Fire

John Goossens scores his first MLS goal in Fire win

John Goossens scores his first MLS goal in Fire win

John Goossens and Rodrigo Ramos were in the middle of most of the Fire's chances throughout the match so it only seemed fair that the pair would both factor into the game-winning goal on Friday.

In the 58th minute, Ramos crossed a ball into the box from the right side which was directed for Kennedy Igboananike. Igboananike didn't win the initial header, but it was headed out into the path of Goossens. Goossens drilled the ball with his first touch on his left foot and scored his first Major League Soccer goal.

That goal stood as the only one of the match in a 1-0 Fire win against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes.

"It was hard for the goalie to see the ball because Kennedy stepped over it," Goossens said. "So he was a bit late to react and that’s why it went in. I think it was a perfect time to score. We had a really good game. We had a lot of pressure on their back and in the end I think it was a great game.”

The Fire (3-7-5, 14 points) picked up a second win in three home matches and snapped a three-game winless streak in MLS play. A crowd of 16,487 watched the game and the fireworks that came after the match.

[MORE FIRE: John Goossens' return could be key for the Fire]

The first half featured a slow start, especially from the Fire. San Jose (5-5-7, 22 points) forwards Chris Wondolowski and Quincy Amarikwa were largely kept in check other than an Amarikwa header that forced a diving save from Sean Johnson.

Joao Meira and Kennedy Igboananike had powerful shots in the first half as part of a strong finish to the first half for the Fire. The Fire outshot San Jose 16-6 and had a 7-2 edge in shots on goal.

John Goossens nutmegged two Earthquakes in the first half and Rodrigo Ramos was very aggressive going forward at right back. Most of the Fire's attacking buildup came from those two on the right side.

"They executed a gameplan that we had and I think it was a fantastic game," Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said of his team's performance. "I think we had the hero of the game for sure here (Goossens), scoring the goal and playing that way."

[SHOP: Pick up your own Fire jersey]

Late in the game Fire forward David Accam and San Jose defender Fatai Alashe collided and went down immediately. After a stoppage, Accam got to his feet and returned. Alashe did not and San Jose, which was already out of subs finished the match with 10 men.

The Fire return to action next Saturday, July 9, in Toronto. Dutch forward Michael de Leeuw will be eligible to make his debut.

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

Chicago isn't hosting the 2026 World Cup, but fans should still be excited

After failing to qualify to play in this summer’s World Cup, the United States’ pain was alleviated on Wednesday morning after earning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

But why is this bittersweet for Chicagoans?

Even though the World Cup will be hosted by the U.S., Mexico and Canada in eight years, matches will not be played in Chicago.

The city chose not to be one of the potential hosts of the world’s largest sporting event, despite using Soldier Field as a venue for the 1994 World Cup.

One of the reasons could be the low seating capacity of Chicago’s historic stadium. Soldier Field would be the second smallest spot out of any World Cup host option, seating only 61,500. The massive competition also draws enormous crowds, possibly causing logistical concerns for a highly-populated place like Chicago.

Ten out of 17 different cities in the United States will be gifted the opportunity to host 2026 World Cup games. The list includes Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium) and Nashville (Nissan Stadium), which are the closest domestic locations to Chicago.

The bright side is that fans from the Midwest won’t have to travel very far to see a match. For bigtime soccer fans in the Chicago area, having the chance to attend world-class matches in United States could be exciting enough.

Out of the 80 games taking place in 2026, 60 of them will be located in the United States.

Can this bid with Mexico and Canada at least help the relevancy of U.S. Soccer in the Chicago area?

The U.S. men’s national team missed this year’s World Cup at a very unideal time, just when it seemed like the sport of soccer was gaining more and more popularity in the United States.

Plus, the United States might not even get an automatic bid to play in their own World Cup as hosts.

But becoming a member of the first trio in FIFA history to host the World Cup, coupled with the expanded 48-team field in 2026, could help the United States retain the fans they have across the nation and around Chicago.

The World Cup might not be coming to the Windy City, but Chicagoans will still have something to be excited about in 2026 with games being played right around the corner. If the U.S. can qualify for the upcoming World Cups, having the tournament in North America will be much sweeter.

Until then, the 2018 World Cup kicks off this Thursday night in Russia.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

portillos.jpg
@JTHAZZARD

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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.