Saturday, March 21 would have represented the first home game back at Soldier Field for the new-look Chicago Fire FC since announcing their return to downtown Chicago. However, the suspension in MLS play due to COVID-19 means that those festivities will have to take place on another date.
“There is a lot of excitement about our first match back at Soldier Field,” Fire president Nelson Rodríguez told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Fans from 35 states, from as close as Indiana to as far away as Hawaii, and 12 different countries, from the U.K. to New Zealand, purchased tickets for today. Everyone understands that current circumstances will keep us from celebrating this weekend, but our Homecoming will still be held. When that day comes, we will find ways to make it even more special for all Chicago and all Fire fans.”
Still, the Fire didn't disappoint their fans on this day.
The club instead opted to replay the full broadcast of the Fire's first-ever match at Soldier Field back in their 1998 expansion season (available to fans within the Fire's broadcast territory).
Fire play-by-play man Tyler Terens and current assistant coach and Fire legend Frank Klopas relived the match against the old Tampa Bay Mutiny. Klopas scored both goals (43rd & 88th minute) in a 2-0 win in front of 36,444 fans:
Check out the Fire's lineup for that match and you'll find more than a few recognizable names. Head coach Bob Bradley didn't make a sub in the game:
Chicago Fire (April 4, 1998 vs. Tampa Bay): Zach Thornton -- Lubos Kubik, Andrew Lewis, C.J. Brown -- Chris Armas, Zak Ibsen, Ritchie Kotschau, Peter Nowak, Jorge Salcedo -- Frank Klopas, Roman Kosecki
That forward line made for some duo:
One more, just for fun.— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) March 21, 2020
The 90s were WILD. pic.twitter.com/nNkUoIxk45