Chicago Fire learns new MLS is Back tournament opponents

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Fire defender Francisco Calvo, center, heads the ball in front of Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan, left, during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Seattle.

    Chicago Fire defender Francisco Calvo, center, heads the ball in front of Seattle Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan, left, during the first half of an MLS soccer match Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Seattle. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/9/2020 6:25 PM

Major League Soccer's decision Thursday to send Nashville SC packing means the Chicago Fire has a new, more challenging group of opponents in the MLS is Back tournament.

The Fire had been scheduled to begin tournament play Wednesday against Nashville in Group A, which had six teams while the other groups had just four. Because Nashville and FC Dallas have been sent home, the Fire joins Group B with Western Conference teams Seattle, San Jose and Vancouver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

All six groups now have four teams apiece.

In Group A the Fire would have played both expansion teams, Nashville and Inter Miami, plus New York City FC.

The Fire's first tournament game will kick off at 8 a.m. Tuesday (ESPN) against the defending league champion Sounders. The Fire lost the season opener at Seattle in March, one of two games the Fire played before the league suspended its season due to the pandemic.

Nashville, an expansion side this season, and Dallas were removed from the tournament in Orlando because each had several players test positive for COVID-19.

"Due to the number of positive tests, the club has been unable to train since arriving in Orlando and would not be able to play matches," said MLS commissioner Don Garber in a league statement about Nashville. "For every decision we make in our return to play, the well-being of our players, staff, officials and all participants is our top priority."

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