MLS, and in turn, the Chicago Fire, have released their schedule for the 2017 regular season. We already knew the first two dates on this year’s Fire calendar were a trip to Columbus on opening day, and a visit from Real Salt Lake the next weekend, but with the rest of the schedule released, Fire fans can pick out some of the important games as Veljko Paunovic’s team tries to erase an awful decade of #cf97 by appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Mark Your Calendars
Saturday, March 18th: at Atlanta United
The first-ever meeting between the Fire and the less-aptly named of this season’s two expansion teams will take place at Bobby Dodd Stadium on the campus of Georgia Tech University.
Saturday, April 1st: vs. Montreal Impact
The Fire will have to wait almost a month for their first home match against Eastern Conference opposition, so this should be a good one to watch after what could be a long buildup.
Saturday, May 13th: vs. Seattle Sounders
The reigning MLS Cup champions have their first and only faceoff with #cf97 early in the season. Also of note is the fact that former Fire favorite and hometown boy Harry Shipp now plays in the rave green.
Saturday, June 10th: vs. Atlanta United
Self-explanatory, here. Atlanta United pays their first visit to Bridgeview.
Saturday, August 26th: vs. Minnesota United
The Fire’s only matchup against this season’s other expansion, and potential midwest rival will be the endcap of summer soccer at Toyota Park.
Sunday, October 15th: vs. Philadelphia Union
The Fire’s last home match of the season is one of just three home matches not on a Saturday this season.
Gold Cup break: MLS takes its first ever Gold Cup Break this season, as the Fire have a seventeen day-long break between July 5th and July 22nd.
Saturday is gameday: As discussed above, the Fire have just three home matches that are not on a Saturday this season, which are Wednesday matches on May 17th and 31st against Colorado and reigning Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup champs F.C. Dallas, respectively. The other is the final home game of the season, a Sunday match against Doop.
A chance to start quickly: The Fire play four of their first six matches of the season at Toyota Park - March 11 vs. Real Salt Lake, April 1 vs. Montreal, April 8 vs. Columbus, and April 15 vs. New England.
With a murderer’s row just behind: If the Fire fail to make the early homestand pay, the next four games will offer little respite - at Toronto, at Red Bulls, at Los Angeles, then hosting the defending champs.