Chicago Fire end their 2019 season on a high note before an offseason of change ahead

HARRISON, NJ - JUNE 28: Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic talks with Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (31) during the Major League Soccer game between the Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls on June 28, 2019 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Finally, on the final day of the regular season, the Fire put it all together away from home.

They had plenty of offense on the road against Orlando FC in a 5-2 triumph that puts an end to their 2019 campaign. It was only their second win away from home all season long and easily their biggest offensive output on the road.

Too bad it was way late to save their hopes for a spot in the MLS Playoffs, which a few more road wins coupled with a strong home record (8-2-7) might have been different. Instead, the team is on the outside looking in at the postseason for the second-straight season and the sixth time in the last seven seasons.

One way or the other, change is coming to the team next season, beginning specifically with their home.

The team will officially announce on Tuesday that they’re headed back to Soldier Field for the 2020 season and beyond. It’s the original home from the franchise when it was founded in 1997 and the return comes after the team spent parts of the last 14 seasons playing at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.

It’s one move by the franchise to shake things up as Joe Mansueto takes over ownership of the club, and now some wonder what’s ahead for the roster itself.

Will the franchise opt to make changes in the front office or with head coach Veljko Paunovich? Will Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is the Fire’s designated player and highest-paid member of the team, return for a fourth season in Chicago?

Plenty of decisions are ahead for the franchise as they move into a new era with a new owner along with the move back to downtown Chicago. Perhaps that will add some fuel to the Fire after another year without a trip to the MLS Playoffs.

 

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