Pair of MLS All-Stars enjoy homecoming in Chicago

Pair of MLS All-Stars enjoy homecoming in Chicago

There’s plenty of Chicago Fire representation for the MLS All-Star Game, but there's also a couple more MLS All-Stars that are having a homecoming of sorts with the game in Chicago on Wednesday.

Michael Bradley, a Toronto FC midfielder and captain of the U.S. national team, grew up in Chicagoland while his father, Bob Bradley, coached the Fire in the club’s first five seasons. DaMarcus Beasley, a Houston Dynamo defender and veteran of four World Cups, began his career with the Fire and played four and a half seasons with the club from 2000 to 2004.

“Coming back to Chicago is always special for me,” Bradley said at a press conference Tuesday for the All-Star Game. “Some of the most important years for me growing up and growing up as a young player were here in Chicago.”

Bradley, who turned 30 on Monday, spent some of his junior high and high school years in Palatine. He played for youth club team Chicago Sockers while Bob Bradley was coaching the Fire.

Michael Bradley has fond memories of being around the team.

“I can remember coming to the old Soldier Field on Saturday nights and watching games, the atmosphere, at that time the league was so unique,” he said. “It had such a European feel to it. Obviously it helped that there was a strong Polish presence in the team, but certainly when I look back on my childhood and growing up, the time spent here was incredible. For me to come back as a player, whether over the years it’s been national team or now with the MLS All-Star Team, it’s always something that I really look forward to.”

Bradley played in Soldier Field last June with the national team during the Copa America Centenario. The U.S. beat Costa Rica 4-0 in that game.

For Beasley, returning to Soldier Field brings back different memories. Beasley, who is 35, played for the Fire under coach Bob Bradley when the Fire called the old Soldier Field home. He left to join perennial Dutch contender PSV Eindhoven in 2004 and played for four more clubs abroad before returning to MLS in 2014 to join Houston.

“I spent a lot of great years here, four years at the beginning of my career,” Beasley said. “The people, the fans, they were amazing to me and I enjoyed my time when I was here when I was younger. It’s good to be back, it’s good to feel the energy in Chicago and out in the city.”

Beasley, who is from Fort Wayne, Ind., still wants to see the Fire do well, although he was well aware that his Dynamo play the Fire in the regular season finale

“I’ll always want them to do well,” Beasley said. “Chicago, the Fire is always going to be in my heart and in my blood for the first team that gave me a chance to play. Hopefully they play 33 games well and the 34th game they don’t play so well when they play against the Dynamo.”

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.