The two long running Midwest teams tangle once more on the opening weekend game of the Major League Soccer 2017 season, as the rebranded Chicago Fire travels to Central Ohio to visit Columbus Crew Sc at the MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday 4th March. After their lackluster campaigns in the 2016 MLS season, the both teams are eager to kick-off their 2017 MLS campaigns on a bright note on the opening match day. Nevertheless, the recent stats, favor Columbus Crew SC who have won four games out of their last five home matches against the Fire at the MAPFRE Stadium.

Columbus Crew SC

After falling devastatingly short of winning the Major League Soccer trophy on home ground in the 2015 season, Berhalter's tutored side fell heavily again in their last campaign, joining the likes of teams that failed in their attempt to reach the MLS playoffs after participating in the league championship. In retaliation to this effect, the Central Ohio team made several changes to their team's roster but retaining the likes of winger Justin Meram, Will Trapp, Frederico Higuain and forward Ola Kamara who scored 16 goals in his 25 appearances for the Black and Gold after joining the club last season. The Central Ohio team will carry some impelling strengths into the opening match day after emerging as winners of the pre-season's Carolina Challenge Cup last week .

Chicago Fire

During the MLS offseason, Chicago Fire made some dramatic changes to their squad - as they record nine players departing the club and nine players joining the club after their Eastern Conference two-consective last place finishes. The Fire were headlined for the transfers of both midfielders Juninho and Dax McCarty and the signing of prolific attacker Nemanja Nikolic as a 'Designated Player.' During the preseason matches the Red Chicago Men were promising in racking up a 6-0 win, including 4-1 victories over their East rivals Montreal Impact and Toronto FC.

Chicago Fire Coach Veljko Paunovic and team general manager Nelson Rodriguez have both expressed their desires and keen pressure to qualify the club for the MLS Cup playoffs this 2017 season