I’m Not A Believer, Yet!

Peter Wilt's not a believer that Carlos de los Cobos is the best fit for his former team.

Peter Wilt's not a believer that Carlos de los Cobos is the best fit for his former team.

Before I catch the LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE, I am going to use this column to write some WORDS on the Chicago Fire’s hiring of Carlos de los Cobos as its fourth head coach in less than five years and fifth ever.

In connection to recent MLS coach hirings lately, people have used the term “bold” as a euphemism for “ignoring history“. As I’d say to Pitch Invasion’s Editor and Fire supporter Tom Dunmore and several other soccer writers who wholeheartedly support this hiring, our differences on this subject are A LITTLE BIT ME AND A LITTLE BIT YOU.

The proponents of the hiring’s biggest argument for de los Cobos is his vast experience. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Nick Firchau wrote that de los Cobos has an “impressive international resume”. So let’s take a look at the resume of what could be considered a journeyman coach.

This will be the 51-year old’s eighth club coaching assignment after leading six teams in Mexico and one in El Salvador. I would argue that quantity does not equal quality.

I see two red flags in regards to his club coaching experience: 1) Lack of championships and 2) lack of tenure at any of his positions.

The new Fire coach has yet to coach any club beyond two seasons and he has not won a championship with any of his seven previous clubs. He had opportunities to win with the premier club in both Mexico (Club América in 1996) and El Salvador (C.D. FAS in 2006). Club America was in the midst of a down era, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that he failed to win either an Apertura or Clausura champion there, but finishing 15th of 18 teams with Club América is not impressive. In El Salvador, the C.D. FAS club he inherited in 2006 had won either an Apertura or Clausura championship in each of the preceding five seasons with other coaches, before coming up just short in de los Cobos one season. That effort was, however, still good enough to earn him the top job with El Salvador’s national team for its 2010 WCQ efforts.

De los Cobos club coaching efforts began in 1993 and 1994 with Club Querétaro where he had some extraneous challenges that resulted in relegation to the Mexican second division. He spent a short period with Club Pachuca in Mexico’s Primera División “A” (second division) before taking over UANL Tigres. After his Club América stint where he won four games, he went on to lead lesser known teams Club Celaya and Deportivo Irapuato. In each of his eight club coaching experiences, de los Cobos’ teams failed to win a championship and he moved on to new challenges after one or two seasons. This certainly doesn’t mean he’s not a good coach or is incapable of leading the Fire to glory, but I’d hardly call it an “impresive international resume”. Certainly, job security in the MFL and the Salvadoran pro league is not great and there are not too many coaches that last more than a couple years at any club there, but it would be nice to see a little more longevity when looking at a resume.

De los Cobos also has international coaching experience. Most recently he managed the El Salvador national team to what’s been described as an inspirational World Cup Qualifying run. Kudos for advancing to the hexagonal, but despite beating Mexico and drawing with the U.S., El Salvador finished with a 2-6-2 hexagonal record (5th place of six teams) just two points above last place Trinidad & Tobago. De los Cobos has considerable national team experience both as a player on the 1986 Mexico World Cup team and as an assistant coach to Manuel Lapuente for Mexico at the 1998 World Cup and the 1996 Olympics. Also, in 2002, Ricardo Lavolpe named him coach of the Under-23 Mexico national team, which fell in the finals of the 2002 Central American and Caribbean games to El Salvador.

Unless you’re a DAYDREAM BELIEVER , this isn’t exactly the type of record on paper that creates excitement. But those who are more familiar with de los Cobos insist his humility, dedication to the position, strong support from Frank Klopas and Andell Sports Group Managing Director Javier Leon, and his warm and engaging personality will be the keys that allow de los Cobos to buck the trend of failed foreign coaches in MLS. He will need every bit of those benefits to overcome the challenge of communicating players while learning English, American players and MLS’ unique ways. As Salvadoran journalist Elmer Polanco, a commentator with Fox Sports en Espanol said in the Chicago Tribune this week, “It’s interesting because he knows (soccer) but he doesn’t know the MLS.”

Carlos de los Cobos will be looking for his first coaching title in his career when he leads the Fire in 2010.

