Who are they?
Chicago Fire. Not to be confused with the TV show of the same name. Chicago Fire were one of the first two expansion clubs in the league, playing their first season in 1998 and winning the MLS Cup and US Open Cup double in their first year!
What have they won?
That first expansion year proved to be Chicago’s only MLS Cup, although they won a Supporters’ Shield in 2003 and have an MLS record four U.S. Open Cups to their name.
What about the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.
Never even competed in everyone’s favorite pre season cup.
Are they any good?
Certainly it’s been awhile since the Fire experienced what they would regard as a successful league season - only one playoff appearance in the last five tries isn’t inspiring.
A complete inability to keep hold of a lead cost them dearly last season, a league record 18 draws (including 11 at home) saw them fall short of the playoffs. Head Coach Frank Yallop massively overhauled the side in the summer, with 28 players coming in or out.
Any Designated Players?
The Fire signed three designated players in the offseason, although none of them are necessarily marquee names. Shaun Maloney is a veteran Scottish international who brings some creativity in the midfield, and both David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike arrive with good goal scoring records in the Swedish league.
Ig-bo-an-an-ee-key. Chicago Fire are a commentator's nightmare, with Kennedy Igboananike, Razvan Cocis, Quincy Amarikwa, Jeff Larentowicz and Patrick Nyarko amongst others likely to trap even the most cunning linguist. The club does kindly provide a pronunciation guide.
So far this year...
They’ve only drawn two, so on that front there seems to have been improvement. They’ve taken all their wins at home, with four wins from six at Toyota Stadium. Still - they sit on 14 points, level with Orlando City. Neither Igboananike nor Accam have found the net with the kind of regularity the Fire had hoped for.
Players to Watch?
Maloney is unavailable through international duty, so we’re going for Harrison Shipp. Seven goals and three assists for the Fire last season made him a contender for Rookie of the Year, and the Homegrown Player has looked dangerous so far this season.
Who’s the boss?
Frank Yallop. The Canadian-born coach played most of his career at Ipswich Town in England, before moving to play in the U.S. for Tampa Bay Mutiny. Yallop has coached four different MLS teams (including twice coaching the Quakes) and is in his second full season in charge at the Fire.
What about their supporters?
There are a number of supporter groups overseen by Section 8 Chicago, an independent supporters trust which acts as an umbrella group. They occupy the Harlem End of Toyota Park, at the Soccer Specific 20,000 seater stadium that’s been home to the club since 2006. Attendances average in the 16,000 range.