Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire
Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek
By Jeff Vorva
Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games.
SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing surface after concerts have prompted the Fire to move three games to Bridgeview. The team announced last week it would also host a friendly at SeatGeek against Leon FC of the Mexican Premier League.
The fun starts Sunday when the Fire hosts New York City at 5 p.m. The match was moved at the last minute because of concerts at Soldier Field and their impact on the field.
“We understand that relocating a home game is a significant challenge for our fans,” said Ishwara Glassman Cherin, the Fire’s president of business operations. “After consulting with the league office, it was determined that a change of venue was necessary for this match to ensure that both teams are competing in conditions that are consistent with league standards.
“We look forward to providing a great environment for our fans to enjoy the match and cheer on our team as we continue to push for a playoff berth.”
The Fire opened the season 3-1-5 before going into a tailspin that endured until June 29 and a shocking win over Philadelphia.
Now that it is back in contention for a playoff bid, each of these three MLS games is important. The Fire has MLS games at SeatGeek on Sept. 10 and the regular season finals on Oct. 9.
The match against Leon will be Sept. 24.
León has won the Primera División de México/Liga MX title eight times. The club qualified for the Champion’s Cup in 1998 until it was eliminated in the semifinal. The team has been a consistent contender for the Primera División since 2002.
The Fire is 102-54-74 in Bridgeview. It played one game there last year and won, 2-0, over New York City and later that night fired coach Raphael Wicky.
Red Stars fall to sixth
The bad news for Chicago Red Stars fans is that the team lost 1-0 to Angel City on Aug. 14 to fall to sixth place in the NWSL.
The good news is that there is such a jumble near the top of the standings that they are just as close to second place as they are to seventh. The top six teams make it to the playoffs in the 12-team league.
Heading into this week, Portland (7-1-7) was leading the league with 28 points, followed by Houston, San Diego and red-hot Kansas City (25 points each) bunched up behind the Thorns. The OL Reign was fifth with 24 points and the Red Stars (6-4-5) are in the precious sixth spot with 23.
Angel City, which scored in the 47th minute Sunday on a Savannah McCaskill goal, is seventh with 21 points.
On the road
The loss in Los Angeles opened a stretch of four games on the road for the Red Stars.
They visit North Carolina Aug. 20, Louisville Aug. 27 and OL Reign Sept. 9 before returning home to face Houston Sept. 17 at SeatGeek Stadium.
The Red Stars are not getting overwhelmed with the tough road task.
“When we have a string of games like this, we try not to think about it,” Red Stars player Arin Wright said. “We don’t say it out loud and verbalize it. It’s more so taking it game for game and look at what we can get excited about and get amped for the next game and not think ahead.
“When you do that, things start to crumble.”
BACK AT THE GEEK
Chicago Fire games to be played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview this season:
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 21 NYC 5 p.m.
Sept. 10 Miami 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 Leon 3 p.m.
*Oct. 9 New England 1:30 p.m.
* — MLS season finale
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