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This Is The Way The World Ends: Chicago Fire vs Columbus Crew, MLS Week 26 Preview

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The long-running rivalry between the Fire and That Yellow Team is set to end tonight with a whimper

MLS: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Two things came across my Twitter timeline yesterday while writing this preview.

The second thing I saw was the supposed reveal of the new club crest for Austin’s forthcoming MLS team— what the Crew will look like once Anthony Precourt uproots them, moves them to a new city, and rebrands.

Short after, some PR flaks released a graphic explaining the new crest.

lol ok.

There’s a lot about this move to Austin that I hate, but one of the stronger but lowkey reasons is just how stupid everything around the new Austin team looks and sounds. Even by MLS standards, this is pretty astroturf-y.

The second was a graphic being circulated by MLS showcasing all the Heineken MLS Rivalry Week Presented By Heineken No Really It’s Sponsored By Heineken Isn’t It Neat That Heineken In Our Corporate Partner For Heineken Rivalry Week Heineken Heineken Heineken Heineken Heineken Heineken. The graphic highlighted all the games for Heineken Rivalry Week this week... with one notable omission.

I don’t know what’s worse— MLS deliberately ignoring Fire v Crew for its big branded Rivalry Week event, or the Crew, trundling toward the end of their last season in existence, having to tweet that graphic out with a note of “hey! don’t forget about us!”

The league doesn’t care about this rivalry or the teams involved. Hell, at this point the front offices of the two teams involved don’t care. Columbus are still in playoff contention and need the points, but beyond that there’s no real hype for this game. This rivalry, one of the oldest and most bitter in the league, could well come to an end tonight. And nobody, outside of the most implacable (or delusional) of both sets of fans, gives a shit.

That’s a real shame. The history of this rivalry matters. The memories built up, good and bad, matters. The time players and coaches and fans have put into making these games mean something matters. Both teams have been done dirty— by the league, by their respective investor/operators, and by their front offices. These teams deserve better. The fans deserve better.

If you have time today, please leave a comment below or @ us on Twitter and share your memories of the Fire-Crew rivalry. Favorite game. Favorite moment. Favorite pissy internet fight with a Columbus fan. Whatever this rivalry meant to you, tell us.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Columbus Crew: 26W-18D-19L, 87 GF / 94 GA, 96 pts out of 189

Chicago Fire home MLS record vs Columbus Crew: 16W-10D-6L, 48 GF / 36 GA, 58 pts out of 96

Previously On...

Two wins from their last three games, three wins from their last five. Pretty much the only thing the Fire have going for them tonight is home field advantage. (Such as it is these days.)

Suggested Lineup

Sanchez; Corrales, Campbell, Kappelhof, Vincent; Schweinsteiger, McCarty; Katai, Bronico, Edwards; Nikolic

The actual lineup won’t look like this. Pauno’s going to trot out that stupid 3-4-2-1, despite it obviously not working. But this is what he should play.

Keys To The Match

Have Some Self Respect: Look, I realize morale must be well in the tank in Bridgeview. There’s nothing I can say that would make the players feel worse than they already do. I sympathize. Truly. But also: fucking get over it. You’re professionals and it’s a major rivalry game. Pull yourselves together. It’s embarrassing.

Please Pretend To Care: The rivalry still matters to some of us and there’s a good chance it’s going to end tonight. There’s nothing left to play for and every reason to check out already. Please just show up for tonight. After tonight you get a month off (other than the Munich trip, which no one seems to want to talk about). Do this for us.

Score First: Obviously.

How To Watch

Television: N/A

Streaming: ESPN+

Final Thoughts

Can the Fire put this rivalry to bed with a result? Let us know in the comments below!