Chicago Fire vs Cruz Azul : The Chicago Fire tonight are set to take part in the launch of Leagues Cup, an all-new competition featuring four clubs from both MLS and Liga MX with a trophy and bragging rights on the line. The Fire host Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals tonight (Tuesday) at SeatGeek Stadium, with kickoff slated for 7:30 PM CT and live coverage
Ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting at SeatGeek Stadium (7:30 p.m. CT), the Chicago Fire and Cruz Azul have released their respective 23-man rosters for the inaugural match of the 2019 Leagues Cup tournament.
Argentine international Nicolás Gaitán, World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, MLS Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolić and 20-year-old U.S. National Team midfielder Djordje Mihailović will square off against a Cruz Azul roster which features Gold Cup champions Orbelin Pineda and Roberto Alvarado, Yoshimar Yotun, and goalscorer Milton Caraglio.
The consistent message from Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic at Monday’s Leagues Cup press conference was that he was treating Tuesday’s matchup with Cruz Azul no differently than any other match.
The Fire may not have done anything special to prepare for Cruz Azul, but Paunovic believes being aware of what is going on elsewhere, particularly within North American soccer, is simply a part of the job.
“It’s a challenge but it’s something we are used to,” Paunovic said. “He who is passionate about the game and who loves learning … about the game, he never sleeps, he always follows the other leagues.”
Paunovic also mentioned how Chicago gained insights during scouting trips in the past and from watching La Maquina players Yoshimar Yotun (ex-Orlando City) and Rafael Baca (ex-San Jose Earthquakes) play in MLS.
The Chicago Fire have a lot on their plate at the moment.
They sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings after their last two games have yielded just a single point against the league’s two worst teams. And they’re in the middle of negotiating a relocation of the team to downtown Chicago, all while also mulling a complete rebrand.
Into this fray enter Cruz Azul – one of Liga MX’s best sides over the past year and fresh off a triumph in the SuperCopa MX – for the inaugural Leagues Cup. The competition may not have a history, but that hasn’t lessened the importance it will be treated with.