It may only be August 15, but tonight is the last time the Chicago Fire will play at home this summer. They host the Columbus Crew at 5 p.m. at Soldier Field (WGN-TV, CFFC Live), then head out on the road for six straight matches before returning home Wednesday, Sept. 22 to host the New England Revolution on the first day of fall.
The last time the Fire played Columbus in June, the Crew dominated in a 2-0 win in the final match ever at the old Crew Stadium. Even though the Crew have struggled since then, the Fire still expect a tough match.
“They’re a team who, the last couple of years under Caleb (Porter), has created a specific style of play, having played them in Columbus at their house, we know what to expect,” Fire defender Jonathan Bornstein said. “We’re prepared, we’ve watched video. More than anything, we have to do what we do best, and play the game of the Chicago Fire.”
The defending champs come into Soldier Field having lost three in a row, while the Fire have a win and two draws during that same stretch. In fact, if the season started July 3, the Fire would be fourth in the MLS Eastern Conference table per Opta, and the Crew would be eighth.
But, in reality, the Fire sit in 11th on 17 points for the season, and the Crew are in 8th with 24. The Fire absolutely need to come away with three points tonight to keep any playoff hopes alive, especially with that long road trip looming. The Fire have just four home games left this season. Three will be at Soldier Field, and one—the Sept. 29 match against NYCFC—will likely be played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview because of a Chicago Bears scheduling conflict, but nothing’s been officially announced on that front just yet.
Álvaro Update: Fire midfielder Álvaro Medrán is listed as questionable for tonight after missing the team’s last match to enter MLS health and safety protocol. We don’t know exactly what the issue is, but we do know Medrán is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Welcome back, Kenny? Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm is listed as questionable—rather than out—for the first time since tearing his ACL last summer. Realistically, with Bobby Shuttleworth playing well and Gabriel Slonina waiting in the wings, Kronholm is unlikely to play. But, it’s good news for a guy who’s faced a number of setbacks in his recovery.
Chicago Fire vs. Columbus Crew
MLS Match #19 | Sunday, August 15 | Soldier Field, Chicago
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. CT
Streaming: CFFC Live (in the Chicago market), ESPN+ (outside the Chicago market)
Radio: Latino Mix 93.5 FM
Chicago Fire Injuries & Absences
- QUESTIONABLE: Kenneth Kronholm (right knee)
- QUESTIONABLE: Javier Casas Jr. (right shin)
- QUESTIONABLE: Ignacio Aliseda (left shin)
- QUESTIONABLE: Miguel Navarro (right knee)
- QUESTIONABLE: Alvaro Medran (health & safety protocols)
Columbus Crew Injuries & Absences
- OUT: Aidan Morris (left knee)
- OUT: Artur (right hip)
- OUT: Milton Valenzuela (right thigh)
- OUT: Perry Kitchen (left knee)
- OUT: Luis Diaz (right shoulder)
- OUT: Josh Williams (left ankle)
- OUT: Marlon Hairston (left thigh)
- QUESTIONABLE: Vito Wormgoor (right thigh)
Next up for the Fire
Wednesday, August 18 - Inter Miami vs. Chicago Fire at DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL (6:30 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CFFC Live)
Saturday, August 21 - Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire at Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL (7 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CFFC Live)
Saturday, August 28 - New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ (5 p.m. CT, WGN-TV, CFFC Live)