OTF Roundtable: Red Thursday

While Fire nation was patiently waiting for Nelson Rodriguez’s Thanksgiving announcement of their new coach, they went ahead and axed a lot of people.  Like… a lot of people.

CHICAGO (November 19, 2015) — Chicago Fire Soccer Club today announced changes to the soccer staff, parting ways with Goalkeeping Coach Aron Hyde, Strength and Conditioning Coach Adrian Lamb and Head of Scouting Trevor James.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but was ultimately necessary as part of advancing our soccer operations,” said Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodríguez.  “We offer our best wishes for all of their respective future professional endeavors.”

In addition to the coaching staff changes, support staff members Ron Stern, Charles Raycroft and Allan Araujo were relieved of their duties.

Here’s what OTF contributors had to say about it…

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Nowhere to Go But Up


(courtesy Sean King on Fire Confidential)

MLS designated the final round of matches in the 2015 regular season as Decision Day. Some playoff spots were still up for grabs and Sunday’s results finally resolved postseason matchups. For the New York Red Bulls, Decision Day was a two-pronged battle: they would face the Chicago Fire on the field, and they were vying for the Supporters Shield with Western Conference leaders FC Dallas. The Fire, already locked in as the very bottom team in MLS, could only spoil the party for the Red Bulls.

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Who is the Next Chicago Fire Coach?


Does Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez’s upcoming coaching decision dwarf the rest on the organization’s needs?

New Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez speaks to the press for the first time officially this Sunday. Media speculates that a great deal of this conversation revolves around choosing a coach for the 2015 season.

It’s a decision which Rodriguez has stated he wants made by Thanksgiving, so the clock is ticking.

With a lot of rumors floating around, and with Rodriguez’s own United States Soccer Federation history fueling the guesses, the OTF writers pool took some guesses on who the next Fire coach might be…
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Fire Clinch MLS Basement

(via Washington Post)

(Courtesy Washington Post)

While presiding over one of the worst teams in the history of Major League Baseball, manager Casey Stengel asked, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” It would have been an apt to question to ask of the Chicago Fire’s performance on Sunday versus DC United. DC controlled the match from the outset and then pounded home three goals in rapid succession in the second half to complete the packaging on a 4:0 laugher. The result assures that the Fire will finish 2015 as the worst team in Major League Soccer.

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Improving the US National Team: Homecooking and Patience


Courtesy: MLSSoccer.com

US National Team Coach and Technical Director Jurgen Klinsmann has taken on the role of punching bag since July. It has been the rockiest stretch of his tenure so far, following a fourth-place finish in the 2015 CONACAF Gold Cup, a crucial loss to Honduras by the U-23s in Olympic soccer qualifying, and then last Saturday’s defeat to Mexico for a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup. One of Klinsmann’s former players, Landon Donovan, suggested that this degree of failure would cost a coach his job in another country.
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Does Klinsman Have Anything to Do With the USMNT Loss to Mexico?

United States’ Fabian Johnson (23) is challenged by Mexico’s Oribe Peralta during the CONCACAF Cup match (via BostonHerald.com)

 Fabian Johnson challenged by Oribe Peralta during USMNT vs Mexico match Saturday (via BostonHerald.com)

After the U.S. did not make the Gold Cup final earlier this year, it was clear that Jurgen Klinsman had been given a longer leash than previous National Team coaches like Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena. Now, after the US loss to Mexico on Saturday night and their match against Costa Rica tonight, we ask the OTF Staff: What changes (if any) need to be made to improve the United States Men’s National Team?
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The Kids Are Alright: The Chicago Fire are the New Cubs

Chicago Fire SOccer Goal Celebration

(via USA Today)

After what was a pretty successful league run for the first decade or so of their existence, Chicago’s still-young franchise had begun to stall.

It was a new century and there was a clear need for change. The owner ousted their manager (a beloved former player) and the vacuum that remained caused an even further dip in performance. Supporters, still loyal to the club and sympathetic to its young local players, gave the team some nicknames: “The Remnants,” and “The Orphans” were two of the more popular ones, but the one that caught on… in 1900’s … was “The Cubs.”

The name stuck.

As the first pitch for your 2015 National League Wildcard Cubs nears, let’s go ahead and place that Loveable Losers crown on the new not-so-great team with young talent and plenty of hustle — the Chicago Fire.

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