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Chicago Fire open MLS is Back Tournament against Nashville SC July 8

Plus: Group A’s top three teams are now guaranteed spots in the knockout round

SOCCER: MAR 01 MLS - Seattle Sounders FC v Chicago Fire Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The MLS is Back Tournament schedule is out, and the Chicago Fire will play Dax McCarty’s Nashville SC on the opening night of the tournament. It’s a 9:30 p.m. CT kickoff, Wednesday, July 8 on ESPN.

In its second match, the Fire face David Beckham’s expansion side Inter Miami for a breakfast kickoff, Tuesday, July 14 at 8 a.m. CT on ESPN. The third match—against NYCFC—will be Sunday, July 19 at 7 p.m. CT on FS1.

Additionally, MLS announced today a change that could potentially help the Fire. The top three teams from Group A—the only group with six teams rather than four—will now automatically qualify for the knockout rounds, and the fourth place team from Group A will have a chance to go through, too.

Under the previous rules, the top two finishers from each group advanced, along with the four best third place finishers. That put the teams in Group A at a big disadvantage. This rule change fixes that, and levels the playing field for the six teams in Group A.

Chicago Fire group stage schedule

Wed, July 8 vs. Nashville SC, 9:30 p.m. CT, ESPN

Tue, July 14 vs. Inter Miami, 8 a.m. CT, ESPN

Sun, July 19 vs. NYCFC, 7 p.m. CT, FS1