Carlos de los Cobos will be looking for the first coaching title in his career when he leads the Fire in 2010.

The fear I have for “my team” is that, while there are certainly SHADES OF GRAY one of two things is likely going to happen with the new coach:

1) He will fail to win more than he loses, as has been the case with EVERY single other foreign coach without MLS experience in the history of the League. As the saying goes, “Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.”

or

2) He will succeed and use the Fire as A STEPPING STONE after two seasons to a higher paying position with a club team in Mexico or national team elsewhere in CONCACAF.

I had the opportunity to sit and talk over beers with Fire Technical Director and fellow Ring of Fire member Frank Klopas a couple times last week and discuss de los Cobos’ impending hiring. I asked Frank about my “Stepping Stone” concern and he responded by saying that he wants a coach that is going to be committed and wants to be part of the Fire for a long time. “I also want a coach, like any player, that is ambitious and always wants to be better or the best. If AC Milan or Manchester United asked for his services, I would be able to understand that someone might want to coach or have the ambition to coach a team like that one day,” Klopas said.

I told Frank that based on the history of the importance of familiarity with MLS players, rules and restrictions, I thought the risk with this hire was great. I also told him that the opportunity to create a PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY and bring back the Chicago connected Jesse Marsch or Tommy Soehn for a REUNION, was too good to pass up. Both Jesse and Tommy know both the League and the Chicago soccer community well and would both love to return to Chicago for good.

In the news release, Frank said, “The Fire’s priority in the head coach search was to identify someone with a love for the game and a track record of quality results.” There are a lot of coaches who love the game…and i would dare say, many of them seem to have better track records of quality results than de los Cobos.

Leon, the behind the scenes force involved in de los Cobos’ hiring, told me that he believes the Fire has hired “the Mexican Bob Bradley”. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear he’s hired the Mexican Don Zimmer, because history would dictate that after two straight seasons in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Fire’s results will be GOIN’ DOWN. If I’m wrong, I will happily sing I’M A BELIEVER about the Fire’s bold hire at a karaoke party to be named later!

28 thoughts on “I’m Not A Believer, Yet!

  1. krolpolski

    FOR PETE’S SAKE! Sounds like someone wants to shake Fire fans out of their DREAM WORLD. YOU AND I disagreed about Denis’ firing. Do I detect a bit of loyalty to your first Fire employee? WRITING WRONGS?

    THAT WAS THEN THIS IS NOW. We’ve been fortunate not to suffer TIME AND TIME AGAIN, like Red Bulls fans watching a MERRY GO ROUND of coaches.

    Yes, Carlos de los Cobos hasn’t won anything professional silverware, so far. But neither did any of the other coaches the Fire hired. Apart from Bob Bradley, our coaches have been under UNLUCKY STARS.

    But TOMORROW’S GONNA BE ANOTHER DAY and I’m sure he didn’t sign on just to buy a TICKET ON A FERRY RIDE to another coaching job. Yes, YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER, but I think Fire fans can SMILE.

    To YOU AND I, and I’m sure CdlC, football is more than JUST A GAME, and he will DO IT IN THE NAME OF LOVE for the game and his new team. I hope in a few months, we Fire fans can all say with pride: LOOK OUT (HERE COMES TOMORROW)!

  2. bkfiv

    I don’t think they could have justified hiring Soehn after firing Hamlett. What would the point have been? I don’t know who’s better between those two, but I think the idea is trying to get the Fire through the ECF into MLS Cup. Soehn didn’t do that at DC.

    None of us know if CdlC will get the Fire over that hump, but I like the hire. I respect your points, but hopefully even without championships, CdlC’s experiences will bring some different methods and better tactical ideas that will improve the team more than the MLS candidates would’ve.

  3. jjayg23

    I like to see someone taking a firm analytical approach. But I think the guy has energy and desire and though he’s been a lot of places I’m betting that has made him a better coach. I’d be curious to check the early histories of many well-respected internationally known coaches and see if they were instant hits right away. I bet most had to bust their chops someplace as well. Sometimes it’s about timing and the right situation for a coach, I feel confident that the situation and timing is just right for CdlC here in Chicago. Tommy would have been basically a lateral move IMO and Jesse has no coaching experience to speak of. I like the choice we made. Time will tell if it works out but I think given all the factors it was the best one.

