Chicago Fire

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Report: Nashville acquires Dax McCarty, Dave Romney

Leave a comment

Nashville SC has added two more players with MLS experience ahead of its maiden voyage in the league, reports The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio.

The more notable name is Dax McCarty, the 32-year-old defensive midfielder whose game has been consistent as a mainstay for the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls since 2011.

Reba, Wynonna, Dax. Gingers and Nashville have a long history.

[ MORE: Emery attacker use in focus ]

McCarty has 407 appearances in 14 MLS seasons since debuting for FC Dallas at age 19, a steady passer and tackler who reads the game well.

He’ll cost Nashville about $100,000 in combined allocation money to go with a second round pick, and almost certainly be at the crux of the expansion side’s midfield.

Tenorio says Nashville has also traded for LA Galaxy defender Dave Romney, a 26-year-old with 104 appearances.

Romney has scored five goals and added five assists, and cost the new club $225,000.

Nikolic says goodbye to Chicago in latest signal of Fire rebuild

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
Leave a comment

Nemanja Nikolic’s time in Chicago has ended, judging by the Hungarian forward’s long-winded farewell letter to the Chicago Fire franchise and its fans.

[ MORE: Bayern Munich reportedly contacts Eriksen eyeing January move ]

Nikolic was hugely productive in his three seasons in the Windy City, bagging 51 goals in 96 games regular-season games, winning the 2017 Golden Boot (24 goals in his debut season) and becoming the team’s second-leading goalscorer in the process.

When a period of time is intense, if you concentrate and perform on daily basis, time passes by quickly. It was a massive three years for me and my family. When I look at the memories I had in Chicago, I realize the huge amount of action that happened to me in the U.S. It was a big jump. We went far from home. A new language and a new environment. Different schools for the kids – and our third child has born. People were skeptical about the adventure, but the unknown challenge motivated me and, luckily, I proved quickly that my decision was right and I could keep the standards I had at Videoton and then at Legia.

And last but not least, the Fire supporters! The sport is for YOU. And YOU deserve the best. From day one, YOU have made me feel at home. Your friendship and support made this period special. YOU will always be a big part of my life. YOU are great. It was a pleasure playing for YOU and fighting for success. I wish YOU a bright and happy future!

Nikolic’s departure is a clear and obvious example of a team and a player’s respective timelines failing to match up with one another. Nikolic, who’s 31, has but a precious few seasons of productivity; meanwhile, the Fire, who are set to move to downtown Chicago next season and finished 10th and 8th in the Eastern Conference the last two seasons, desperately need to get younger and shed some sizable contracts — one of which is Nikolic’s $1.7 million base salary.

Chicago Fire announce return to Soldier Field

Photo by Vincent Formanek/Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is great.

Chicago Fire owner Joe Mansueto confirmed that the club is moving back to Soldier Field, returning the Fire from the ‘burbs.

Using the occasion of the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, Mansueto also announced that the date of the Fire’s 2020 home opener, a March 21 date with Atlanta United.

[ MORE: USMNT players in focus ]

Chicago played at Soldier Field from 1998-2001 and 2003-05 before leaving for Bridgeview, Illinois, where it staged games at SeatGeek Stadium.

The Fire has not won an MLS Cup since leaving Soldier Field.

Soldier Field was renovated in 2003, and holds 61,500 spectators. It’s the home of the Chicago Bears.

The change will happen without legendary center midfielder turned center back Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is retiring.

Ex-Germany, Bayern star Schweinsteiger is retiring

Getty Images
Leave a comment

CHICAGO — Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is retiring from soccer, ending an 18-year professional career.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

The 35-year-old midfielder made 121 appearances for Germany from 2004-16, and was in the team that won the World Cup in 2014.

Schweinsteiger played for Bayern Munich, Manchester United and, since 2017, Chicago Fire in his club career. He won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013.

Schweinsteiger announced his retirement over Twitter on Tuesday, writing: “Saying goodbye as an active player makes me feel a little nostalgic but I am looking forward to the exciting challenges that await me soon.”

He is married to former tennis player Ana Ivanovic.

Chicago Fire sold, confirm stadium move to Soldier Field

Getty Images
3 Comments

Things are changing, big time, for the Chicago Fire.

Owner and chairman Andrew Hauptman has sold the Major League Soccer franchise to Joe Mansueto “effective immediately” and the Fire also confirmed they have reached an agreement to play at Soldier Field for the 2020 MLS season and are in final negotiations to make that a reality.

This is huge news for soccer in the Windy City, as the Fire have played at Soldier Field before but maybe now is the right time to take the team downtown permanently.

After lining up the $65.5 million deal to move away from their home in the Bridgeview suburbs of Chicago in July, this is a rebirth for the Fire. And after 12 years at the helm, Hauptman believes it is the right time for him to move on.

“I’m extremely proud of the positioning of the Club at this historic juncture. I know that the next step of returning to Soldier Field will make Chicago proud and I look forward to cheering on Joe, the Club and its supporters as they continue this legacy,” Hauptman said.

As for Mansueto, who bought a 49 percent stake in the club last summer, he applauded Hauptman and added that “the timing of this transaction couldn’t be better as we return the world’s game to the city I love.”

This is a game-changer for this organization, as their stadium situation echoes the issues happening with the Columbus Crew and many of the older franchises across MLS. The fan experience on gameday just wasn’t there in Bridgeview and the location of the stadium wasn’t viable for people in downtown Chicago.

The likes of D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City have proven how transformational having a new stadium in the right location can be, but is Soldier Field going to be that for the Fire? Atlanta United’s success in having sell-out crowds at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one thing, but can the strong soccer fanbase in Chicago rally around a rebirth of the Fire and produce decent crowds of 30,000+ each week?

Given sell-out crowds for the Gold Cup final at Soldier Field this summer and a recent friendly between Club America and Chivas, it is clear fans of the sport are in Chicago.

Do they want to support the Fire? That is the $66.5 million question…

Something drastic had to happen to kick the Fire back into life and it is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out.