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Looking back at some of our favorite Chicago Fire stories from 2020

It was an odd year, to say the least

Chicago Fire FC

Back in February, when COVID-19 started to look more and more serious, I had a conversation with a Chicago Fire staffer about whether the league would consider holding games without fans.

We both agreed that idea seemed absolutely crazy. Football without fans? How would that even work?

On the morning of March 11, I visited SeatGeek Stadium to cover the day’s training session. Luka Stojanović and Boris Sekulić had just gotten to Chicago a few days prior, and it was my first look at what was essentially the entire 2020 team. By then, elbow bumps had replaced handshakes, and there was growing uncertainty about what would happen going forward. But, there was still little doubt the Fire would be traveling to Florida to play Orlando City that weekend.

That night, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus, the NBA suspended games, MLS followed suit the next morning, and everything changed.

Since then, we’ve been introduced to bubble tournaments, quarantine periods, PCR tests, and COVID delays. Zoom meetings replaced post-game news conferences, even when we were all in the same stadium. And, yes, the once unthinkable idea of playing games behind closed doors became a necessary reality.

Needless to say, my first year here at Hot Time wasn’t what I expected. Considering the circumstances, though, I still think we managed to put out some interesting stories. Here are a few of my favorites I wrote in 2020:

Thanks to all of you who read, supported and shared our stuff this year, and a special thanks to all the other great people who wrote for us during this strange season: Ruben, TJ, Alex, Sandra, James, and Mick. With news of MLS owners invoking the force majeure clause in the collective bargaining agreement, the 2021 season is looking just as uncertain as 2020. Whatever happens, we’ll be there along the way to cover it.

Happy New Year, everyone.