  4. Kamil

    “In each of his eight club coaching experiences, de los Cobos’ teams failed to win a championship and he moved on to new challenges after one or two seasons.”

    “Certainly, job security in the MFL and the Salvadoran pro league is not great and there are not too many coaches that last more than a couple years at any club there, but it would be nice to see a little more longevity when looking at a resume.”

    I find it a bit odd that you would be saying he’s not well qualified because he hasn’t spent more than 2 seasons at any one club, when you yourself do the same thing. One could say that you don’t have a great looking resume since you move around so much.

    “3. My job satisfaction: With the major exception of the Fire position, most of my jobs have held my interest for three years. The first year is always new, challenging and provides a great variety of daily challenges. The second year usually involves corrective measures based on first year experience and improvements in all business areas. I have often found the third year to be one where the major challenges have been addressed and the job tends to become a bit routine: it’s time for a new challenge.”

    Maybe de los Cobos also has a plan to move up, just like you. If a better opportunity came around, I’m sure he would take it, as you have. Even though I hope he does well here and stays for more than 2 years.

    “I also told him that the opportunity to create a PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY and bring back the Chicago connected Jesse Marsch or Tommy Soehn for a REUNION, was too good to pass up. ”

    Bringing people back to Chicago just because they have some connection to Chicago isn’t a good basis for hiring a coach. Tommy Soehn got the DC job when he did, because he was the easy choice for them, and he knew the team, but that didn’t get him anywhere. We tried the same thing with Denis Hamlett, and that also failed for us. I really don’t see how he Soehn would have been a good choice for the team.
    Jesse Marsch doesn’t have any coaching experience. He might be shadowing his current coach and think he’s ready to take the plunge, but players who move into coaching positions rarely succeed. We can look at our own decision of hiring Chris Armas, which didn’t work out well at all. After two seasons in a row of losing in the semi-final match, we need to stop bringing people back to sweet home Chicago. de los Cobos is a coach who will bring in a new, attack minded, style of play that’s different from the boring style of most coaches that know the MLS. We need to win a championship and with de los Cobos we might actually be able to do it.

    Rant over. This probably makes no sense at all.

  5. Jeff

    Peter,

    Thanks for stating your opinions as everyone is entitled to believe what they want to believe: whether it is factual or based on faith.

    Factually speaking, you failed to address the de los Cobos situation fully. Since losing in the Eastern conference finals two years in a row, you forgot to mention that the Fire no longer have Blanco, Chris Rolfe, Gonzalo Segares, and lost Soumare midseason (Hamlett to his credit put Soumare in a spot where he will succeed but then later assaulted him so its a wash).

    The Fire are practically going into a rebuilding year when it comes to personnel. There is a huge difference between the roster Hamlett had (plus he worked with many of those guys for years) and what de Los Cobos is working with.

    Lastly, Kudos to Kamil for pointing out some interesting perspectives without hitting below the belt.

  6. Gitecmo

    “Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it.” – Could’ve said the same about starting up a top level soccer league in the US back in ’95. That didn’t stop you in ’97 from trying to help buck that trend.

    I appreciate you having criticism on the new hiring, but I read it as sour grapes just because we didn’t go with some ex-Fire player. Jesse would’ve been a bold hire, one that us fans and supporters could get behind and accept some learning curve. Soehn though? No way. Tommy had resources in DC and couldn’t produce MLS Championships. He’s Dave Sarachan(t) V. 2.0. One USOC, One SS but no league Championship and even more, disappointing results for a team with history.

    Sorry oracle of MISL and watering holes from all over SE WI and N. IL, you come across like a typical retread MLS suit (which ironically you’re not anymore). Maybe we should only ever hire MLS people and play musical chairs every couple years. Who’s getting Hamlett next?

    I’m giving Cobos more than just a “I think he’ll fail but I hope I’m wrong” support. That’s weak cheese Peter, weak Wisconsin cheese.

