Since there isn’t a new head coach or any new players to write about, I might as well analyze the Chicago Fire’s 2020 schedule announcement because, like everything the club has done this offseason, it was dripping with doomed foreshadowing.
The 2020 Major League Soccer schedule was finally released on Wednesday afternoon, with teams across MLS doing some sort of announcement to mark the occasion.
The Los Angeles Galaxy published a video of a dude dancing in his bedroom that would summon all the teams they were set to face in the upcoming campaign. The Vancouver Whitecaps went with a simpler format, having memes explain who they would be up against.
D.C United won the day, however, as they opted for an excellent thread that used clips of hit TV show The Office to reveal all of their opponents.
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The Chicago Fire were one of the less creative clubs when it came to their schedule announcement, releasing a standard video that showcased all of their upcoming home games. The short clip mostly emphasized the impending downtown move to Soldier Field, but there were a number of other subtle references made in it as well. Not all of them worked, however, and just like the team itself, there were some errors in judgement made.
One of the first things that can be seen in the video, oddly enough, is a Chicago Cubs themed flag. It’s not blatantly obvious, but the color scheme of it is enough to get the point across. Viewers were quick to spot it, and even quicker to try and figure out why it was there.
Some were saying that it was a lowkey attempt at appealing to those in the North Side of the city, as that’s were most Cubs fans are based. Since they will be the ones closer to Soldier Field, the Fire are trying to get them to hop on another Chicago sports bandwagon. Spare a thought for White Sox fans on the South Side though, especially those who are already fans of the Chicago Fire, who feel like they’ve been cast aside.
Other believed it was foreshadowing a potential streaming partnership. The Cubs are starting their own cable television channel called Marquee Sports Network, working in partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting Group. There were rumors that the Fire would potentially join in 2020, and this little easter egg adds more credence to the theory for sure.
A kid is then shown to be woken up by a combination of his mother and his alarm clock. The alarm has the time of 3:21, which is obviously a reference to the home opener on March 21st versus Atlanta United, but what kid is waking up at that time of day? Also, there’s sunlight peeking through the windows, which would not be happening so early on. The kid gets out of bed, and it seems the Nike Elite socks he is wearing are on the wrong feet.
There is a fun moment when the kid walks past a TV that shows when the Fire will be playing the New York Red Bulls before cutting to an infomercial for the state of New Jersey. Classic MLS comedy there. A kitchen magnet and the expiration date on a gallon of milk is used for the games against the Columbus Crew and LAFC, which is alright, but nothing spectacular.
The quality of the announcements starts to drop at this point, as the kid spilling cereal on the table is supposed to show when Chicago plays expansion side Inter Miami, but it’s hard to tell when the exact date of that game actually is since all the pieces of cereal are so close together.
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It’s clear that they started running out of ideas as two games were announced on a doormat in front of the kids house, with another two being shown on a staircase. Things improve late on, but the ending of the video is what truly takes the cake.
The kid finally arrives at Soldier Field, with the giant screen at the stadium showing that the final home game of the season will be on September 26th versus the Montreal Impact. However, there was one glaring issue that no one at the club picked up on before releasing the video.
The child walks into a completely empty Soldier Field.
No one is playing on the grass, and more importantly, no one is in the stands. Fans were left to assume that this final image was supposed to represent a new beginning for the club. Instead, it demonstrates what might actually happen at the start of the season: an empty stadium.
Considering that the Chicago Fire still do not have a coach, are in need of players, and are coming off the back of one of the worst rebrands in sports history, there’s little reason for supporters to get excited ahead of the new year. Rumors have swirled that the season ticket numbers are low at the moment, with several fans choosing not to renew after recent developments.
There is obviously still plenty of time to fix things, but if the Fire keep making the wrong decisions, there’s a big chance Soldier Field will still be empty come March 21st. At the very least, then, this video will serve as an excellent piece of foreshadowing. But that, like everything the Fire have done this offseason, is about all that is positive.