It’s another breakfast kickoff for the Chicago Fire, when they face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the third and final group stage match of the MLS is Back Tournament for both teams. Chicago moves on with a win, a draw, or possibly even a loss, while Vancouver will need to score early and often to overcome a goal deficit, and then hope for some help elsewhere.
Chicago Fire FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Thursday, July 23, 2020
MLS is Back Tournament Match 3 | ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando, FL
Kickoff: 8 a.m. CT
Streaming ESPN app
Radio: TUDN 1200AM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Next Up: MLS is Back Tournament Round of 16. If Chicago wins, the Fire will face the second place team from Group F (Portland, LAFC, or Houston) on Monday, July 27th at 10 p.m. CT on FS1 and TUDN. If Chicago advances as a third place wild card, the match will either be against Toronto FC on Sunday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. CT on FS1, or against the Group D winner (Sporting Kansas City or Minnesota United) at 10 p.m. CT on Sunday, July 26 on FS1. Follow all that?
How does this tournament work?
Each team plays three group stage matches, which will count toward the 2020 regular season, should one happen. The top two teams from each of the six groups advance to the knockout rounds, plus the four best third place teams. The winner gets a birth in the Concacaf Champions League.
Group B Standings
- San Jose 7 pts (3 GP)
- Seattle 4 pts (3 GP)
- Chicago 3 pts (2 GP)
- Vancouver 0 pts (2 GP)
MLS isn’t requiring teams to put out official injury reports for this tournament. However, we can tell you midfielder Luka Stojanović has returned to Chicago with an MCL injury, so he won’t be available. Defender Johan Kappelhof and midfielders MIcheal Azira and Jeremiah Gutjahr all missed the trip to Orlando with injuries.
Vancouver comes in to the match very shorthanded. They’re missing several field players, and they’ll only have one available goalkeeper—Thomas Hasal—after starter Maxime Crepeau broke his thumb, and Bryan Meredith left because of the sudden death of his mother. (UPDATE: Vancouver has secured a backup goalkeeper. Jonathan Sirois is joining on a one day loan from Montreal. Really!). Also missing for either health or personal reasons are Freddy Montero, Lucas Cavallini, Tosaint Rickens, and Andy Rose.
Some light pregame reading
- Why the Fire aren’t taking any chances against the Whitecaps
- Luka Stojanović returns to Chicago to deal with an MCL injury
- Ruben’s match preview
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