Chicago Fire FC to Continue 2020 MLS Regular Season at Soldier Field
CHICAGO - Chicago Fire FC and Major League Soccer announced today that the Club will continue the 2020 MLS regular season in-market at Soldier Field. Beginning on Aug. 20, the Fire will play six regular season games in the first phase of the continuation of play, including three home games at Soldier Field.
See below for the Fire's phase one regular season schedule:
Date Opponent Time Broadcast
Thursday, Aug. 20 at Columbus Crew SC 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
Tuesday, Aug. 25 FC CINCINNATI 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
Saturday, Aug. 29 at New York City FC 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
Tuesday, Sept. 1 at FC Cincinnati 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
Sunday, Sept. 6 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
Saturday, Sept. 12 COLUMBUS CREW SC 6:30 p.m. CT WGN-TV, ESPN+, 105.1 WOJO-HD2
The Fire's home matches during phase one will be played without fans in attendance.
"With health and safety as our focus, our Club has made the decision to play our next three home matches at Soldier Field without fans," said Chicago Fire FC President Nelson RodrÃguez. "The limited number of players, staff and workers who need to be at the stadium on those three days will be provided a safe environment as we continue to focus on their well-being. We invite our fans to watch on WGN and ESPN+ and listen on Univision Radio."
The Fire's first match in phase one will take place on Thursday, Aug. 20 against Columbus Crew SC at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Five days later, Chicago will play its first home match in 2020, taking on FC Cincinnati on the lakefront at Soldier Field on Tuesday, Aug. 25. Each of the Fire's six league games in phase one will begin at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on WGN-TV and ESPN+ and transmitted locally in Spanish on 105.1 WOJO-HD2.
The continuation of play will feature comprehensive health and safety protocols, including regular testing of players, coaches and staff for COVID-19. The six games in phase one are part of MLS's plan to play an additional 18 regular season matches in 2020. With five matches already played, the regular season would consist of 23 games, culminating with Decision Day on Sunday, Nov. 8. Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, MLS announced the initial phase of the league's revised schedule with each U.S. Club playing six matches by Sept. 14. MLS continues to work with the league's three Canadian Clubs regarding plans to continue the regular season. More details on schedules for the Canadian teams will be announced in the near future.
"I would like to thank everyone involved with the MLS is Back Tournament -- players, coaches, staff and partners -- for their role in helping us recapture the momentum we had at the beginning of our 25th season and reconnect with our passionate fans," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Since suspending play in March, we have been working on plans to play as much of our season as possible, beginning with the tournament in Florida and resuming in our local markets following the competition. We remain focused on the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff, and look forward to continuing our season in our home markets."
As with the MLS is Back Tournament, COVID-19 testing protocols will again play an important role in MLS' competition framework. MLS continues to work closely with the league's infectious disease advisors as well as advisors for the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) on the plan for testing. All clubs are forming testing partnerships with a local certified lab, and all players, technical staff, and Club staff will be tested every other day, including the day before each match day. Also, guidelines will be provided to players, coaches and staff to avoid the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 during their time away from Club facilities.
In addition to adhering to health, safety and medical protocols, another focus of the new schedule is efficient travel. Teams will take chartered flights, and for the majority of road trips will arrive in the host market on matchday and depart after the match later that evening.
MLS plans to announce the balance of the regular season schedule by early September as the league continues to work with infectious disease experts, league and club medical personnel, and government officials in all markets in charting a course for the completion of the 2020 season.
The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin on Nov. 20. In an expansion of the postseason for 2020, 18 clubs will compete in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs - up from 14 teams last year.
Each MLS Club will each play six matches in phase one.
The Fire will play its first home game at Soldier Field in 2020 on Aug. 25 against FC Cincinnati. The match will mark the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Chicago will face the New England Revolution at Soldier Field on Sept. 6. The Fire and Revolution previously met on March 7 in both Clubs' final regular season game before the league suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The March 7 contest resulted in a 1-1 draw, with Fire defender Jonathan Bornstein scoring the game-tying goal in the 70th minute.
FC Dallas and Nashville SC, the two clubs that did not participate in the MLS is Back tournament, will play twice - on Aug. 12 and Aug. 16 - before the other Clubs kick off the continuation of their regular seasons. A third match will be played in Nashville later in the regular season.
Aug. 20 Chicago Fire resumes play at Columbus Crew SC
Aug. 25 Chicago Fire's first regular season game at Soldier Field in 2020
Nov. 8 Regular season ends on Decision Day
Nov. 20 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs begin
Dec. 12 MLS Cup
The Chicago Fire was founded in 1997 and began playing in Major League Soccer in 1998. The Fire have won six major domestic championship titles, including the 1998 MLS Cup, the 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups, as well as the 2003 Supporters' Shield. As an early MLS expansion team, Chicago played at Soldier Field from 1998 until 2001 and then from 2003 to 2005 before moving to Bridgeview, Ill. in 2006.
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