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Rival & Real: Fire’s first two 2017 games set

The Men in Red will start 2017 with a trip to rival Columbus on March 4 before opening their home schedule on March 11 against Real Salt Lake.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Chicago Fire
Chicago will open its season on the road in Columbus on March 4.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Time to get excited for some Chicago Fire soccer matches while we’re all still feeling pretty good about the team!

With Hungarian super scorer Nemanja Nikolic on board, Fire supporters are having scintillating, unfamiliar visions of maybe, JUST MAYBE, making a glorious run at the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2017. After all, we all start 0-0-0.

But the Fire won’t be 0-0-0 for long and these tingly feelings could quickly turn back to the soul-crushing experience of another slow start or wild, over-the-top expectations that can be spurred on by a run of, dare I say, two wins in a row?

There would be no better way than to keep the good vibes going than starting 2017 with a win over the Crew in Columbus. The Fire will start with a road-game on Saturday, March 4 against Columbus followed by the home opener against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, March 11.

Expansion is all the buzz lately and there is plenty of talk of Minnesota United or a future St. Louis club stepping in as the Fire’s chief rival. But why hypothesize about potential hated rivals when Columbus still exists?

The Crew-Fire rivalry has been a bit toothless lately as Columbus was the far, FAR superior team in 2015 and both clubs were … detritus … in 2016. There is no better way to revive the rivalry then with a strong road contingent going to Columbus to support the Men in Red en route to a 5-2 victory.

After opening the season of the road, the Fire will try to earn their first home opener victory since 2012 when they take on Real Salt Lake. Last year’s home opening goal fest against New York City FC was a whole lot of fun but it would be nice to send the crowd home with a win for once to start the season.

Only 71 days until our roller coaster of emotions begins once again!

Check out the full MLS opening slate here.