First an era, then a season ends for the Chicago Fire in October
CHICAGO – A few things are coming to an end for the Windy City’s MLS team here in last September and early October.
For one, the season itself will be doing so for the Chicago Fire, who failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs. That came thanks to a win by the New England Revolution on Sunday along with the Fire’s tie against Toronto FC at home.
It marks the second-straight season in which Veljko Paunovic’s team has missed out on the postseason and the seventh time in the last eight seasons. While the team had a few runs during the season, they remained on the outside looking in at the playoffs for the majority of the season.
While their season won’t officially end until next Sunday when they travel to face Orlando City FC at 3 PM, their time playing games in Bridgeview has officially come to a close.
The team’s draw against Toronto FC was their final game at SeatGeek Stadium, since the team will move to downtown Chicago for the 2020 season to play again at Soldier Field.
They’ve called the venue home since June 11, 2006 when they moved into the brand new soccer stadium. They went there from Soldier Field, where they called home since the founding of the franchise in 1997. The did leave the venue for parts of the 2002 and 2003 season as the stadium was being renovated, playing their games at North Central College in Naperville.
With new owner Joe Mansueto coming on board and a desire to reach more of the fanbase, the team began negotiations to buyout the remaining part of their lease with Bridgeview early in 2019. In July, the agreement was made official, with the team paying the city $65.5 million to make it happen.
In their final campaign at SeatGeek Stadium, the Fire were strong at home, finishing 8-2-7 in Bridgeview. But their road record, 1-10-5, took away any shot of continuing this season or even another day at the Fire’s now-former home.