfielder Matt Polster could be out for seven weeks with knee strain

Matt Polster's role on the Chicago Fire this season was already uncertain, but a knee injury suffered last week in preseason training already has his 2017 off to a bad start.

Polster suffered what the club is calling a "Grade II left knee strain" on Thursday, Feb. 2. This was the team's second week of preseason training and first since leaving for Florida.

Polster is estimated to be out seven weeks and is scheduled to return to Chicago on Wednesday. The Fire's season opener is just under a month away in Columbus so if the timetable remains the same he would miss the Fire's three matches in March and have a chance to return in April.

This is the same knee that Polster suffered an injury to against in the 2016 finale at Toronto. Polster said (in the video above) he spent some of the offseason recovering from that injury.

As for what this does for the Fire, Polster was not necessarily expected to be a starter. New additions Juninho and Dax McCarty, who flew to join the team in Florida on Monday night, are the likely starters in central midfield.

The only way Polster was going to be a regular first-choice starter was if coach Veljko Paunovic altered his formation from the 4-2-3-1 he favored last season or if Polster played another position. There had been no indication of either. Polster trained with the midfielders, as opposed to right back which he played some with the Fire during his rookie season in 2015, and the Fire lined up in a 4-2-3-1 in Saturday's preseason opener at Florida Gulf Coast.

With that said, Polster still figures to be in the rotation or one of the first options off the bench. He'll now just have to wait a bit longer to find his role.

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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