The 2018 season got one step closer on Tuesday, as the Chicago Fire's opening three matches and opponents were formally revealed by Major League Soccer. Chicago opens against three straight Western Conference foes after posting a 6-3-2 mark against their non-conference competition in 2017.
The Fire will begin their campaign on the road in Colorado on Saturday, March 3, before kicking off their 2018 home calendar with a visit from Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 10. The Men In Red will then head to Minneapolis for their first-ever visit to 2017 expansion side Minnesota United FC.
Here's where each of the Fire's first 2018 opponents stand at this early point of the MLS offseason:
Saturday, March 3 at Colorado Rapids (8 p.m. CT, Broadcast Information TBD)
Colorado's first step toward rebounding from a 2017 campaign that saw them finish in 10th place in the Western Conference was to bring in former New Zealand national team head coach Anthony Hudson on Nov. 29 as the eighth head coach in club history. The Rapids have made a few early offseason moves to bolster Hudson's new side ahead of March 3, including signing midfielder Johan Blomberg from AIK Fotboll on Nov. 21, adding defender and New Zealand international Kip Colvey via the MLS Waiver Draft on Dec. 13, and trading for former LA Galaxy forward Jack McBean on Dec. 14.
Last season, in the pair's only meeting, the Fire handed the Rapids a 3-0 defeat at Toyota Park on May 17, courtesy of a Nemanja Nikolic brace and a tight angle strike from David Accam.
Saturday, March 10 vs. Sporting Kansas City (Time/Broadcast Information TBD)
The Fire's 2018 home opener will see 2017 U.S. Open Cup champs Sporting Kansas City visit Toyota Park on Saturday, March 10. Head coach Peter Vermes' side have been busy so far this offseason, acquiring forward Kenwyne Jones, goalkeeper Alexander Tambakis and a natural fourth-round pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft in a trade with Atlanta United FC on Dec. 10, before swapping defender Saad Abdul-Salaam for forward Khiry Shelton in a trade with New York City FC on Dec. 14. Their biggest move to date, however, came in the form of incoming Designated Player Yohan Coroizet, a 25-year-old French midfielder acquired in a transfer from Belgian side KV Mechelen on Dec. 15.
The Fire visited KC last July following the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup break, and fell 3-2 in these sides' only meeting of 2017.
Saturday, March 17 at Minnesota United FC (Time/Broadcast Information TBD)
Head coach Veljko Paunovic and his side will make their first-ever visit to Minnesota United FC on March 17, when the Fire go north to take on the Loons. So far this offseason, United have added head coach Adrian Heath's son Harrison in a trade with Atlanta United FC on Dec. 10, for whom they swapped a natural 4th round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. They additionally acquired former Atlanta and Seattle Sounders defender Tyrone Mears in Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 15.
Minnesota visited Toyota Park for the inaugural meeting between these sides back on August 26 of last season, as the Loons walked away 2-1 victors on the day.
Stay tuned for further details on kickoff times and broadcast schedules -- as well as the remainder of the 2018 Chicago Fire schedule -- in the near future.