Posada's exit raises questions

Julian Posada left the Fire yesterday after serving for a little more than 2 years as the fifth President* in club history.  Like John Guppy and Dave Greeley before him, Posada managed to remain in the post for a relatively short time.  Guppy, the man tasked with the unenviable position of following Peter Wilt assumed the title from April 2005 to April 2008 before being replaced by Greeley, who remained with the club from August 2008 to August 2010.  In September of 2010 Posada was introduced and immediately addressed his vision for the club while discussing the challenges inherent with the position.  His link to professional soccer and MLS was virtually non-existent at that time but it seemed that his established presence in local media and fresh approach may have been a good fit for a club desperately trying to make a name for itself in Chicago's competitive sports market.  Twenty-seven months later he's out with media and supporters advised via a "thank you" letter from owner Andrew Hauptman.

The form of the letter was a bit odd given that no official press release was issued to publicly advise the fan base of the departure of the team president but even more interesting was the declaration that no replacement would be named to assume that position.  Javier Leon, as President of Soccer Operations and Atul Khosla as Chief Operating Officer have assumed much of what typically would have been the President's duties over the last year or so and will apparently continue to do so making the title of club "President" essentially obsolete.  The issue here lies not within the title itself but with the assumption that someone acting as the face of the club while negotiating with both the corporate and public sectors (entities that provide vital support required to establish that name in a crowded Chicago market) isn't a necessity.

Posada, in his tenure as team President really didn't establish himself as a figure who could be relied on to publicly represent the club with media or supporters.  Perhaps that was by design allowing him to focus on matters behind the scenes that aren't typically apparent to the general public.  His public absence over the last two seasons was strange given his credentials in dealing with local media outlets in previous endeavors.  Whatever the reasons were are probably irrelevant at this point and it should be noted that there were several positive accomplishments during the two year Posada era.  As Hauptman's letter points out ticket sales are up and the Quaker sponsorship deal has been a huge success.  Toyota Park now has a Team Store and the Second Star Club, a feature that should have been incorporated into the design of the stadium initially is now a reality.  What's missing in all of this is a dependable, accessible, and forthcoming liaison to the club's most important asset.  Its fans.

Understanding that soccer is a different animal is step one.  Particularly in Chicago where the Fire are still an afterthought in the consciousness of the local sporting landscape.  It won't change overnight or even in two years but the lack of a clear public spokesman for the club on all matters relating to the business of soccer on and off the field should be a consideration for concern.  Frank Klopas, who has grown into the role as the face of Chicago soccer due to his association with the past and the present game in the City has given time graciously to both media and fans whenever he's been asked to make an appearance on local television and radio or rally support for a fan event.  As the head coach and an individual who also bears the partial responsibility of scouting and player procurement, one cannot expect Klopas to be able to address issues that he is not involved in.  This situation came to light this past summer when Klopas told reporters he couldn't comment on Sebastian Grazzini's contractual situation because he wasn't involved in the negotiations.  Klopas also can't be expected to address issues pertaining to television and radio broadcasts, tickets sales, and other important topics that a President would be able to address publicly.

By the same token, Javier Leon appears to be more involved in off-field issues and he was available to address the Grazzini situation but being based out of Los Angeles doesn't lend to easy access when the need to provide information to the people who are supporting the franchise arises.  Leon is knowledgeable and passionate about the league and the club but again, the lack of a Technical Director since Klopas took over the reigns behind the bench has necessitated more of his time being spent in the area of player personnel.  At some point he will need to be more accessible on an every day basis if he is going to assume some of the shared responsibilities that the vacated President's office would have encompassed.  Guillermo Petrei, who according to Leon handles contract negotiations with players and agents was never formally introduced to media and fans, let alone spoken publicly about anything is not in a position as Vice President of Soccer Operations to address the multitude of issues that arise during the course of a season.

Khosla, an executive member of the organization who was formally introduced via press release as a Senior Vice President would seem to be fit to address some of the non-football issues as Chief Operating Officer.  Will he be the voice heard when and if the networks, newspapers, etc. come calling for a sound byte pertaining to a story that demands some sort of response from an executive in the organization?  Is it possible that Hauptman himself will be more readily available during the course of the season to address that type of circumstance?  To his credit, he is approachable enough to fans and media alike when he is in Chicago and the annual town hall meeting at the beginning of each season gives supporters an opportunity to bombard him with questions in person but that rapport has to increase in order to gain the trust and confidence of the fan base.  The relationship with supporters is the fundamental difference between professional soccer clubs in MLS and the other professional sports organizations in America.  It's something that is difficult to understand from the outside looking in and the bond is compounded in multiples when factoring in the localism and pride that is inherent with supporting a team in Chicago.

The club's relationship with their most ardent supporters has been strained on more than one occasion since Wilt was dismissed in 2005.  Much of what goes into dealing with Section 8 Chicago from an organizational standpoint entails the logistics of helping a large, organized, and passionate group of fans maintain a level of excitement and crowd support in every match. It's a task that is specific only to soccer and isn't something that other sports executives in Chicago have to deal with.  Whether they realize it or not, the energy that Section 8 Chicago brings to every match is vitally important to the atmosphere and thrill of attending a game at Toyota Park.  Section 8 Chicago and their counterparts throughout MLS are part of the draw and the culture of the sport that is the driving force behind the growth of the game in this country and shouldn't be minimized when addressing a legitimate concern.  At this moment there appears to be an overriding opinion that the front office isn't doing enough to maintain and encourage contact with it's supporters from a top level despite an excellent rapport with game day operations and ticket service executives at the club.