  7. Luke

    Arguably Poland’s best coach of the past 20 years, and current Poland NT Coach Franciszek Smuda, has held down 20 different coaching jobs in the past 25 years. He achieved hist first real success in 1996 at the age of 48. Cobos is 3 years older then Smuda was at the time, but Smuda had little to show for his first 13 years of coaching.

    Bill Belichick coached the Cleveland Browns to a 36–44 record in 4 years, the next time he got a job he started winning Super Bowls.

    This will be one of the first times that Cobos will have job security, and it will be the first time that he will have a team that has superior talent compared to the rest of the league, with the exception of maybe C.D. FAS. I think he did fine with FAS seeing he actually got to a championship game, which neither Osorio or Hamlett were able to do in MLS.

    I don’t fear the worst with Cobos, I don’t think he can be worse then Hamlett, few could have been, Hammie was simply godawful. I think we will have a better squad then we did in 2009, hence I expect a better record and more wins then either Hammie or Osorio managed to get, seeing that Cobos simply cannot be as inept as our last coach. I also don’t think MLS coaches are very good on the whole, so I expect Onalfo and others to ruin the teams they manage giving us another advantage.

  8. Peter Wilt Post author

    Where do i start….

    Kamil,

    This isn’t about me, but….i have had eight jobs longer than Carlos’ LONGEST club coaching tenure…and as far as comparing championships…..well… http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c278/peterwilt/Brandonstatandpetersrings.jpg

    Also, i did not say the ONLY reason to bring back Jesse or Tommy was due to their Chicago connections. i simply said that unlike an outsider, locals are more likely to put down roots and NOT use the job as a stepping stone after a year or two as has been Carlos’ track record. i certainly believe that Tommy and jesse have positive qualities for the position including a better knowledge of the League and the Fire. And Denis “failed” by advancing the team to within 45 minutes of MLS Cup in 2008 and a penalty kick away from the SuperLiga crown and a finalist spot in MLS Cup in 2009. Kamil, care to wager on Carlos’ surpassing Denis 2008 and 2009 achievements in 2010? If he doesn’t will you say he “failed”?

    Finally Kamil says: “…but players who move into coaching positions rarely succeed.” i say Piotr Nowak (MLS Champ in his 1st coaching assignment and 1st season as coach) and Jason Kreis (MLS Cup in his 1st assignment, 3rd year).

    To Gitecmo….But MLS DID NOT ignore history….in fact they studied it, learned from it and CHANGED the business model….and guess what? IT WORKED. In the Fire’s case, they IGNORED the history of foreign coach failure and repeated it…albeit with a CONCACAF coach and a situation that is different/better than many of the previous situations, so as i said, i HOPE he can succeed, but i think it will be a bigger challenge for him than it would’ve been for the other candidates.

    Tommy has an MLS Cup Championship, supporters shield and 2 open cup championships as an asst. Coach, an open cup and a supporters shield in only a few years as a head coach. Carlos has won one or two(?) Apertura or Clausura regular season championships in more than 20 attempts and no league Championships.

    You also say i “come across like a typical retread MLS suit”…yet the vast majority of fans support the hiring and i’m one of the few (only) people publicly being skeptical about the hire. i don’t know that someone who takes a stand alone can be described as “typical”. Maybe though, i understand that feeling and if that’s what you think of me, so be it.

    On one hand Gitecmo, you slam me for suggesting a “bold” move of hiring Jesse and then you turn around and say i’m guilty of playing the musical MLS chairs games with the same old retread coaches…which is it?

    and KT….yep, you GOT it!! ;-)

    GO FIRE!!!!

  9. Peter Wilt Post author

    Luke, u have some good points, but your refusal to accept that MLS coaches are better at their particular job/more successful than foreign coaches without previous MLS expeience is simply ignorant of the facts, anti-American or anti-MLS bias.

  10. Luke

    “your refusal to accept that MLS coaches are better at their particular job/more successful than foreign coaches without previous MLS expeience is simply ignorant of the facts, anti-American or anti-MLS bias.”

