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USL Review: Chicago Fire, Lansing Ignite form MLS-USL alliance

This week’s USL Review notebook kicks off with the news of an affiliation partnership between MLS side Chicago Fire and League One’s Lansing Ignite. Stick around for notes, transactions, scores, highlights and quotes from around the league.

Jul 31, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez speaks during the All-Star mini-pitch dedication during the MLS WORKS Community Day at Gage Park. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Fire now have an official partner in USL League One.

On Wednesday, the MLS club announced that it had former a “collaborative alliance” with Lansing Ignite FC, which will see the two clubs share technical resources through the 2019 season.

Also included in the partnership is a loan agreement between the two clubs, which will allow the Fire to send players to Lansing and then recall them at any point. Three Fire players have already joined Lansing on loan in 2019, including defender Grant Lillard, midfielder Raheem Edwards and goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland.

“Lansing Ignite is doing things in the right way and in a first-class manner,” Chicago Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a statement. “This partnership will provide our younger players with an opportunity to gain additional professional experience, while also expanding our presence in the Midwest.”

In addition to sharing resources and having an open loan agreement, the Fire and Ignite will face off in a friendly on Sept. 24 at Cooley Law School Stadium. The Fire will field a reserve squad in the match, according to the statement.

“The alliance not only provides our team with exposure to the highest levels of the game in the United States but also gives the Lansing community an opportunity to see high-quality competition,” said Lansing vice president and general manager Jeremy Sampson.

Lansing is 2-3-3 in its first season of USL League One play.

Wednesday’s scores

USL Championship

  • Nashville SC 1, Birmingham Legion FC 0
  • Swope Park Rangers 2, Memphis 901 FC 2
  • Fresno FC 1, Austin Bold FC 0

USL League One

  • Orlando City B 3, Richmond Kickers 2
  • North Texas SC 3, Forward Madison 1

Things to know

  • Nashville SC announced last week that it would play two regular season games this season at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Those two games will be on July 27 against Indy Eleven and on Oct. 12 against North Carolina FC. Last season, Nashville played two games there as well, drawing more than 18,000 fans to each match. When Nashville moves to MLS in 2020, all of its home games will be at Nissan.
  • Birmingham Legion FC beat West Chester United 4-1 last week in its U.S. Open Cup debut. The club became the first ever team from Alabama to compete the 106-year-old tournament.
  • Saint Louis FC and the Ottawa Fury have a new date. Their game originally scheduled for May 4 was postponed due to the threat of flooding. That match is now set for Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. ET in Fenton, Missouri.
  • In a surprising result, the Charlotte Independence got a point on the road against Nashville SC with the game finishing in a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Dominic Oduro scored off an Enzo Martinez feed in the 15th minute, and Lebo Moloto equalized for Nashville. A season-high 6,918 fans attended the match at First Tennessee Park.
  • Nashville SC remains as the only team in the USL Championship in the top 10 in both goals scored and goals allowed.
  • Laurence Wyke scored his second professional goal as ATL UTD 2 drew with the Swope Park Rangers 1-1 on Sunday. The physical match in Kansas City featured seven yellow cards.
  • Jose Angulo netted his 50th regular season USL Championship goal on Sunday as Hartford Athletic got their first Championship win, beating Loudoun United 2-1 in Washington, D.C.
  • The U-20 World Cup kicks off Thursday. Tab Ramos’ U.S. squad features 12 players who have competed for squads in the USL Championship, League One or League Two.
  • This week at Pro Soccer USA, I wrote about USL players flooding Gold Cup rosters and coaches reacting to a potential head injury substitution rule for 2020.


  • El Paso Locomotive SC announced Tuesday that it had acquired defender Drew Beckie from OKC Energy SC. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The 28-year-old Canadian appeared in just one game for OKC Energy this season.
  • MLS side FC Cincinnati recalled forward Rashawn Daly from Memphis 901 FC. The 22-year-old American played in 11 games with Memphis on loan, scoring one goal.
  • In League One, the Chattanooga Red Wolves have signed two players from their USL League Two affiliates in Dalton, Georgia and Park City, Utah. YaYa Cisse and Alex Jaimes have been promoted to the League One squad, signing pro deals. Cisse is a native of the Ivory Coast and played his college ball at Fort Hays State University. Jaimes is from California and played at Salt Lake Community College.

Watch this

Come for the Kevon Lambert goal, stay for the backflip.

Christiano Francois finishes for Ottawa.

Here’s that Wyke goal, for ATL UTD 2.

Patience, paying off.

Cordell Cato chips the keeper.

10 seconds is all Tacoma needed.

No video here, but we have a cool kit alert.

And another cool kit.

They said it

Nashville SC forward Daniel Rios on his production this season: “If I’m honest, I would expect more goals. My individual goal is to always score goals. Before every tournament or game, my goal is to score goals. Obviously, first I want to help the team to achieve three points, and then score goals.”

ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass on Gordon Wild: “Gordon Wild looked lively, he’s been away for a little spell, but now he’s back. We put him in a little bit later when we knew his abilities could make an impact in the game. He came and affected the game, which is what we want our subs to do.

Pittsburgh coach Bob Lilley after the Riverhounds’ match against Memphis 901 FC was abandoned, via Pittsburgh Soccer Now: “It’s tough. The way the rule is written, they try to make every attempt to play the game. I know after 20 years of doing this, sometimes it goes your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately, it didn’t for us, and now we have to travel back to Memphis later in the season.”

Birmingham Legion FC coach Tom Soehn on Brian Wright: “He hasn’t been with us for a little bit and some of his fitness has gone away. We had him pretty game-fit, and then he was back in New England and not getting a lot of minutes and it reflects on his energy level. But he’s a big, strong guy, and normally, if he’s fitter, he’s finishing those chances (on Saturday vs. NCFC)… I still think he gave us a lot as far as being a physical presence up top.”




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