Fire

Fire trade into second round to make two picks

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USA TODAY

Fire trade into second round to make two picks

The Chicago Fire entered draft day with no second round picks, but traded with Toronto to land two early second round picks.

The Fire sent $75,000 in targeted allocation money to Toronto for the fourth and fifth picks in the second round. The Fire then took Louisville goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland with the 26th overall pick and followed up by taking Guillermo Delgado with the 27th pick.

Cleveland was a college teammate of the Fire's first round pick, Daniel Johnson, at Louisville. The Fire have two goalkeepers under contract in Matt Lampson and recently signed Jorge Bava. Cleveland could be one of the early favorites for the No. 3 goalkeeper spot, although he doesn't have a guaranteed contract and will likely face competition in preseason camp.

"We really like his approach to goalkeeping, his comfort away from the line, his steadiness, there’s an overall maturity to his game that we liked and we really like our goalkeeper corps now," Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said. "We think there’s a nice blend of hierarchy, age and experience so we feel very good about how that competition will begin at the start of training camp.”

Delgado, 22, was born in Madrid, but left Spain to play college soccer for Delaware. He quickly stood out with 15 goals and five assists as a freshman. He notched double-digit goals in all four years, including 12 goals and eight assists as a senior. He finished his collegiate career with 49 goals and 19 assists in 78 matches.

"I'm excited and thrilled to give everything I have on the field during the next year," Delgado said on the draft podium.

An extra wrinkle on the Delgado pick is that he would count as an international player for the Fire, as confirmed by the club. That gives the Fire nine international players with only eight international slots for them. That means either Delgado has an uphill climb to make the roster or the Fire have moves coming involving either a trade for an international slot or a move to trade away a current international player.

Soon after the draft Rodriguez was asked if Delgado was worth the pick as another international player.

“We selected him so that’s the answer," Rodriguez said. "What we believe is this is a very good player. A player who is dynamic off the ball, knows how to find space, knows how to exploit it. A proven finisher and has good pedigree. He got his soccer education, if you will, in Spain. Again a player that we believe adds a different element to what we currently have.”

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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