*So, apparently the deadline for roster cuts was not yesterday. Turns out the Fire's press release was wrong and now I have a little bit of egg on my face **(EDIT -- the Fire's release was not wrong. The league changed the deadline at the last minute.)** Not the first time that's happened...*
> "I think [de los Cobos] has been great. I knew from the first time I met Carlos the kind of person that he was. I knew about his work and I know there was no question about what he can do on the field with a team... He's first class all around."
> -Frank Klopas, February 8th
> "He's a soccer savvy guy. He knows what he wants and he has a plan and I think that's an advantage for him and for us. He's trying to find the right guys in the right positions to conquer that plan and I think hes doing a pretty good job. So far, it's been all positive."
> -Corben Bone, February 24
About a week ago, my friend Jack decided to invent something called Mustache March. He went around asking everyone he knew (including girls... Jack's kinda goofy) if they would be down to participate in this "most glorious of months" and not shave their mustache for the duration. It was an easy decision for me to join, mostly because I have absolutely horrible facial hair and wanted to see just how crusty any mustache I grew would look. Well I'm a week in (yeah I started early, the baby-face isn't doing me any favors in this competition) and the early results are fantastic. I'm super crusty right now. And I have to say, I kind of love it.
But as much as I'm impressed by the general awfulness of my mustache, I've been more dazzled by the early returns of Carlos de los Cobos's young career as the Fire's head coach. Granted, there's still a ton of uncertainty surrounding de los Cobos. For one thing, he hasn't been tested at all as the Fire's manager. And we've yet to find out if that attacking soccer we've been hearing about all offseason is actually being implemented. However, everything we do know about de los Cobos's short tenure has been positive. He's getting along well with players. He's saying all the right things. He's giving everyone an opportunity to prove themselves in friendly matches. And he's learning English (which, by the way, is awesome for interviews. Keep plugging away at that Rosetta Stone Carlos!).
Most importantly, de los Cobos has shown a willingness to shake things up. He clearly thought that the kick the ball over everyone's head and have McBride win a header/watch Blanco dribble and shoot from distance strategies weren't the best recipes for winning, and he changed them. Can we expect him to change his current mindset if his tactics prove to not work? That remains to be seen, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect otherwise.
So, to say that things are looking good for DLC and the Fire next year isn't too big of a stretch. Technical Director Frank Klopas has put together a good roster for him to work with and now it's up to him to mold a working, breathing, living thing out of it. He has the ability to impress his tactics on it. He has the ability to adjust the locker room mood. He has the ability to prepare the Fire for a run at the increasingly elusive MLS championship. It's now just a matter of how successful he'll be with the implementation. Suffice it say, I think we're all excited to find out.
I've been informed that Fred Huebner, who handled the play-by-play duties for My50's Fire broadcasts for the last three seasons, won't be returning to the booth as play-by-play man in 2010.
On another note, both Marco Pappa and Julio Martinez have received national team call-ups for Wednesday's friendly between Guatemala and El Salvador at the L.A. Coliseum. Pappa will represent Guatemala and Martinez will don the El Salvador uni.