Fire

After front office said additions were needed, Fire trade for Tony Tchani

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USA TODAY

After front office said additions were needed, Fire trade for Tony Tchani

A day after general manager Nelson Rodriguez talked about how he thinks the team needed improvements in multiple areas, Rodriguez finalized a trade to bring in a new player.

The Fire traded for midfielder Tony Tchani, sending $150,000 of Targeted Allocation Money to Vancouver. The 28-year-old midfielder could take on the role Juninho filled for the Fire last season, which was to fill in for either Dax McCarty or Bastian Schweinsteiger at defensive midfield or on certain occasions play alongside the duo.

Tchani isn't the playmaker Rodriguez talked about the Fire needing, but his addition could free up Schweinsteiger to play higher up the field. Coach Veljko Paunovic had talked about Schweinsteiger being more involved in the Fire's attack when Schweinsteiger was first added last season, but he gradually shifted into a deeper role.

Tchani was born in Cameroon and has represented the Indomitable Lions on two occasions, including an African Cup of Nations qualifier in 2016, but he has U.S. citizenship so he will not count as an international on the roster.

The University of Virginia product has been in MLS since 2010 and has played for four teams (New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, Columbus Crew and Vancouver), but is probably most known for his five-year stint with the Crew. Tchani has made 169 MLS starts in his career and was a regular starter on Columbus' MLS Cup finalist team in 2015. Last season Tchani made 26 starts for the Whitecaps.

The price wasn't expensive (David Accam went for more than 10 times as much allocation money and Dax McCarty went for nearly three times as much a year ago), but Tchani should play regular minutes for the Fire in 2018, even if not as a consistent starter like he has been for the past few years of his career.

Defensive midfield depth likely wasn't the biggest hole on the Fire's roster. Rookie Mo Adams has had an impressive preseason and could have been a competent backup, but by adding Tchani, the Fire won't have to rely on a rookie to play significant minutes. That said, Tchani does give the Fire plenty of MLS experience and gives Paunovic some added flexibility with how he chooses to use the midfield.

MLS, U.S. soccer suspend play in response to coronavirus

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USA TODAY

MLS, U.S. soccer suspend play in response to coronavirus

American soccer is going on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MLS announced on Thursday they are suspending the season for 30 days in response to the coronavirus. U.S. Soccer later announced that they have suspended men's and women's national team games through April.

The Chicago Fire kicked off their season on March 1 and were scheduled to make their home debut at Soldier Field on March 21. 

The NBA announced the indefinite suspension of its season Wednesday after a Utah Jazz player was diagnosed with the virus. The NHL has advised teams to cancel practices and meetings.

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

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NBC Sports Chicago

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

Manchester City is coming off a season in which it dominated the English Premier League to the tune of a record 100-point season.

City is kicking off the preseason of its title defense in Chicago. City takes on Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field on Friday night.

The last time the reigning Premier League champions were in Chicago was when rivals Manchester United came to Soldier to take on the Chicago Fire in 2011.

The Citizens won’t have the full arsenal of stacked stars for its U.S. tour, which also includes stops in New York and Miami as part of the International Champions Cup. Many of the team’s best players are getting a break after playing in the World Cup. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, one of the stars of the tournament, is one of six Man City players to reach the semifinals.

Paul Dickov, who played for City for nearly 10 years between 1996 and 2008, is on tour with the team and talked about City’s preparations.

“The reason the clubs want to come to the States and play in International Champions Cup is the facilities are fantastic, the training facilities, the hotels, the treatment they get and just give them the best preparation going into what’s going to be a hard season,” Dickov said. “Nobody has won the Premier League back-to-back titles for nearly 10 years now so it’s going to be tough. Coming here and being able to prepare the way they can in the United States is going to put them on a long way to regain the title again.”

City brought the Premier League trophy to Wrigley Field on Thursday for the Cubs-Cardinals game. Dickov got to throw out the first pitch. The Scotsman threw a strike, much to his relief.

“I was quite calm beforehand, but I must admit when I got out there and I had to walk out there both hands started getting a bit sweaty,” he said. “I managed to make it and I got a fantastic reception off the Chicago Cubs fans so thank you to everybody at Chicago Cubs for having me there. It was great. Something I’ll never forget.”


Dickov compared Cubs fans to City fans in the way both teams struggled for a long time before finding success.

“They stuck by us through thick and thin when things weren’t as great,” Dickov said of Man City fans. “I suppose it’s a little bit like the Chicago Cubs here in Chicago. The fans turn out, they get 30-40 thousand, great atmosphere, back their team.”

While promoting the game, the Premier League trophy made multiple stops in Chicago, including with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on an off day.

City also took the trophy and new signing Riyad Mahrez, who just joined Man City from 2016 champions Leicester City, to Haas Park in Logan Square. Haas Park includes a soccer field donated by Manchester City and the American embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

“The outcome of it has been great,” Dickov said. “Thousands of children and families benefiting, not just from the soccer part of it, but the education program as well. To be down there the other day for the full day and seeing the joy in the kids face seeing soccer here and the other activities that are on is great because, yeah, football is fantastic, soccer is fantastic and when you’re out there and you play you want to win, but it’s important, especially from Manchester City’s point of view, the city and the community. The stuff that they do off the field is second to none and it’s giving something back.”