Fire History

Fire's 20th Season opens with club's 600th MLS match

Michael de Leeuw

It’s fitting that a milestone season for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club begins with a milestone match.

When the Fire officially kick off their 20th Season in MLS Saturday, they’ll also be playing the club’s 600th MLS regular season contest.

Also appropriate is that they’ll do so against the opponent they’ve seen most frequently since entering the league in 1998. Chicago’s visit to Columbus Crew SC (1 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago) is the 59th regular season match between the longtime Midwest rivals, four more meetings for the Fire than against joint-second DC United and New England Revolution.

The oddity that was the Fire -- who stand at 237-217-145 all-time in MLS action -- ending 2016 on 599 all-time matches played stems from the club’s 27-game schedule played in 2001, when the final weekend of league play was canceled following the attacks of Sept. 11.

Chicago’s most recent ‘milestone’ game came on March 23, 2014 against the New York Red Bulls. And while nobody who played in No. 500 for the Fire that day will be in the squad Saturday, there will be a goal-scorer from the game, a 1-1 draw, making their official debut for the Men In Red in the club’s 600th match:

For those wondering, the MLS club that most closely mirrors the Fire in terms of all-time games played is the San Jose Earthquakes, whose first game of 2017 will be the 601st in the club’s two iterations of record-keeping (1996-2005, 2008-present).

Here’s a rundown of the club’s ‘milestone’ matches over 19-plus seasons:

Match Number
No. 100
April 28, 2001
at Tampa Bay Mutiny
W, 1-0
No. 200
July 28, 2004
at Colorado Rapids
L, 2-0
No. 300 
Sept. 20, 2007
at FC Dallas
T, 1-1
No. 400
April 17, 2011
vs. LA Galaxy
L, 2-1
No. 500
March 23, 2014
vs. New York Red Bulls
T, 1-1
No. 600
March 4, 2017
at Columbus Crew SC