I-55 rivalry? Fire learn opening U.S. Open Cup opponent

I-55 rivalry? Fire learn opening U.S. Open Cup opponent

A potential I-55 rivalry in Major League Soccer is looking less likely after St. Louis voters didn't pass a stadium bill that was a key part of a push for an expanion team, but the U.S. Open Cup has come to the rescue.

The Chicago Fire will start its 2017 U.S. Open Cup campaign against Saint Louis FC, the Fire's USL affiliate last year.

St. Louis beat PDL club Michigan Bucks 2-1 in Pontiac, Mich., on Tuesday to advance to the competition's fourth round against the Fire. The Fire will head to World Wide Technology Soccer Park in suburban Fenton, Mo., for the game on June 14.

The June 14 date will slide in between a Fire home game against Atlanta on June 10 and a trip to New England a week later. This will be the first time the Fire will play a team from St. Louis.

Last year, a number of Fire players went to St. Louis to play on loan. Patrick Doody, Collin Fernandez and Drew Conner all spent extended time with the Missouri club. Fernandez is back on loan this year with the Fire's new USL affiliate, Tulsa.

St. Louis is 3-3-3 in the USL this season.

To advance, St. Louis got a pair of first half goals from Sebastian Dalgaard, but the Bucks got back into the game with an early second half goal. St. Louis held on, but not before the bizarre dome in Michigan (where the Fire lost a cup game in 2012) played a small part:

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai


Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning


Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof involved in car crash on Thursday morning

Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof was involved in a car accident on his way to practice Thursday morning that sent him to the hospital with minor injuries.

According to authorities and the Secretary of State’s Office, a box truck crashed into the Dutch player’s 2013 Volkswagen and another vehicle in the 5900 block of South Harlem. Kappelhof’s vehicle rolled over and two people fled from the scene.

The driver ran on foot and the passenger moved into the driver’s seat before driving the truck onto the Stevenson Expressway after the crash, officials said. After the damaged vehicle broke down, police say the same passenger tried to jump into the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Both were taken into custody.

Team officials said Kappelhof was treated and released from the hospital without indicators of a concussion. The 27-year-old was reportedly seen at Toyota Park after the crash and did not have any serious injuries. The other driver who was hit by the box truck was also treated, police said.

This season in league play with the Fire, Kappelhof has three assists in 16 games. The international product was a 2017 MLS All-Star and the Defensive Player of the Year for the Fire last season. He was signed in 2016 and has made one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.