That’s how long until the Chicago Fire kick off the 2018 MLS season. By now, most teams have settled some of the bigger lingering questions from the offseason. Not all, and not always. But generally the big stuff has been taken care of.
Not so for the Men In Red this year.
Here’s a tally of some big picture issues that have yet to be resolved for the Fire.
Will the Fire make another major signing before the season starts?
There have been rumblings that Nelson Rodriguez isn’t done making deals, and that a big signing— for certain values of “big,” anyway— could be coming down the pike. But the proof, as always, is in the pudding. There’s a difference between playing your cards close to the chest and, well, not having any cards in the first place.
Follow-up: if yes, then who?
Speculation on who this new signing could be is all over the place, from Lee Nguyen to Iker Casillas to Hatem Ben Arfa to... Zlatan? But there doesn’t seem to be anything firm, and transfer rumors are often utter bullshit. In the absence of concrete info or even credible rumors, all this speculation does is get our hopes up before an inevitable disappointment. But we can’t help but speculate because... well, what else are we going to talk about?
What’s going with local TV coverage?
In fairness, it’s not unheard of for local TV arrangements to be made shortly before the start of the season, as Guillermo Rivera pointed out recently. Still, leaving something this important unresolved this late in the game is a little worrisome. What if whatever deal they’ve got cooking now doesn’t work out? What’s the Plan B? Do we just wait for the nationally televised games?
How about the new stadium sponsorship?
2018 will mark the third— yes, third— season with no stadium naming rights deal in place. Toyota’s deal with the Fire (and/or the Village Of Bridgeview) expired at the end of 2015, and absent a new agreement to replace it, the car giant graciously allowed the club & village to continue calling the stadium Toyota Park. Essentially we’ve been giving Toyota free advertising for two (going on three) seasons. A year ago there were reports that the club was trying to attract a new stadium sponsor. Since then? Nothing. Not even any “negotiations are ongoing” noises. Is the club still looking for a sponsor? Have they given up? And why are we just giving a major car company free advertising? Surely we can just start calling it Bridgeview Stadium until we get a new sponsor, no?
Who’s going to be in the Starting XI for the Fire’s Pride Night game?
Got any more burning questions about the Fire heading into the new season? Hit us up on Twitter and use the hashtag #AskHotTime.