    I don’t have an anti-MLS or anti-American bias, so it must be my ignorance of thw facts :) I LOVE MLS.

    I think we have some very good coaches in MLS including Kreis, Sigi and Arena, but as is inevitable in many leagues, we have had plenty of coaches who were and are well below par, I think Denis was such a coach last year, and he was a foreign coach, as is Onalfo and as was Fernando Clavijo. I think foreign born Frank Yallop is an awful coach, but he won championships anyways! Granted I actually enjoyed KC on occasion, so Onalfo has room to grow, but I digress.

    Toronto FC would have made the playoffs last year if it had a decent coach, we probably would have missed the playoffs if Toronto made it in, hence my belief is we made the playoffs last year because of how bad the coaching was on some other squads. Remember those foreign coaches that failed are mostly MetroStar casualties, even Bob Bradley had a rough go at it in that cesspool. Cobos is an “out of the box” foreign hire.

  11. A. Ruiz

    You could have written a similar article about Cuahtemoc Blanco and Guillermo Barros Schelotto when they were 1st signed in 2007. That no flashy latino signing had ever succeeded in the US and that they would flounder.

    What happened? Well in GBS it’s summed up in “Veni vidi vici” and Blanco while not as good…..was closer than anyone else in MLS and never missed a pk unlike certain players on a certain team.

    . Anyway, let’s face it worse comes to worse and De Los Cobos makes Maradona look like Gus Hiddink…….well the Soehn’s and Marsch’s of MLS won’t be going anywhere. Then you can all say “I told you so”. I’m actually interested in what’s going to happen this year, how de los cobos will match up the league and what if anything will he do differently?

    it adds another storyline in what could otherwise be an average non-SS winning season.

  12. jokerman326

    “Tommy has an MLS Cup Championship, supporters shield and 2 open cup championships as an asst. Coach, an open cup and a supporters shield in only a few years as a head coach. Carlos has won one or two(?) Apertura or Clausura regular season championships in more than 20 attempts and no league Championships.”
    I know an unemployed former MLS assistant Coach who has 1 MLS Cup out of 3 Cup Final Appearances, 4 (count ‘em-4!!!) USOC trophies, and a Supporters’ Shield to boot. That’s better than Soehn. Let’s hire him. Dennis Hamlet is his name.
    It’s really not fair to compare how Hamlett failed twice with the roster he was given to whatever dlC can do with what he can have to work with next year. Bob Bradley would’ve added something to the trophy case with that roster, and, dare I say, so would have Dave Sarachan. But neither of them didn’t, and dlC won’t have that roster. I’ll also add that Soehn had a good roster, too.
    Considering the salary requirements of proven coaches, foreign and domestic, as well as who is available, I think the Fire made a good choice. Regardless of his resume and the roster he may have next season (good folks rumored to come), I’m willing to give him a year to learn the league. Obi-Wan Klopas can show him the way…

  13. Jeff H

    Too many people here are missing a key aspect of the “job hopping” concern — as another Jeff noted above, we’re going into a rebuilding year. It was important for the club to find a long-term coach to guide that effort. But if that coach knows he’s gonna leave in a year or two, he might make decisions that don’t help the club’s long-term success. Look at how Nowak is building Philly — lots of youth, clear long-range plans there. It’s a very legitimate concern about CdlC to note his tendency to move quickly because we need him to build the foundation of the club for the next decade, not just for the next two years.

    And for the record, our man Wilt didn’t leave Chicago — go read your history books (or a wiki page)…

    It’s also very important to dig into CdlC’s credentials. PW’s pointing out, rightly so, that all the talk is of WHERE CdlC’s been, not WHAT he did in those places. And quite frankly, I was surprised so many fans ate it up so quickly. That’s how much people disliked Hamlett — and that’s just moronic. Hamlett got a ridiculously unfair rap, and no credit for what he accomplished. Good defense takes good coaching — maintaining any kind of standing when your whole defense needs to be rebuilt mid-season is an unfair expectation of any coach, and yet Hamlett handled it — remember Blanco complaining that we were carrying too many defenders? I wonder how he felt at the end of the season when we were reduced to playing midfielders on the back line. Conversely, how much coaching do you think guys like Blanco and McBride really need?? And it was Soumare who attacked Pause, and Hamlett intervened — nobody blamed Carlesimo for Sprewell’s actions…The biggest complaint I heard over and over was that he played Rolfe out of position…but then those folks go right over to bigsoccer and talk about moving Landycakes back and forth between the SAME POSITIONS. If you’ve ever played the game, you know it’s not that drastic of a change, and if it affected Rolfe’s play, that is a weakness Rolfe had better work on.

