Tonight marks the first real away match for the Chicago Fire since March 7, when they left New England with a 1-1 draw. The players are flying out on a charter flight this morning, will relax and eat at a local hotel, play the game, and fly back immediately after the match.
That’s different than the typical schedule of flying out the day before the match, but MLS is hoping the tighter schedule and use of charters will help reduce the chance of anyone contracting the coronavirus.
Will the tight travel day be a disadvantage for the Fire? Raphael Wicky doesn’t think so.
“It’s not that we have a four-hour flight,” Wicky said. “We are getting up in the morning. We are flying charter. It’s a 45-minute to 60-minute flight, you arrive in the hotel, you eat, and you have like two and a half or three hours in your room where you can rest.”
The Fire will look a little different than they did in their three matches in Orlando. Bobby Shuttleworth will take over in goal for Kenneth Kronholm, who is recovering from ACL surgery. Midfielder Micheal Azira, who missed the entire Orlando trip, is back and ready to play, but defender Johan Kappelhof, who also missed the last three matches, isn’t quite ready yet.
In the Crew, the Fire are facing the team with the best record in MLS, and they’re doing it on the road after a long layoff. It looks like a tough one for Chicago, but this is MLS, so anything can happen.
“I think the Crew, they are a favorite in this game,” Wicky said. “We are going in with nothing to lose. They had a good start of the season and they had a good tournament. Yeah, they are very well —a possession-orientated team and some good players in the build up. We have to make it hard for them.”
Columbus Crew vs. Chicago Fire
Thursday, August 20, 2020
MLS Regular Season Match #6 | MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV: WGN-TV (local)
Streaming: ESPN+ (sign up using our link!)
Radio: TUDN AM 1200
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Next Up: Chicago Fire vs. FC Cincinnati at Soldier Field, Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 6:30 p.m. CT (WGN & ESPN+)
Chicago - OUT: Kenneth Kronholm, Johan Kappelhof, Luka Stojanović, Jeremiah Gutjahr
Columbus - OUT: Vito Wormgoor, Eloy Room, Youness Mokhtar
Some light pregame reading
- Raphael Wicky answered a lot of questions at his news conference this week, including the latest on Djordje Mihailović
- Tyler Terens calls his first match tonight for the Fire since March. Turns out, he’s a really interesting guy!
- Ruben’s preview of what to expect tonight
- Our friends at Massive Report helped us make sense of how good the Crew can really be