For the first time in 19 months, Chicago Fire fans will be in the stands tonight to watch their team play a home match.The Fire host the New England Revolution at Soldier Field (7:30 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CFFC Live).
It won’t be a packed house. The Fire are limiting ticket sales to socially distanced pods in the lower sections, which means the 61,500 seat stadium will still be pretty empty. But unlike last season, the crowd noise will be real. There will be an added intensity in the atmosphere, even if it’s from a small number of fans.
“We are just excited to have them there,” Fire head coach Raphael Wicky said. “There’s going to be real fan noise and real people there supporting us, pushing us, so we are just excited about that. We know it’s not going to be full because of the restrictions but we are just happy we can start the season again and play games which counts and have our fans there, friends and families there.”
The Fire overhauled the roster last season, bringing in 18 new players. A handful more joined this off season, meaning most players on the Fire’s first team roster have never played a home game in front of fans. Right back Boris Sekulić, who joined last season, is one of those guys.
“We as players are very happy they are allowed to be at our home games,” Sekulić said. “We missed them a lot last year. I think last year we had some great games at home, and I think they would enjoy them. So we will try to have a good start in the first home game, and I hope they will come and they will be happy with our performance.”
Chicago Fire FC vs. New England Revolution
MLS Match #1 | Saturday, April 17 | Soldier Field, Chicago
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. CT
Steaming: CFFC Live - free to watch at ChicagoFireFC.com and the Chicago Fire mobile app for fans living in the Chicago TV market
Out of Market Streaming: ESPN+
Radio: Latino Mix 93.5 FM
Live Twitter Updates: @HotTimeOldTown
Chicago Fire Injuries
- OUT: Elliott Collier (left ankle)
- OUT: Fabian Herbers (right knee)
- OUT: Stanislav Ivanov (left knee)
- OUT: Kenneth Kronholm (right knee)
- OUT: Carlos Teran (left thigh)
- QUESTIONABLE: Ignacio Aliseda (left thigh)
- QUESTIONABLE: Miguel Navarro (right ankle)
New England Revolution Injuries
- OUT: Arnor Traustason (health and safety protocols)
Next up for the Fire
April 24 - Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire at Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV and CFFC Live)