In only its third year in existence, Major League Soccer was ready to expand and added franchises in Miami and Chicago in 1998. The Chicago Fire, named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, has become one of the most successful teams in the league's history. The team began play in 1998 at the storied Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears. Little did the Chicago faithful know that the Fire would be a catalyst in the growth of professional soccer in the city and bring a wholly unexpected championship to the Windy City.
The Fire pulled off one of the most amazing feats in professional sports during their inaugural season, when they became the fastest expansion team in U.S. history to win a championship. The Fire finished with a 20-12 record in the regular season, buoyed by the stellar play of forward Peter Nowak. After squeaking by the Colorado Rapids in the first round of the playoffs, the Fire shocked the LA Galaxy, who were widely considered to be the best team in the league at that point. During the MLS Cup, the Fire went up against defending champion DC United and surged ahead to a 2-0 lead. Thanks to exemplary goaltending by Zack Thornton, the Fire were able to close out DC United and pull off one of the most surprising seasons in sports history.
After the Fire's amazing championship run in 1998, they would make two more appearances in the MLS Cup in 2000 and 2003. Additionally, the team's has made more than 11 playoff appearances over the course of their history. The Chicago Fire are one of hte most beloved teams in the MLS and are always in the thick of the championship hunt each year.
Chicago Fire Soccer at Toyota Park Address: 7000 South Harlem Avenue Bridgeview, Illinois 60455
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club plays their home games at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. Toyota Park has been the home of Fire soccer since 2006, and can seat over 20,000 fans. The stadium replaced Soldier Field as the home of Fire soccer, and is the first soccer specific stadium to house the Fire. Toyota Park was designed to be easily expandable to 30,000 fans as the club anticipates the continued growth of soccer in the United States. Toyota Park has quickly become one of the top soccer venues in MLS and has served as the host of World Cup qualifying and other international soccer matches.
Chicago Fire vs. FC Dallas
Chicago Fire’s longest running rivalry is with FC Dallas. The two clubs compete for the Brimstone Cup, which is a trophy that is awarded yearly to the team with the most points in the games between the Chicago Fire and FC Dallas. The rivalry between Chicago and Dallas began in 2001 and has been played over 13 times.
Chicago Fire vs. D.C. United
Since the Fire moved to the MLS Eastern Conference, their biggest rivalry has been with D.C. United. The rivalry between Chicago and D.C. dates back to the Fire’s first season in 1998, when Chicago upset United to win the MLS Cup. Since then the two clubs have met in the MLS Cup playoffs on multiple occasions and the tension just continues to grow between these two powerhouse clubs.
Chicago Fire Event Guide
What time do the gates open at Chicago Fire games?
Gates at Toyota Park open approximately 60 minutes before kickoff
Where is the best place to park at Toyota Park?
There are a number of good parking options at Chicago Fire home games at Toyota Park. The best parking option for Chicago Fire games is going to be on the East side of Toyota Park at the East Lot. The East Lot runs from just outside the east side of the stadium all the way to South Harlem Avenue. The next best place to park is going to be directly north of Toyota Park at the North Lot. All the parking on the west side of Toyota Park is reserved for season ticket holders. Parking lots generally open 3 hours before kickoff
Does my kid need a ticket to Chicago Fire Games?
All children over the age of 2 will be required to have a ticket to enter Toyota Park. If your child is under 2 years old, they do not have to have a ticket to enter the game, but must sit on a parent or guardians lap for the duration of the game.
Can I tailgate before a Chicago Fire game?
Tailgating is permitted at Chicago Fire games. If you are looking to tailgate you should remember that no glass bottles and no open flames are permitted. All charcoal must be disposed of in the Hot Coals only bins located outside of Toyota Park.