The Chicago Fire have been one of the worst franchises in MLS over the last decade. They've made the playoffs just twice since 2010, the same as their Wooden Spoon count over that same period. Despite that historic level of failure, the Fire always seem to have an answer for Orlando City.
Chicago has a 5-4-5 all time record against the Lions, including three absolute drubbings. This is a close all time series. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Orlando hasn't been particularly great the entirety of the last eight years, but still, these two clubs have a close history together.
There was a stretch between 2016 and 2019 where Chicago went undefeated against Orlando City, including three multi-goal victories. Again, that did overlap with uncharacteristically high times in the Windy City and unbelievably low times in Orlando, but still.
Last season, the Fire upset the Lions on national television, pulling away with a 3-1 victory at Soldier Field. That match was one of the brightest moments for Chicago in 2021, and probably the absolute lowest point for Orlando City last year.
Orlando did beat Chicago later in the season, but that was still a tight 1-0 victory. Chicago was a bad team last season, but still gave Orlando problems, especially in Illinois. Most of these games have been played at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, but as we saw last season, the frustration of Chicago has carried over to Soldier Field.
It's hard to do a "Throwback Thursday" historical retrospective on Orlando City's series history with the Chicago Fire this year, because this Fire franchise is a completely different organization this year than it was even just a season ago. The owner is still relatively new, the logo is new, the coach is new, most of the players are new and most importantly, there's a new energy around the organization.
I have no doubt that the Fire will continue to be a thorn in Orlando City's side for the foreseeable future. Before, it was a bad team that Orlando couldn't clear. Now, though, the Fire could be a legitimate competitor alongside the Lions for the Eastern Conference.