Fire

Luis Solignac hopes to settle in with Fire after hectic debut

Luis Solignac hopes to settle in with Fire after hectic debut

Luis Solignac had a tough task in his Chicago Fire debut.

The 25-year-old forward played all 90 minutes in the 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake last Saturday while only having one limited training session with his new teammates.

Solignac was officially traded from Colorado to the Fire on the evening of Aug. 3. With the game at RSL coming just three days later, Solignac flew straight to Salt Lake and waited for his new teammates to arrive.

He did train with his new teammates on the morning before the match, but that’s hardly enough time to settle in.

“Of course I didn’t know any of the guys,” Solignac said after training on Thursday. “It was hard at the beginning, but I feel I’m going to get on track pretty fast because the guys are welcoming me very good. I’m looking forward to playing again.

“This job is like this so you have to get used to it, but hopefully we can get on track quickly.”

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The Rapids have the most points per match in MLS this season with 41 points in 22 matches, which can’t make leaving easy. However, Solignac had only played 32 minutes in four substitute appearances in the Rapids’ last six games before the trade. The Argentine thinks he has more of an opportunity with the Fire.

“I wasn’t playing that much in these late times so for me it was a great opportunity to get some minutes again,” Solignac said.

Solignac had already played with the Rapids in the U.S. Open Cup, which meant he wasn’t eligible to play in the Fire’s semifinal Tuesday in New England. Solignac took that time to head back to Colorado and pack his stuff to make the move to Chicago more permanent. He arrived in Chicago on Wednesday after what he admitted were “a tough three days.”

Now that Solignac has played with his teammates and is getting regular training sessions with the Fire, the next step is figuring out how he fits into the Fire’s attack. He played with David Accam, who Solignac knew of from when they both played in Sweden in 2013, and Michael de Leeuw in the first half at RSL. Both Accam and de Leeuw were then subbed off at halftime with the Fire trailing by two goals and the Open Cup game soon after.

Sunday’s game against Orlando could be the first extended look at how Solignac will play with the Fire’s first choice forwards. The Fire have scored 20 goals in 21 games, which is worst in the league so the Fire need help in the goal-scoring department.

“I think Luis obviously he is very good on the ball,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said when asked what Solignac brings to the team. “His pace is very important. He is fast. He moves. He is dynamic. It’s something that we need, that we lack of so far. With his addition so far I believe he is going to give us more presence in the opponent’s box and more goals for sure.”

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.