Note: This piece is updated to include that both Johan Kappelhof and MIcheal Azira are not with the Fire in Orlando. Hot Time has confirmed the entire traveling roster below:
Just as the Chicago Fire were beginning their first training session in Orlando, the team got nailed with a quick, heavy Florida summer storm.
“I was ready for the session, and a good thunderstorm was coming so we had to go to the bus again,” goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm said in a video provided by MLS. “But, finally, we made it and had a good training session.”
After two-and-a-half weeks of full team training in Bridgeview, the Fire arrived in Orlando on Wednesday, ahead of the “MLS is Back Tournament,” which kicks off next week when the Fire face Nashville SC (July 8, 9:30 p.m. CT, ESPN).
“It was a long road to go back on the pitch,” Kronholm said while grinning behind his Fire face mask. “You can’t see me smile, but I’m very excited! We are very focused. We had a good preseason—the second preseason this season. We’re all happy. We can’t wait for the whistle.”
Nine FC Dallas players have tested positive for the coronavirus while inside the league’s quarantine bubble at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, according to The Athletic. The report also indicated a Columbus Crew player tested positive. And, the Montreal Impact were pulled off the training field early for a suspected positive test, according to the rogue Twitter account @MLSCovidCup, which has broken several stories from the tournament.
The league announced this morning Dallas’ opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps has been postponed. Vancouver was delayed in leaving because of two inconclusive tests, which have since come back negative. Dallas now opens on July 15 vs. Seattle, and Vancouver will play the San Jose Earthquakes later that day.
While the virus has made it inside the bubble, Kronholm said he’s confident MLS is working to keep it from spreading.
“Because of all the rules, I feel comfortable,” Kronholm said. “I feel safe. We have to follow the rules, of course, but MLS is doing a great job getting us back on the pitch. Again, we have to follow the rules, and I feel comfortable with that.”
Chicago Fire “MLS is Back” Roster
The Fire aren’t releasing an official traveling roster for the tournament, but based on photos, videos, and other reporting, Hot Time can confirm these are the 25 players who made the trip:
Goalkeepers (4): Kenneth Kronholm, Bobby Shuttleworth, Connor Sparrow, Gabriel Slonina
Defenders (8): Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Calvo, Mauricio Pineda, Miguel Ángel Navarro, Nick Slonina, Andre Reynolds II, Boris Sekulić, Wyatt Omsberg
Midfielders (9): Gastón Gimenez, Djordje Mihailovic, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Álvaro Medrán, Luka Stojanović, Ignacio Aliseda, Brandt Bronico, Brian Gutierrez, Javier Casas, Jr.
Forwards (4): Robert Berić, CJ Sapong, Elliot Collier, Fabian Herbers
Did Not Travel: Johan Kappelhof and Micheal Azira did not make the trip, Hot Time has learned. Azira picked up an eye injury on Wednesday in a scrimmage just before the team left, and Kappelhof is dealing with both a quad injury, and the death of a family member in the Netherlands. Both could still join the team if they recover.
Additionally, Jeremiah Gutjahr (injured), Alex Monis, Allan Rodriguez, and Chris Brady did not travel. (Wicky said earlier this week that Monis, Rodriguez and Brady couldn’t travel because they weren’t registered as MLS players to start the season. They will train in Chicago, or possibly join the Fire’s USL affiliate, Forward Madison.)