Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicago Fire

With the MLS growing rapidly, one of the oldest franchises was looking to stay relevant in the eyes of the fans. The team’s only championship was in 1998, after contending for the playoffs from 2013-2016, they realized that teams like Seattle and Portland were pulling away as more relevant clubs. The New York teams, and the Galaxy were also shining bright in the big cities. Chicago needed to make something happen for the 2017, with 24 teams competing for the MLS title. They went out and signed a 32 year old Fernando Torres to compliment Mike Magee at the top. This was a short term solution, considering their age. They felt like if they had a rotation of young players still needing some seasoning. They added a Colombian national team defender to help in back. The team had a much better starting line up, with players that weren’t super ready in reserve. The team started 6-2-6, which wasn’t good enough. They signed a midfielder from Columbus who was cut mid season to help their biggest hole. The experience helped out the Fire from there on. The team thrashed through the East, and ended up losing to Portland in the MLS cup. Magee and Torres eventually retired, and the Fire were putting their trust into their academy to carry them. With the many young players coming up at once, it was hard to get everyone playing time. They had to sell a few around the league to hold them over. They had 3 straight seasons around .500. That is when a midfielder came up through the system. He grew up in Illinois, and played for his home club. He won the Rookie of the Year in 2023, and became captain of the US U-20 side. He became a field general, controlling the entire team A new manager for the Fire built the team from the middle out. Another US U-20 striker began playing in 2024. The duo contributed to most of the offense for the team and helped Chicago make the playoffs for the first time in 5 seasons. Going into 2016, their young midfielder was named captain, and the money from the players sold to other MLS clubs helped Chicago sign a Polish keeper from a Bundesliga team. The team went out and put another talented striker(this time from Bermuda) at the top. A 6’4” defender was drafted 3rd overall by the Fire, after trading up for the pick. Chicago filled their arsenal, and assaulted the MLS. The team jumped to first place and battled Boston the entire season for supremacy in the league. They won the supporters shield, and their captain won a MVP. A strong attack led the Fire to the MLS, where they beat the Galaxy. Their captain signed a 5 year contract to stay with the team and grow with the league. In 2028, they made the MLS Cup again, losing to bitter foe Boston. A few players were sold off since then, shuffling the Fire back in the standings, but with a strong academy, they’ll be just fine. The homes are pretty close to the current red set. It’s a great look. The road is heavy on the navy, but with a stripe for Chicago’s flag. Nothing too wild.

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