MLS announces Arsenal as All-Star Game opponent


MLS announces Arsenal as All-Star Game opponent

Arsenal will travel to Avaya Stadium in San Jose to play against the MLS All-Stars this summer.

Major League Soccer made the announcement at a press conference on Thursday that Arsenal will be the seventh different English team to play the MLS All-Stars. The game will take place on July 28.

Avaya Stadium is the home of the San Jose Earthquakes which opened in 2015. The Chicago Fire played the first official match there in the Earthquakes’ home opener on March 22. San Jose won 2-1.

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“We’re thrilled to be able to welcome Arsenal this summer for a number of reasons,” said Mark Abbott, President and Deputy Commissioner of MLS, at the press conference. “Not only are they one of the top clubs in the world and it continues our tradition of having high level competition for the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, but there are a number of deep connections between Arsenal and our league.”

Abbott mentioned Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke also owns the Colorado Rapids, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis was once the deputy commissioner of MLS and Arsenal greats Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry also played in MLS.

Last year the MLS All-Stars beat Tottenham, Arsenal’s biggest rival, 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Rapids. Arsenal last played in the U.S. in 2014 when the club played the New York Red Bulls.

San Jose last hosted the MLS All-Star Game in 2001 when the game was still played with the East vs. West format.

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.