I try not to editorialize here on NFC or let my own team biases bleed through, but I felt like I had to share this. Apologies in advance for the non-neutrality.

Yesterday the Chicago Fire hosted the Philadelphia Union in Matchday 5 of the current MLS season. With the score level at 2-2, the Fire won a penalty deep into stoppage time. Talismanic striker Mike Magee elected to take the shot… which was saved by Philly goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who also (somehow) saved the follow-up shot. This ended up being the last kick of the game.

Earlier tonight a Union fan messaged him on Twitter and hurled a homophobic slur. Magee responded with the above pic.

Being a Chicago Fire fan isn’t always easy. Tonight, I’m proud.

Sector Latino is one of the biggest and most visible supporter groups connected to the Chicago Fire. Consisting primarily of Latino and Hispanophone fans, they contribute to the matchday atmosphere by emulating barra brava supporters groups from Latin America. They occupy Section 101, on the opposite side of Toyota Park from the main home supporter’s section. According to the group’s official Twitter, the Fire’s front office told them earlier today that the club would no longer allow them to occupy Section 101. Details are still sketchy, but I’m hearing that the club gave no clear official reason.

This is unfortunately part of a troubling trend in MLS where loud, enthusiastic support is treated by clubs and the league as a problem to be managed. MLS has repeatedly stated that their goal is to grow the sport in the US. This isn’t how you do it.

Tonight, in the pouring rain, my hometown club raised this tifo above our heads and cheered until our lungs gave out. I am honored to have been a part of it, and so proud of the Chicago Fire and Section 8 for singing loud. For what we believe in. For what is right. It was tonight - soaked to the bone, my voice gone for cheering, waving a brilliant rainbow middle finger in the face of every bigot who tries to take the beauty out of this game - Fire ‘til I Die.

Our City. Our Diversity. Our Strength.