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Fire20: Brimstone Cup

Let’s take a look at one of the original MLS rivalries

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It’s not every week that we get MLS action before the weekend. And, well, we Chicago fans are spoiled, as we get it consecutive weeks in a row. The Fire host FC Dallas—who currently find themselves in third place in the Western Conference—Thursday night in another rendition of one of the original MLS rivalries: The Brimstone Cup.

The Brimstone Cup began as a competition between the newborn Chicago Fire (the first expansion team) and MLS Originals the Dallas Burn. It’s also one of the original competitions started by fans.

It works like this: the winner of the head-to-head Chicago vs. Dallas season series hoists the cup. In yesteryear, this was a lot more exciting, as the teams faced themselves multiple times and often met in the playoffs. Given the addition of more franchises and the realignment of the conferences, the competition has been reduced to a single match showdown most seasons.

The competition unofficially began in 1998 when fans from both clubs decided that the on-field rivalry needed to result in more than just bragging rights. That season the Fire won the inaugural Brimstone Cup, winning three of their four matches against the Texas-based team. However, in 1999 the Burn came roaring back and won the competition after knocking the Fire out of the playoffs.

Since then, the series has kind of been all over the place. Both teams have enjoyed long spells of success, and the rivalry really does not disappoint. The Fire won it in both 2000 and 2001, but then failed to win it again until 2012. That’s right, Dallas enjoyed a decade of dominance, winning the competition eight times in ten seasons (the competition was not played in 2003 or 2009).

Since then, the Fire have been strong in the series. The Men in Red won it four seasons in a row from 2012 to 2015, but fell short in their efforts last season losing the game 3-1.

Fire and Dallas fans alike should be more excited than ever for the competition. Chicago are in second place in the Eastern Conference, and Dallas in third in the West (with just 2 points separating the times mind you). Both teams are good again, and this should have fans from around the league excited for Thursday.

Here’s hoping that the Fire can bring the first of many trophies to Bridgeview this season with a win on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT).