Fire

Report links Jakub Blaszczykowski to the Fire, but could it happen?

Report links Jakub Blaszczykowski to the Fire, but could it happen?

The Chicago Fire are on a winning run and Bastian Schweinsteiger's signing has broken the stigma that the club wasn't willing to spend big money.

So now when the Fire are named in rumors and reports, things are looked at with a more serious glance than in previous years.

The latest report is a fairly juicy one by MLS standards. A report out of Poland, picked up by NBC Sports, connected the Fire with Polish national teamer and Wolfsburg right winger/right back Jakub Blaszczykowski.

The Fire reportedly went after Blaszczykowski last summer, but he stayed in the Bundesliga and moved from Borussia Dortmund to Wolfsburg with a 5 million Euro transfer fee.

The 31-year-old has 90 caps for Poland and, even if he is past his prime, his resume and age indicate he would likely still be successful in MLS. The question is how would the Fire get him.

Blaszczykowski would likely require a high MLS salary. The Fire are full in designated player spots (Schweinsteiger, Nemanja Nikolic, David Accam) and are already using Targeted Allocation Money, the league's often confusing salary cap resource which can allow for mid-to-high six-figure salaries without a player counting as a DP, on Johan Kappelhof, Michael de Leeuw and Juninho.

In other words, if the Fire have interest in Blaszczykowski again this summer, it would likely mean another player would have to move first.

There has been question about the long-term future of Accam. Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez has said there were offers from foreign clubs for Accam last summer, but the Fire turned them down. Rodriguez also admitted that the team has broken off contract extension talks, which took place during last season, until after this season ends. The Fire have an option on Accam for 2018.

"I will not be surprised that there will invariably be some offers in the summer window," Rodriguez said on May 23. "We have not received any as of yet, but just knowing that we had them last year, knowing that he’s playing even better, that he’s in the prime ages, we have an expectation that something will come.”

To sell Accam in the middle of the Fire's best season in years would be a bold move, even if it came with the addition of Blaszczykowski.

As far as rumors go, Blaszczykowski makes sense due to the large Polish population in Chicago, but other dominoes would have to fall in place first before the move is possible. 

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

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USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

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USA TODAY

MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the cancelation of three marquee 2020 events in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup have all been canceled, the league announced Tuesday. Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. was set to host the All-Star game on July 29, and MLS said the 2021 event is now expected to take place at the same venue. 

MLS will resume negotiations with LIGA MX with hopes of squaring off in the 2021 exhibition match.

The second annual Leagues Cup tournament was set to occur between July and September, featuring top MLS and LIGA MX teams. The two leagues canceled the event in a joint decision and plan to play the tournament next year.

Similarly, MLS and LIGA MX jointly canceled the Campeones Cup, which features the reigning MLS champion against the LIGA MX's Campeón de Campeones winner. The 2020 event was scheduled for Aug. 12 at CenturyLink field, home of Seattle Sounders FC. It will return in 2021.