The 2021 MLS regular season is upon us at last.
Tonight, Chicago Fire FC kicks off their campaign along the lakefront with a visit from old Eastern Conference rivals the New England Revolution at Soldier Field. The opening night festivities begin on WGN-TV and CFFC Live at 7:30 p.m CT, and -- ahead of the opening whistle -- head coach Raphael Wicky has released his first starting XI of the season.
Get all the details on how we'll begin tonight's match with the lineup notes below:
- 2020 Team MVP and Golden Boot Award winner Robert Berić leads the attacking line, and will look to make an impact on the scoresheet as his second season in MLS begins. Berić scored six of his team-leading 12 goals at Soldier Field last season.
- Having recovered from a season-ending injury suffered at last Summer's MLS is Back Tournament, midfielder Luka Stojanović makes his his Soldier Field debut this evening as part of Wicky's first XI.
- Joining Stojanović in midfield are Przemysław Frankowski and Chinonso Offor. Frankowski gets his 51st career Fire appearance, while Offor -- a new arrival for the 2021 season -- will make his official club debut as part of tonight's attack.
- Supporting the trio will be midfielders Gastón Giménez and Álvaro Medrán, both of whom will look to take their partnership to the next level. Both new arrivals in 2020, Giménez earned 18 appearances and picked up three assists while Medrán started and played all 23 of the Fire's matches. He scored twice and added six assists in his first season in MLS.
- Captain Francisco Calvo takes up his usual role in central defense, and will lead a defensive unit full of familiar faces. Also returning from an injury-plagued 2020, a fully-healthy Johan Kappelhof will slot in centrally next to Calvo, while veteran Jonny Bornstein and second-year returnee Boris Sekulić take up the wide positions. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth also returns for 2021 to man the 18-yard box for the Fire.
- Available to Wicky tonight as substitutions are goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, defender Wyatt Omsberg, defender Jhon Espinoza, defender Miguel Navarro, defender Andre Reynolds II, defender/midfielder Mauricio Pineda, midfielder Javier Casas Jr., midfielder Brian Gutiérrez, and midfielder Ignacios Aliseda.
- Midfielder Elliot Collier (left ankle), midfielder Fabian Herbers (right knee), midfielder Stanislav Ivanov (left knee), goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm (right knee), and defender Carlos Terán (left thigh) are out for tonight's match.
Get a look at both team's starting lineups as they're available in the graphics below: