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Chicago Fire 2024 MLS season preview

We’re taking you through Chicago’s offseason action, hopes, fears, tactics & much more.

6 min read

Where we left off last year

2023 season: 40 points, 13th in the Eastern Conference

Well, we left off with the Chicago Fire missing the playoffs for the sixth-straight year. Manager Ezra Hendrickson lost his job early in the season, Xherdan Shaqiri didn’t produce like a DP for the second year in a row, and over the offseason, the Fire announced their decision to sign the top two folks in their vastly underperforming front office to contract extensions.

Chris Brady’s development in goal was a positive, as was Brian Gutierrez getting 2,300 minutes in the attacking midfield line. But things haven’t been great.

What changed in the offseason

Notable arrivals:

  • Andrew Gutman, LB: Acquired in a trade with the Colorado Rapids that sent Miguel Navarro the other way, Gutman will be an impact player for the Fire this year. The 27-year-old is one of the better attacking left backs in MLS and consistently provides solid-to-excellent output in the final third.
  • Tobias Salquist, CB: Salquist fills a need for the Fire in the middle of their backline. The 28-year-old Danish defender has spent almost all of his career in Denmark and is a threat in the air.
  • Allan Arigoni, RB: The 25-year-old right back arrives from FC Lugano, Chicago’s sister club and has never played outside of Switzerland. He’ll add speed to the outside of the Fire’s backline.
  • Hugo Cuypers, ST: Undoubtedly Chicago’s biggest move of the primary transfer window, the Fire dropped an initial club-record fee of $12 million to sign Cuypers. The 27-year-old Belgian striker arrives with an impressive scoring profile — he scored 20 goals in 2,700 minutes for Gent last season. Though Cuypers won’t have the luxury of playing on the front foot for a possession-heavy team in MLS like he did in Belgium, he’ll be a goal threat for Chicago (if they can find him).
  • *Kellyn Acosta, CM: Signed as a free agent after his time with LAFC, Acosta fills a big position of need for the Fire in central midfield. The 28-year-old doesn’t excel in any one area, but he brings consistently functional performances and experience to Chicago. Those are two things that the Fire have lacked in recent years.

* Deal is yet to be announced but is likely to happen.

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