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CHGO Fire Notebook: Two games moving, U.S. U-20 roster decisions, and Wicky lands on his feet

Patrick McCraney Avatar
June 2, 2022

The Chicago Fire are looking to change venues for two home games later this year, CHGO has learned. After the Bears NFL schedule dropped, it created conflicts on two previously-scheduled Fire matches at Soldier Field.

The September 10 match against Inter Miami, and the October 9 “Decision Day” match against the New England Revolution will have to be played somewhere other than Soldier Field. A return to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview could be a likely choice, but nothing is official.

Moving the Inter Miami match makes sense, with the Bears’ season opener against the 49ers scheduled the very next day, September 11. The Revs’ match is far more frustrating. The Fire can’t play at Soldier Field because of the Thursday, October 13th Bears game against the Washington Commanders–which is a full four days later. But, the Bears have a five-day window in their contract with the Chicago Park District, guaranteeing no other events can be held at the stadium in the five days leading up to a game. Apparently, the Bears won’t budge on this one.

Don’t count on Gaga or Guti for U.S. U-20s

U.S. Soccer is close to announcing the roster for the USMNT U-20 team that will take part in the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship, which is set to begin later this month in Honduras. It’s an important one–the tournament will determine not only the four nations representing Concacaf at the the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia, but also the two Concacaf representatives at the 2024 Summer Olympics.

A source says the Fire are not planning to release goalkeeper Gaga Slonina or midfielder Brian Gutierrez for the tournament, because of their importance to the Fire, and the number of games they’d potentially have to miss while away on international duty. But, if he’s healthy, goalkeeper Chris Brady could be released to take part. Because it’s not a senior level tournament, clubs aren’t obligated to release players who are called up.

Raphael Wicky heads home

Former Fire head coach Raphael Wicky is the new head coach of BSC Young Boys in the Swiss Super League, the club announced today. Wicky was fired last September after nearly two years in charge of the Fire. Now, he’ll have the chance to compete directly against his former bosses–Young Boys finished third in the Swiss Super League, one spot ahead of Joe Mansueto and Georg Heitz’s FC Lugano. With that third place finish, Wicky’s Young Boys will take part in the Europa Conference League next season.

International Duty

Four Fire players are off on international duty this month–Xherdan Shaqiri’s Switzerland plays four UEFA Nations League matches: Thursday, June 2 vs. Czech Republic, Sunday, June 5 vs. Portugal, Thursday, June 9 vs. Spain, and Sunday, June 12 vs. Portugal. Last time he played for his country, Shaqiri returned to Chicago with a lingering calf injury. Let’s hope this time he returns injury free.

Miguel Navarro was on the bench, but did not play for Venezuela in a 1-0 win over Malta on Wednesday. Venezuela will face Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 9.

Also away: Sergio Oregel, Jr. is with Marko Mitrovic’s U.S. U-19 team in Spain for friendlies against England and Norway, and Fire II’s Omari Glasgow is with the Guyana National Team for a series of Concacaf Nations League matches.

Terens joins the CHGO Fire Podcast

With usual co-host Alex Campbell on international duty (sort of: he was in the stands for the USMNT’s 3-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday), Fire play-by-play man Tyler Terens joined the CHGO Fire Podcast in his place this week. Terens gave insight about the team’s morale after nearly three months without a victory, the latest he’s hearing about the new MLS TV contract, and he shared his strong feelings on Tony Meola’s favorite alcoholic beverage.

Watch the show on YouTube, or give it a listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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