    Hamlett’s biggest shortcoming may have been rapport with the players — if they decided they didn’t want to play with passion for him, then you have to let him go, but it doesn’t make it his fault and doesn’t condemn his coaching. But that’s also where Sohen and Marsch come in — those are guys who might have a better chance of commanding respect from the team, and that’s a large part of what you need from a coach. Marsch would be a more gutsy than I’m ready for — because we need more experience to rebuild the roster, and that’s a bit much, I think, for a guy at Marsch’s level. But, bring him in as an assistant…that’s be phenomenal for the team, the fans, everyone!

    In the end, I’m still hopeful — I’ve heard from some positive things from MFL fans, and I think CdlC’s history does carry some heft. But I’ve been hoping to see someone dig in and give his resume more stern scrutiny, and this was a very helpful read. Good stuff PW!

  14. Gitecmo

    Well, I must have hit a nerve with Saint Peter. Had to use CAPITAL LETTERS to get your point across. Your examples are still debatable. Yes MLS did business differently, sowhat makes you think the Fire FO won’t handle this hiring and this coach differently than before? You think Frank Klopas and company are just RBNY Midwest version 2.0? You’re assuming a lot, of course that’s what us fans do. And since you’re a fan like the rest of us, I guess we’ll just agree to disagree.

    I did say Jesse would’ve been bold, but didn’t say it would be a good choice, and at least Jesse would’ve been a fresh move, Tommy would not. Tommy’s been around and indeed won several trophies as an assistant, no MLS Cups as a the head guy though. Denis and Sarachan’t won several trophies as assistants, not as the head guy (sans one USOC like Soehn). I was excited about Osorio to be honest and loved the move, until he ended playing just like Dave (and ultimately Denis) playing defense to preserve the one goal lead early on or play for the point.

    Too bad none of those guys understood we couldn’t tie our way into MLS Cup. That probably surprised Denis in the Eastern Championship game, “Wait, what? It’s a tie, we should get the point and move on, right? I mean that’s why I took out Marco and Rolfe and put in Mapp who I knew wasn’t going to kick.” Brilliant!

    I gave Dave and Denis a chance and they both didn’t deliver ultimately. Did they field competitive teams, yes, good enough to ultimately win, no. Those are the facts, opposite of the facts you bring up about their accomplishments as assistants, but still the facts. I will support this coach and am generally excited we’re not going the usual route, we’ve done that before and I have faith we’re not Red Bull.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I think indoor soccer will fail again (for the “n”th time), but for your sake I “hope” it doesn’t so I can sing “I’m a Believer” too. How’s that for support?

    I liked you better when you were the jolly GM. Best of luck Peter.

  15. JLM

    The biggest problem with pooh-poohing the DLC hire is the matter of who you hire instead.

    Soehn is not an upgrade. I think this attitude holds up via the fact no one else hired him this offseason. Jesse would be a risk in a similar vein to DLC.

    Unless you’ve a better alternative, saying “he’s not the guy” really isn’t enough. He may not be the guy, but one has to hire a coach in the context they’re presented. We can’t jump back (or ahead) in time to hire Bob Bradley.

  16. WB05 Flanagan

    let’s judge him on whom he’s able to buy and what tactics he employs over something more than half-of-a-season, though many valid points are being made both for and against de los Cobos.

    As far as the player analogies, like will he be a Wnchope or a GBS, for example – who knows? I’m not sure that such analogies are actually helpful….They seem to stem from peripheral discussions/arguments that have been burning-to-raging for 2 years now.

