An offseason assessment

Carlos de los Cobos, Corben Bone, Frank Klopas

With only one day left until the Fire officially kicks off its preseason schedule, the time has come for an assessment of the Fire's offseason. And who better to evaluate the last few months than the man behind all the moves, Frank Klopas? Take it away Frank...

"I think that we made very good decisions going forward," Klopas said in a phone interview last Friday. "We hired a very experienced coach that I think has... the right mindset. We're bringing in a soccer fitness coach that has tremendous experience and can help the players a lot this season with performance and speed." "We've worked hard. We've taken scouting trips, we've looked through the college teams to get prepared for the draft. Right now we feel good, let's just hope it continues and works out in the end."

As I've said before, I have really liked most of what Klopas has done this offseason. Everything from bringing in Carlos de los Cobos as the new head coach to going abroad and signing Krzysztof Krol and Julio Martinez to provide depth to the squad has seemingly been done with deliberation and what will hopefully turn out to be good foresight.

I don't want to beat a dead horse time and time again here, so I'll keep this entry short, but I think it suffices to say that I think Klopas has done a nice job this offseason. Back in November, I thought 2010 would be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Fire. But the moves made by Klopas, Javier Leon and the rest of the Fire's front office staff have changed my perspective. It's now clear that 2010 won't be a rebuilding year for Chicago. My change of attitude is a pretty clear indicator that I think this offseason has gone well for the Fire. Let's see if they can keep the ball rolling...

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  • We need to be in the Champions League next season. If not, its another wasted season. We once again have the strongest, deepest roster in MLS and need trophies to prove it. Supporters Shield should be our main objective this year. It would be nice to see us take the US Open cup a little more serious than we have in the past.

  • And the Brimstone Cup. It's embarrasing that we can't wrest that thing from Dallas.

  • I say US Open cup, Superliga cup, and supporters shield, anything less will be again disappointing. Sam can you see if you can get Frank to hint on when he plans to make a decesion on DP?

  • In reply to Adam25:

    I can try. Personally I'm not sure if there's anything coming in that regard though.

  • In reply to Adam25:

    Any update in the Collins John situation? I think a lot is at stake with that signing. If we can make it, we have a young forward who works well alongside the experienced forward Brian McBride we have next to him, plus Martinez in there and Nyarko backing them up. Then we have a good midfield from last year, including Thor and Pappa, who has a decent defense behind them with the new acquisition of Krol, alongside Conde and CJ Brown. Fantastic job, Mr. Klopas. Jerry Angelo should take lessons from you. As for the Cup situation, the most important titles are in order:
    1. MLS Cup, obviously
    2. Supporters Shield, we need to finally get in on the Champions League and show we can dominate all season with the strong team we have assembled
    3. MLS Open Cup, we need to go out and take this cup, we should be able to beat USL teams and do the double with the MLS Cup
    4. Superliga, definitely takes a backseat to the others, but we were so close last year and taking a sweep with all 4. not likely, but would be nice.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    I would rather have the Supporters Shield than the MLS Cup.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Nah, the Cup is much more important. Ask Klopas, ask anyone which they would rather have. Is Columbus happy that they won the Shield but lost to RSL? No, but RSL doesn't care aabout the Shield since they have the Cup. Both would be tremendous.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I would rather be the best team for the whole season than win 3 games in a row. I'm sure Columbus isn't happy they lost to Salt Lake but I know they are happy they won the Supporters Shield.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    These are Trophies in order of Importance:

    1. MLS Cup
    2. US Open Cup
    3. Supporters Shield

    Everything else is fluff. Well, maybe not the CONCACAF, but thats how I see it, and many would argue for or against that order of 2 and 3.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    We want this league to feel more European right? Majority don't want the American style playoffs in soccer in the states right? I think there is not enough credit given to the Supporters Shield. We can't say we want to be like the other leagues around the world and then say that the biggest trophy we have is from an 8 team playoff. Just imagine how better the regular season games would be if they actually mattered to teams. Nobody seems to care about the regular season. All you need is good form for a 6 weeks and you are basically in the playoffs. I mean HALF of the teams in the league get in. Salt Lake had a losing record for the season. So that means that the best team in this league couldn't win half of the games they played in.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I think you're wrong. More people care about the playoffs and the MLS Cup than the Supporters Shield. The hard core fans that call for the single table and relegation will always be a small (but important) segment of the MLS fan base.
    I may be in the minority but I don't think having a European feel is what makes for a successful league. Few Americans have a fantasy about experiencing European-style competitions in their own country. A successful American soccer league is one that can be embraced by fans of multiple sports. And there is a definite model for sports leagues in this country that makes sense to sports fans and, like it or not, it has conferences, divisions, playoffs and championship games. This does not diminish the appeal of the games one bit. I think the Big 10 and the Ivy League were the last NCAA hoops leagues to give up on the single table. They were bucking the trend and caved in.

  • In reply to oliotya:

    I think there should be a single table, but no relegation. That will never happen in America. Do you really feel like the season opener has any affect on who makes the playoffs or not? When a team that has a losing record, 11-12-7, and sneaks into the playoffs and wins it all, they are the best team in the league? There was 15 teams last year and 8 teams make the playoffs. That doesn't seem right to me.

    I am interested in how everyone feels about this topic, Supporters Shield or MLS Cup? Which one would you rather the Fire got?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agreed, Supporters Shield = Losing MLS Cup Final. Both get you into the Chanps League but mean your season disappointed in the end.

    Different country, different rules, get over it.

  • In reply to NaperSteve:

    So you think the season would be a disappointment if we had the best record for 30 games but not if we had a losing record and then won an 8 team playoff at the end of the season? I would rather be the best team during the regular season but then again that is my opinion.

  • In reply to NaperSteve:

    Either the entire pro sports structure in the US will go to the European model or a professional soccer league will set itself up as something that makes sense to the majority of people in this country. If soccer wants to move past the minority/exotic status it now occupies, it has to adapt to the land it is colonizing. Otherwise it will always be a niche sport relegated to the agate type and a few patronizing comments from the sports media establishment. Some are fine with that. Some prefer that just like indy rock fans hate it when "their" band becomes a big seller. I want soccer to be king. I want the best players to see this as a place where they can earn a living in the prime of their careers. I want the US league to be the focus of soccer fans rather than the barnstorming tours of European and Latin American clubs and national squads. I even want to hear announcers use words like "cleats" and "field" rather than the British terms. I want to see 90% of the people at a US-Honduras WC qualifying game be there to support the Yanks.

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