BRIDGEVIEW, IL - OCTOBER 31: Will Bruin #12 of Houston Dynamo scores a goal on a header as Austin Berry #22 of Chicago Fire defends him in an MLS match on October 31, 2012 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
2013 FIRE SCHEDULE
Mar 3 (UNIVISION) at LA Galaxy, 4 p.m.
Mar 9 (NBCSN) New England, 6:30 p.m.
Mar 16 (NBCSN) at Kansas City, 2 p.m.
Mar 24 (UNIMAS) Chivas, 4 p.m.
Apr 7 (ESPN2) New York, 4 p.m.
Apr 14 (UNIMAS) at Houston, 4 p.m.
Apr 20 Columbus, 7:30 p.m.
Apr 27 (NBCSN) at Montreal, 3 p.m.
May 11 (NBCSN) Philadelphia, 12:30 p.m.
May 18 at Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m.
May 25 at Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m.
Jun 2 (UNIMAS) DC, 4 p.m.
Jun 8 Portland, 7:30 p.m.
Jun 19 Colorado, 7:30 p.m.
Jun 22 at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Jul 3 San Jose, 7:30 p.m.
Jul 7 (ESPN) Kansas City, 2 p.m.
Jul 14 at Vancouver, TBD
Jul 20 DC, 7:30 p.m.
Jul 27 (NBCSN) at Houston, 7 p.m.
Aug 3 at Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m.
Aug 10 Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Aug 17 at New England, 6:30 p.m.
Aug 23 (NBCSN) Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.
Sep 1 (UNIMAS) Houston, 4 p.m.
Sep 7 (NBCSN) Seattle, 9 p.m.
Sep 11 at Toronto, TBD
Sep 14 New England, 7:30 p.m.
Sep 21 Columbus, 6:30 p.m.
Sep 28 Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct 4 (NBCSN) DC, 7 p.m.
Oct 12 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Oct 19 Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Oct 27 (UNIMAS) New York, 4 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2013 9:53AM
The Fire was stunned after its loss to the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 Eastern Conference play-in game.
But once the 2013 season starts, the Fire will have an immediate opportunity to prove its early exit was a fluke.
The team announced its 2013 MLS schedule, and four of its first six games are against playoff teams from last season.
The Fire opens March 3 at the Home Depot Center against the two-time defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy. The Fire is 4-4-5 in season openers on the road.
“It’s a pretty tough schedule in the beginning, but I feel like that’s where character is built,” midfielder Patrick Nyarko said.
“These are teams that you have to beat to instill the confidence the team needs to know that we are good enough to go deep in the playoffs. It’s a challenge, but that’s what we live for.”
The Fire’s home opener is March 9 against the New England Revolution, and it plays the Dynamo on April 14 in Houston to round out the first six games.
Sixteen of the Fire’s 34 MLS games will be on national TV — eight on NBC Sports Network, five on UniMas and one apiece on Univision, ESPN and ESPN2.
The Fire plays all nine Western Conference teams once and 25 games against Eastern teams. The Fire will play seven Eastern opponents three times and will have two home games against D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City, the Montreal Impact and the Revolution.
It will play the San Jose Earthquakes, winners of the 2012 Supporters’ Shield, on July 3 at Toyota Park.