    For me, this dichotomy of MLS-experience vs. no MLS experience is a touch limiting – as it is as much apart of our reality – we believe in it and some will point to the league’s youth to support such a belief, not that she/he would be wrong, either. That said, it seems we are talking about 2 different strains of experience – MLS experience vs. foreign experience. In the context of our domestic league, when the two aforementioned strains are juxtaposed, both would seem offer up shortcomings when one factors in player recruitment vs. squad restrictions and domestic vs. non-domestic cup play. It would be interesting to hear folks’ thought on such points.

    Also, how do we juxtapose de los Cobos with the even further beyond the MLS box hiring which has occured in New York?

    If the league is going to grow, when and how much do we scour outside of the temporal confines created by our collective youth – both national and regional? Why don’t we look more to the Irish league, for example – where the fiscal and physical squad restrictions surrounding the signings of players closely mirror those of MLS, and where there is also a wealth of excellent coaches and players now available? For those who don’t know, after myriad financial disasters during their past season, basically every top flight player in Ireland has been available on a free since season’s end….who knows how clean those bones are at this point….

    Also, I agree, Marsch as an assistant would be great, but it would seem, perhaps in 2 seasons time if Peter’s predictions are correct, that we’d just be setting ourselves up for the Hamlett scenario all over again. Would that be such a bad thing? I’m sure it makes at least some pretty nervy, and though I would sympathize, I wouldn’t necessarily count myself among those ranks.

    Also, the Fire, perhaps more than any other team, have continually looked inward rather than outward for coaching hires. We all know this, but it’s only fair that such a “bold” move be met with equal amounts of skepticism and excitement, trepidation and intrigue.

    Anyway.

    Had the reserve league not been canceled, I think the Fire’s season would have produced some piece of silverware – we just had too many injuries that were continually being filled by guys who hadn’t had the chance to play regular competitive soccer. Say what you like about them being professionals, but we all know how difficult this makes form-finding.

    That said, if he relly does want to play attacking soccer, here are the 3 areas I’m keen to see Klopas and de los Cobos working together to improve, and in the following order:

    1 – Goal scoring – we generally create decent amounts of scoring chances, but if we just had a goal machine….
    2 – Consistent creativity from center of midfield – fitness leads to form, which is to say that as good as Blanco was at times, for the amount of money we were shelling out, I think it’s fair to say he was never as consistent as he should’ve been, especially against weaker teams. His frees and corners always faded with his fitness level in any given match, as well.
    3 – Speed and talent simultaneously on display on both flanks, not just one.

    Anyway, I have my reservations and ambitions about de los Cobos’ hiring, but I’m forcing them to temper each other. I just think we need to judge what he does and not our opinions. Perhaps this is a moot point, perhaps I’m wrong altogether.

    Ethics not discarded, I just want us to win.

    Also, **Gitecmo** only when you come as close to committing a quarter of your life to accomplishing even a quarter of what Peter has accomplished in and for American soccer, and during much less soccer friendly timess, perhaps your cheap shots will carry something more than something less than even a half-ounce of credibility. And, yes, I apply the same thinking to my own opinions, as well.

  17. Jeff H

    “the Fire, perhaps more than any other team, have continually looked inward rather than outward for coaching hires”
    Bradley, Sarachan, Osorio, de los Cobos — external hires
    Hamlett — internal

    I think your three points are true — scoring is a sore spot, creation from the midfield, wing play. But the defense is also a significant issue. CJ is older, our 5th man Prideaux is gone, Segares is gone, is Conde’s status final yet? Defense has been a strong suit for the team, but needs a lot of rebuilding, and I don’t want to just trade fates and end up a team that loses a lot of 4-3 games instead of 1-0…

    We had plenty of speed and talent on the wings, but really lacked a true creative attacking center mid. So I’d put that topp on the list (now that the coaching decision is made), and that’s why I definitely agree that the hiring decisions are going to be a major factor in how we should judge him early on. We need someone with Blanco’s skill and intangibles, but a younger man’s fitness. And that’s going to be very very expensive. My biggest hope for CdlC is that he’ll have the connections to find someone like that — much in the way that Osorio brought us Conde.

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