The Chicago Fire won its home opener on Saturday, but John Goossens was on the players' minds throughout the day.
The injured midfielder had surgery on his right ankle on Friday, from an injury suffered in the final minutes of last Saturday's season opener in Columbus, and is expected to be out five to six months. The Fire came out to warmups with shirts in honor of their teammate.
"It was the decision of the club, the whole team," forward Michael de Leeuw, a fellow Dutchman, said. "I think everyone felt that we need something to do about it. Because he's one of the team. He's part of the family. I think everybody felt that we needed to do something. I think it turned out well. I think it showed that we are thinking about him. We hope he is going to recover soon."
Some of the players talked with Goossens over the phone, and plan to see him soon.
"I think everybody felt we have to do something," defender Johan Kappelhof said. "It was a very good reaction from the club. I think all the guys appreciated it. I think Goossens appreciated it for sure. We all feel for him. We hope he will be back soon.
"I spoke with him a little bit about the surgery and how he feels. It's short after the surgery so we have to give him some time with his family."
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 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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