As part of Major League Soccer’s effort to have year round news, the league announced the home openers for all 22 clubs on Tuesday.
The Chicago Fire will travel to the Columbus Crew for the season opener on March 4 before hosting Real Salt Lake in the home opener on March 11 in the home opener at Toyota Park. Both games are on Saturdays and set for 1 p.m. starts.
In 2016, the Fire went 0-1-2 against the Crew in regular season play, although the Fire did knock the Crew out of the U.S. Open Cup at Toyota Park. The Fire lost the only meeting between the two at Mapfre Stadium 3-0 on Oct. 1.
Last season the Fire opened at home for the first time since 2007. The Fire have opened the season at home just three times in club history.
In a change from last season, MLS will not have each team open the season on the same day. Portland will host expansion team Minnesota in the league’s opener on Friday, March 3. The Fire at the Crew will be the earliest of seven Saturday kickoffs. A Sunday tripleheader will begin with Orlando opening its new stadium against New York City FC and also includes Atlanta United’s debut against the New York Red Bulls.
The full league schedule is expected to be announced in January sometime before the draft takes place on Jan. 13.
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.
As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.
The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.
Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.
At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.
Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.