CHICAGO - The Chicago Fire today announced that its home contest against the MetroStars, originally scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28 at 6:00 p.m. CT, will now take place on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. CT at Soldier Field in Chicago. The date change is the result of a scheduling conflict with the Chicago Bears and marks the second shift in the Fire's 2005 home schedule in eight days. The Fire does not anticipate making further changes to its Soldier Field schedule in 2005, which will mark the club's final season at the historic lakefront venue.
"Rescheduling a game always presents challenges for our team, front office, and fans," said Fire President and CEO John Guppy. "However, it is a fact of life when you play in a stadium such as Soldier Field that has multiple tenants and events. On the positive side, this change does provide us a more balanced home schedule with one more game during the height of the Fall soccer season. Co-inciding our games with the youth soccer calendar is an important consideration for us."
The Fire now has 10 games at Soldier Field scheduled during the months of June, July and August, with the latest change creating a nearly two-month gap in the Fire's home schedule from its contest against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 13 to the new home date against the MetroStars on Oct. 5. The Fire will embark on a five-game road trip during that time period, with contests at the Los Angeles Galaxy (Sep. 4), Columbus Crew (Sep. 17) and San Jose Earthquakes (Sep. 21) book-ended by a pair of visits to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Wizards (Aug. 19 and Oct. 1).
The 56-day rift in the home slate will be the longest such gap in MLS history during the middle of a season. The other longest streaks without a home game for MLS teams came for squads that were waiting for new stadiums to open - the Los Angeles Galaxy waited 63 days for their first-ever game at The Home Depot Center, while the Columbus Crew had a 56-day wait before Columbus Crew Stadium made its debut in 1999.
The Oct. 5 contest will mark the MetroStars second and final visit to Chicago in 2005 and will also bring to a close the four-game season series between the two Eastern Conference rivals. The first clash in Chicago between the Fire and Metros, who are coached by former Fire boss Bob Bradley, takes place this Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. CT.