After a day off on Monday, the Chicago Fire are back at training again this morning ahead of Thursday’s final MLS is Back group stage match against the Vancouver Whitecaps (8 a.m. CT, ESPN). Like with the last breakfast kickoff against Seattle, Raphael Wicky has his team practicing in the morning this week.
There are a few scenarios that would see the Fire advance to the Round of 16:
- A win against Vancouver would secure second place in Group B, and guarantee a spot in the knockout rounds. The only problem with this scenario is it means a possible first round matchup with LAFC. That’s quite the reward for finishing second.
- With four points, a draw also sees the Fire advance as one of the four best third place teams.
- Right now, a loss to the Whitecaps doesn’t guarantee elimination, but with several games left to play around the rest of the league, it very well could.
Also in today’s Chicago Fire notebook:
Wicky, Fabian Herbers and Miguel Navarro are scheduled to meet with reporters this afternoon via a conference call on Zoom. We’ll get an official word then on Luka Stojanović’s knee injury (UPDATE: It’s not good). It’ll also be interesting to talk to Navarro for the first time. For a young guy living abroad for the first time, the 21-year-old Venezuelan has made an immediate impact, even starting ahead of Jonathan Bornstein in the last match.
MLS announced there were no new positive COVID-19 cases in the last round of testing. That covers all 24 teams still in Orlando, and the two teams—FC Dallas and Nashville SC—that had to withdraw. So, it appears like the league’s bubble is working to keep everyone safe.
Finally, in the hoopla of the last two games, you might have missed that the Fire unveiled a new Kids’ Club, and released a new app. Both are big improvements over the last versions, so be sure to check those out.
Make sure you’re following me on Twitter @patrickmccraney for updates from this afternoon’s conference call. It’s scheduled to start around 1 p.m.