CHICAGO (March 30, 2023) - Chicago Fire FC II will open the home portion of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season on Friday, March 31 against Toronto FC II. The Fire will look to begin a winning streak following a 3-1 road win at Inter Miami FC II last Sunday. First kick at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill., is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT and the match can be streamed on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
The Fire opened the 2023 campaign with a 3-1 win at Inter Miami FC II on Sunday, with goals scored by Matteo Kidd, Billy Hency and Alex Monis. Following a 1-1 score at halftime, the visitors scored two unanswered goals in the second half to earn a season-opening victory. The result stood in contrast to the beginning of the 2022 season, when it took seven contests before the team won its first match. Despite the slow start to the 2022 season, the Fire finished with a strong 5-4-3 record at home, including three consecutive home wins to finish the year.
Like Chicago, Toronto FC II started its season on the road, facing FC Cincinnati II in Northern Kentucky on Monday night. Unlike Chicago, Toronto opened its season with a 4-2 road loss in which Cincinnati scored three unanswered goals to close the match. Forward Alec Dias shined in the match, providing an assist to Reshaun Walkes in the 24th minute before scoring a penalty kick only five minutes later.
The teams faced each other three times during the 2022 season, with the teams splitting the first two results, both in Toronto. But the third match resulted in a contested 2-1 Fire victory in Bridgeview, the second of home wins to close out the season. Richard Fleming III and Missael Rodríguez scored the first two goals of the match, while the defense held on after a late challenge by Toronto.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
SeatGeek Stadium Scorer. Alex Monis scored the last goal in Fire II’s season opening victory over Inter Miami II on Sunday. But Monis also tallied the last two goals scored at SeatGeek Stadium in 2022: first for Fire II on September 18 and then for the first team on October 10. In fact, four of his five goals for Fire II in 2022 were scored in Bridgeview. Monis will try to continue his SeatGeek Stadium scoring streak and help the Fire start a 2023 winning streak of its own.
Luka the Professional. Despite only being 24 years old, Luka Prpa has a wealth of experience in the soccer world. After earning several athletic and academic honors at Marquette University, the Milwaukee native was selected by the Houston Dynamo in the second round of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. Soon thereafter, he would join the USL Championship side Rio Grande Valley FC, before signing on with Hartford Athletic in 2021. Prpa parlayed his experience into a successful Fire II debut on Sunday, providing two assists and a conduit through which the team thrived.
Mighty Matteo. One of the bright spots of the 2022 Fire II season was the play of Matteo Kidd in the midfield. The St. Louis native played over 1500 minutes with the team and even made a first team appearance during a September friendly match against Club León. Most importantly, he served as a leader for the team during its inaugural season, wearing the captain’s armband on occasion. His season opening goal in Florida was his first for the team, but hopefully not the last this year.
HOW TO WATCH
Chicago Fire FC II begins the home portion of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season Friday, March 31 against Toronto FC II in Bridgeview, Ill. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. at SeatGeek Stadium, and match entry and parking will be free. First kick is set for 5:30 p.m. CT and can be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.