Chicago Fire FC shuffled from Group A to Group B following the departures of FC Dallas and expansion Nashville SC from the MLS is Back Tournament.
The new grouping will bring about an immediate familiar foe for the Fire (0-1-1, 1 point), who will begin play in the tournament by facing the defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders FC (1-0-2, 4 points) on Tuesday morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.
The contest marks a rematch of their season-opening tilt on March 1, when Jordan Morris completed a second-half brace by scoring in stoppage time to lift the Sounders to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Fire.
Stefan Frei, who yielded a goal to Robert Beric in that match, turned aside all eight shots on net as Seattle opened tournament play with a scoreless draw against San Jose on Friday.
"Happy to get the first game out of the way, the butterflies out of the way, get a point," the 34-year-old Frei said, per the Seattle Times. "No injuries and in difficult conditions. It's something to build on."
Midfielder Cristian Roldan added a similar sentiment considering the amount of time that had transpired since the MLS initially halted play due to the coronavirus.
"In the end, obviously sloppy play, first game in three months," the 25-year-old Roldan said. "It probably was going to be summed up like that, but if we could have taken one or two opportunities, we'd be happy with the result."
The Fire aim to avoid a sloppy performance when they take the pitch for their first match since a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on March 7.
Despite the lengthy layoff, Chicago defender Francisco Calvo told reporters that he believes that facing a familiar foe will help his club.
"We know Seattle," the 28-year-old Calvo said. "We played them before. I think we did a really good game against them. Unlucky we lost almost in the last minute, but know how to play them, and we are not afraid of anybody in this tournament or in this league."
--Field Level Media