Fire

Fire learn home opener, first three games of 2018 schedule

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USA TODAY

Fire learn home opener, first three games of 2018 schedule

The full 2018 schedule will wait, but for now we know the first three games the Fire will play, including the home opener.

Major League Soccer announced the home opener for all 23 teams on Tuesday and the Fire will begin the season March 3 at the Colorado Rapids. The home opener at Toyota Park will follow the next weekend on March 10 against Sporting Kansas City. The Fire will also travel to play Minnesota on March 17 for the Loons' home opener.

Kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, will be 8 p.m. on the opening Saturday of the season. Colorado is 14-3-5 is home openers all time and the two teams also opened the 2010 season in Colorado, which was a 2-2 draw.

Kickoff times for the Fire's home opener and the game in Minnesota remain unannounced. The Fire's trip to Minnesota will be the team's first with the only meeting between the 2017 expansion team and the Fire coming at Toyota Park.

This opening slate of games gives the Fire a good opportunity to get a strong start to the season. Colorado was one of the worst teams in the league in 2017. Minnesota also failed to make the playoffs, although the Loons did win in Toyota Park in late August.

Around the league, a pair of notable matchups during the opening weekend include an Eastern Conference final rematch between Toronto and Columbus, which will be the first game of the season, and the debut of Los Angeles FC, which will take place Sunday, March 4, at Seattle.

The rest of the schedule will be announced in January.

As the offseason marches on, the Fire avoided losing any players in the expansion draft for LAFC and also passed in the waiver and re-entry drafts. Stage 2 of the re-entry draft takes place Thursday and the next notable date on the offseason calender it the draft combine, which begins Jan. 13.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

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@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.

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

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USA TODAY

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.

The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.

Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.

At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.

Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.