The Fire will start their 34 game regular season campaign on March 1st at the Seattle Sounders, and end the season on October 4th at the Philidelphia Union. However, unlike in past seasons, this year is not going to have a balanced schedule.
Because Inter Miami FC and Nashville SC entering the league leaves each conference with 13 teams, in order to get to a 34 game schedule while having each team play home and away in conference, clubs will only play 10 non-conference games. For the Fire, this means they won’t be playing Real Salt Lake, the Houston Dynamo, or Nashville this season. The Fire’s Western Conference opponents will be both LA teams, Portland, Seattle, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes , Sporting Kansas City, and Minnesota United.
Here are some highlights of the Fire’s 2020 schedule:
- The Brimstone Cup is early this year as the Fire travel to FC Dallas on May 2nd.
- The biggest run of consecutive home games is from June 27th to July 11th where they’ll play Orlando City, NYCFC, the Union, and finish with D.C. United. That’s part of a large block of home games that sees them play seven of their next 10 games at Soldier Field that ends against the LA Galaxy on August 9th.
- They have several three game road trips on the docket this season. They start the season on one before their home opener. Their next one is in June that starts with a trip to rivals Columbus then continues on to Toronto and Miami. And finally, there’s one in August that contributes to the Fire’s last 6 of 8 games being on the road due to the Bears 2020-2021 season.
- Aside from season opener at Seattle and the home opener against Atlanta, the Fire are scheduled to play 8 more games on national TV, including a game on ABC in Soldier Field May 9th against Inter Miami.
- There are only three one off home matches on the schedule, and three one off away matches on the schedule. Every other game is the beginning, middle or end of either a road trip or home stand.
While it’s hard to say whether or not this is a good schedule for the Fire due to the front office and roster situation, There are some intriguing things about it. The Fire will only have to play 4 Wednesday games this year— three of which are in the middle of home stands. It should make recovery that much easier to deal with for those fixtures. Not having to worry about travel exacerbating a nagging injury during these quick turnarounds should let the team have better performances during these games.
Unfortunately, the Bears coming back in August forces the Fire to play six of their last eight games on the road. This could have a severe impact on the results toward the end of the season, and makes getting points earlier in the year when they’re loaded with home fixtures even more important. It’s imperative that the team gets off to a good start.
So, what do you guys think? What games are you looking forward to most? What away trips are you planning? Let us know in the comments below.