At last, after 129 days, the Chicago Fire are back in action on Tuesday morning as they kick off their MLS is Back Tournament run with a Group B matchup against Seattle Sounders FC.
The Sounders are coming off of a 0-0 draw with Group B counterparts the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, while the Fire will be making their tournament debut after being moved from Group A to Group B in the wake of Nashville SC's exit from the competition last week.
The two sides will share a level of familiarity with one another entering the match, having met in the 2020 regular season opener back on March 1 in Seattle. The Sounders secured a 2-1 stoppage time victory on the day, but Tuesday's rematch brings new faces, a new format, and renewed feelings of confidence for head coach Raphael Wicky and his men.
Ahead of the nationally televised affair, get a look at Wicky's starting XI below and tune in for kickoff on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 8 a.m. CT:
- Designated Player Gastón Giménez makes his first start for the Club in midfield, having debuted for the Fire as a substitution in their 1-1 road draw at New England on March 7.
- Fellow 2020 newcomer Boris Sekulić will earn his Fire debut on Tuesday morning, slotting into Wicky's defensive back line.
- Forward CJ Sapong makes his first appearance of 2020 as part of the attacking unit. Sapong missed the opening two matches of the season while nursing a chest injury.
- Robert Berić gets the starting nod up top alongside Sapong after scoring against the Sounders on his MLS debut in March.
- Defender Francisco Calvo will wear the captain's armband on Tuesday, which features a custom Black Lives Matter patch designed by Chicago artist Dwight White.
- 2020 Homegrown signing Mauricio Pineda is back in the starting lineup, having gone the full 90 in midfield in the Fire's prior meetings with Seattle and New England.
- Álvaro Medrán and Fabian Herbers will slot into the midfield in front of Giménez come kickoff. Medrán assisted on Berić's goal against Seattle in the season opener and makes his third start for the Club. Herbers' appearance will be his 20th for the Fire, having signed prior to the 2019 season.
- Jonathan Bornstein is back in the starting XI after scoring in the Fire's last outing in New England in March. Tuesday's match will be his 13th start for the Fire after joining the Club midway through the 2019 season.
- Przemysław Frankowski gets his 27th Fire start (34th appearance overall).
- Goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm takes his usual starting spot inside the six-yard box, earning his 22nd Fire appearance.
- Potential Fire debutantes available today off the bench include defenders Wyatt Omsberg and Nicholas Slonina, midfielders Ignacio Aliseda, Javier Casas, and Luka Stojanović, and goalkeepers Connor Sparrow and Gabriel Slonina. Per the competition guidelines, the Fire will be allowed up to five substitutions.
- Rounding out the list of players available to Wicky as substitutions today are midfielders Brandt Bronico, Elliot Collier, and Djordje Mihailović, and defenders Miguel Ángel Navarro and Andre Reynolds II.
- Defender Johan Kappelhof (quad) and midfielder Micheal Azira (eye) are listed as out. Both players will join the team in Orlando pending their respective recoveries.
Get a look at both side's starting lineups as they're available in the graphics below: