On World Cup eve, the Fire tie the Rapids in MLS play

COMMERCE CITY, CO. – Over the next month, die-hard and casual soccer fans will have their eyes on Russia as the best national teams in the sport gather for the chance to be the world’s best.

Even with the United States out of the competition, the World Cup will be a major talking point for sports fans in the Chicago area from now till mid-July.

At the same time, the Chicago Fire are pressing on with their MLS and U.S. Open Cup campaigns, hoping to make up for a sluggish start in the former and win a title in the latter. It’s a particularly busy stretch for the team, who’ve played four games in the last 12 days, yet the team has managed come out with a win or a tie in each contest.

That was the case on Wednesday when the Fire traveled to play the Colorado Rapids, and while they’ve played a lot recently, the didn’t lack for excitement in the opening minutes of the contest at Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first 15 minutes, Aleksandar Katai had his hand in a pair of goals soon afterwards to bring the game to even. It would finish that way as neither team found the net for the rest of the contest, with the tie improving the Fire to 5-7-4 on the season.

The result also put them into a tie for sixth in the Eastern Conference with Orlando City FC at 19 points on the season.

It looked like that might not happen when Colorado got on the board with a Dominique Badji score in the seventh minute then got a header goal from Tommy Smith in the 15th to make it 2-0 in a hurry. Katai got going soon after, getting a deflection off Rapids defender Danny Wilson for the score to get the Fire within a goal, then came one of his best plays of the year.

Katai bounced a long pass off his chest, then brought it down to his left foot, where he booted it over goalie Tim Howard and under the crossbar for the score to tie it at two. Neither team would score the rest of the way, and now the Fire get a bit of a rest before their next match.

They won’t be on the pitch till their next U.S. Open Cup game next Wednesday at Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Three days later they’ll be in Seattle for their next MLS match against the Sounders as their season continues in America as the World Cup progresses on the other side of the globe.