The 2023 Major League Soccer season got underway at the end of February, and there are
already plenty of talking points. Philadelphia Union came within seconds of lifting the MLS
Cup for the first time in franchise history last term, however a late equalizer from Los
Angeles FC’s Gareth Bale sent the tie to extra time, and it was his side that ultimately held
their nerve to claim the crown. OddsChecker, which compares soccer odds and free bets, had
made the Union second favorites for glory this season, and they impressed in their curtain
Despite falling behind to an early Jakob Glesnes own goal, the hosts rallied at Subaru Park
and reeled off four unanswered goals to run out convincing 4-1 victors against the Columbus
Crew. Braces from Hungarian star Dániel Gazdag and Argentinian sensation Julián Simón
Carranza were enough to secure the victory.
It is the reigning champion LAFC that begins the campaign as favorites, however. They face
off against the Portland Timbers in their curtain raiser, and they will be hoping to lay down a
marker for the upcoming season.
Fire Faces Tough Tests
Just as the Portland Timbers face a difficult challenge in their opening game of the new
season, the Chicago Fire arguably has a pair of opening fixtures more difficult than any of
their domestic rivals. They face off against 2021 champions New York City FC at Soldier
Field in their first game of the new term. They then face the aforementioned Philadelphia
Union on the road the following week.
Things don’t get any easier in the weeks that follow either. Cincinnati FC will visit Illinois on
March 19th, before another difficult test away from home against David Beckham’s Inter
2022 was a season to forget for the Fire. They finished way down in 12th place in the Eastern
Conference, a whopping nine points off the playoffs. But in former UEFA Champions
League winner Xherdan Shaqiri, the Chicago outfit has one of the league’s genuine stars, and
they will be hoping that their Swiss Superman can fire them to glory over the course of the
Head coach Ezra Hendrickson has worked wonders in the close season. He has brought in
talented Greek teenager Georgios Koutsias from the 2019 Greek Champions PAOK. He has
also brought in MLS veteran Kei Kamara from CF Montréal. Those two should add some
much-needed firepower to the Fire’s forward line, providing some support for Shaqiri who,
as much as he may try, cannot do it all by himself.
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