March to Soccer: Five Memorable Road Openers
In the past 15 years of the club's existence, all but two of the team’s season openers have come on the road including this season at the Los Angles Galaxy March 3.
Chicago has a record of 4-5-4 all time in road openers and there are more than a few memorable games. Five of them:
#5 – New York Red Bulls 1, Chicago Fire 0 (2010)
The Fire can only hope for the same buzz in L.A. that took place with the grand opening of Red Bull Arena on March 27, 2010.
With 24,572 in attendance, the stadium was (nearly) full and the team forced eight saves out of Red Bull ‘keeper Bouna Condoul but were undone by a beautiful strike from future player Joel Lindpere in the 1-0 loss.
#4 – Chicago Fire 1, Real Salt Lake 1 (2008)
Like Brian McBride the following year, Cuauhtemoc Blanco (right) began his first full season with the Fire with a stoppage time goal in the 2008 season opening 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake.
The Mexican legend blasted a shot from 18 yards out to the far post corner off of a rebound from a Calen Carr cross to quiet the 20,272 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Blanco would go on to finish second on the team with seven goals and lead the side with 11 assists in 2008.
#3 – Chicago Fire 3, FC Dallas 1 (2009)
The Fire haven’t always fared well in Dallas but they did in this game. Even as Kenny Cooper put the home side ahead, the Fire responded with three unanswered goals from Justin Mapp, Brian McBride and Blanco to begin an impressive 11-match unbeaten run at the start of 2009.
#2 - Chicago Fire 1, Montreal Impact 1 (2012)
Playing an expansion team in your opening match seems like an easy three points, right? What about when you have to play them in front of nearly 60,000 partisan fans?
That's exactly what happened last season as the Fire opened up Montreal's Olympic Stadium on St. Patrick's Day. Davy Arnaud put the home side ahead but Dominic Oduro poked Sebastian Grazzini's lob past Donovan Ricketts to give the Fire an important 1-1 draw.
#1 - Chicago Fire 2, Miami Fusion 1 (1998)
The Fire’s first-ever match came against fellow expansion side Miami Fusion at Lockhar Stadium on March 21, 1998.
A close game throughout, the Fire left it late when Roman Kosecki tallied the first goal in club history, stuffing home a rebound from Ante Razov in the 76th minute. Eleven minutes later, the Fire’s first round College Draft pick Ritchie Kotschau capitalized off a mistake in the Fusion defense, rounded Jeff Cassar and finished into the empty net to clinch a 2-0 win.
A picture perfect start to a season that would go on to produce the American double…
WATCH: Chicago Fire 2, Miami Fusion 0 (3/21/1998)