It appears the Chicago Fire will be traveling to Harrison, NJ today to take on NYCFC (6:30 p.m. CT, WGN-TV & ESPN+). After several pro sports teams—led by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks—decided to sit out of games to protest the police killing of Jacob Blake, there was some question as to whether this match would even happen as scheduled.
However, a group made up of Black players in MLS—Black Players for Change (BPC)— announced support for the continuation of matches after “a period of reflection and conversation,” and will meet with MLS owners in the next month to discuss long term change within the league.
So, we play on. But if something changes, Fire head coach Raphael Wicky will back his guys.
“We have spoken to our players, and we fully support our players in whatever decision they make. If the players decide not to play, we stand behind them and support them,” Wicky said.
After a run of losses with no goals and sloppy defensive errors, the Fire had a breakthrough night against FC Cincinnati on Tuesday at Soldier Field, scoring three times and dominating defensively with a shutout.
NYCFC sits 11th in the MLS Eastern Conference standings, two spots below the Fire, but they’re still a dangerous team. The Citizens beat the Columbus Crew the other night 1-0—the same Crew team that dominated Chicago 3-0 recently. But, as we know, the transitive property doesn’t always apply to sports, especially in a league as crazy as MLS.
“They’re a very good team,” Wicky said of tonight’s opponent. “They’re a team that has had a lot of continuity over the last five years in terms of philosophy and playing style, and you can see that. They’re an oiled machine. They’re a good team. We know how they play, we know what to expect, and we know we can also beat and make results against big teams.”
The Fire will be without forward CJ Sapong, who is still in quarantine after an excused absence. Sapong announced on Instagram that his fiancée recently gave birth to a baby girl.
Because of the congested Major League Baseball schedule, the match will be played at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, rather than NYCFC’s usual home of Yankee Stadium.
NYCFC vs. Chicago Fire FC
Saturday, August 29, 2020
MLS Regular Season Match #8 | Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
TV: WGN-TV (local)
Streaming: ESPN+ (sign up using our link!)
Radio: TUDN AM 1200
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown (from Ruben)
Next Up: FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire | Wednesday, Sept. 2 | Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH | 6:30 p.m. CT | WGN-TV & ESPN+
Chicago Fire Injuries
- OUT: GK - Kenneth Kronholm (ACL surgery)
- OUT: M - Luka Stojanovic (MCL surgery)
- OUT: D - Johan Kappelhof (hip flexor)
- OUT: M - Jeremiah Gutjahr (knee injury)
- OUT: M - Gedion Zelalem (knee injury)
- OUT: D - Sebastien Ibeagha (hamstring injury)
- QUESTIONABLE: M - Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring injury)
- QUESTIONABLE: M - Maxi Moralez (calf injury)