The Fire can't afford to take the "you'll get nothing and like it" approach that the Bears and Cubs seem to take in thumbing their noses at fans while telling them that they'll run the club as they see fit and there's nothing you can do about it.  Those two franchises can afford arrogance when exhibiting that type of corporate behavior because, let's be honest they know fans will buy tickets regardless of how much they complain.  That being said, they don't have to pander to a vocal minority either.  The best example I can think of brings me back to the Blackhawks and the revised business model that brought the club back to life within the Chicago sporting community.  John McDonough and Rocky Wirtz are always available to speak to fans through media in order to promote all things Blackhawk related.  The effort needed from a soccer club's leadership should be ten fold given that the Fire need to work that much harder just to fill the seats, increase season ticket sales, and draw new interest.  That includes simple things like issuing a statement when someone like Mike Jeffries is let go.  There has still been no official mention of his departure although his name has finally been removed from the staff directory on the club's website.

The position of President may not be necessary at the moment from a corporate standpoint since Leon and Kholsa assumed those responsibilities some time ago but at some point there has to be someone in the organization willing to speak publicly not only to fans but to potential sponsors and partners as well.  That's not even mentioning the headache that dealing with Bridgeview has become at Toyota Park, somebody has to deal with that as well.  Maybe that person will eventually be Leon, Khosla, or even Hauptman himself.  I don't think it's out of line to suggest that the role of President (maybe not even by title) should ideally be filled by an individual who is familiar with not only the game itself but someone who is legitimately passionate about soccer in Chicago, the Fire organization, and it's duty to supporters.  That person should be someone who believes in the game and the club not only because they are being paid to do so but because they truly believe in the cause.

As Posada said in his opening introduction to local media in September of 2010, "You have to ask, what do fans want and deliver it."

 

 

*Bob Sanderman served as the club's first President from 1997-2000

Filed under: 2012 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • This is the best Fire-related article I've ever read, hands down. Effectively and succintly sums up much of what needs to change within the club. Great job Guillermo.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Thanks Jeff. There have been some strides made in the structural development of the club from the academy level on up and they have put together a competitive first team that is worth watching but there are areas that still need improvement.

  • With a total payroll of less than a journeyman infielder, do they really need all that management, especially when the league provides a lot of the framework? These guys can't all be full-time employees I wouldn't think.. just not enough dollars to support all this. And I wonder when the residents figure out how much they each owe in taxes for that stadium, if this ownership isn't going to find itself in an undesirable position financially.

  • @Bumsteer... Though there are many things you could put at the feet of Andrew Hauptman, one thing you cannot blame him for is the precarious situation the residents of Bridgeview finds themselves in. That blame rests solely on the shoulders of Mayor Steven Landek, who they ironically continue to elect.

    @Guillermo -- really great commentary. I feel like you summed up a lot of the very odd dealings the club has carried out with personnel recently. As someone that covers the team, in terms of the way the they've bungled these announcements (or lack thereof), do you think that its an Andrew problem or something that exists more from poor management in Chicago?

    In each case you listed, the folks being hired (or fired) were at very high levels which leads me to believe there is no way that Andrew could completely either wash his hands of this stuff or not know about what was going on. More I think about it, the fact that the bungled handling of personnel remains consistent across the board, over more than a few years, makes me believe that the decision to handle items this way comes directly from LA and isn't a local decision.

    You have obvious insight... what are your thoughts?

  • In reply to SamSmith:

    There have been some bad personnel decisions in terms of the product on the field but there have been some good ones too. That will happen with any club. I don't believe Andrew involves himself in the acquisition of player talent unless it's a big money investment. As the owner of the club he is the person ultimately responsible for executive hiring.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I was referring less to the player decisions and more to the personnel decisions in the FO...

    Not announcing the hiring of Petrei
    Not announcing the firing of Jeffries
    Putting out a letter instead of a press release to announce your President is gone...

    More or less what I'm asking is, in terms of news making or informing your fan base and media, it seems like they're trying to sweep these types of things under the rug. You say the owner is ultimately the one responsible for executive hiring but what about the way these very high profile FO announcements come out?

    Do you think he has a hand in dictating in the odd handling of high profile announcements?

    If not, didn't the Fire win the league PR award this year? Had no one been paying attention to these things?

  • In reply to SamSmith:

    I think PR and the type of executive communication we're discussing here are two separate things altogether. The Fire's PR department did a masterful job this season in presenting creative, fun, and innovative ways to promote the club. The promotions based around the Quaker sponsorship and other advertisements were very well done and they were recognized for it.

    I think you're answering your own question though. ;)

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    figured as much. what a cluster.

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    If I'm Andrew, the first thing I'm doing is knocking on Peter Wilt's front door and offering him his rightful position back. Peter's a man of the people and his name is beyond reproach in the Section 8 community.

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    Yeah except that he couldn't even invite him to rightfully stand on the field for C.J.'s Ring of Fire ceremony this year.

    What's more likely to happen: The Fire announce that Mike Jeffries no longer works for the club, Guillermo Petrei speaks to the media, Atul Khosla speaks to the media or Peter Wilt to ever be employed by the Fire under Andrew Hauptman?

    Most likely answer: none of the above.

  • In reply to Freddy Coba:

    That is something that would certainly make fans happy but unfortunately I think there's a better chance of the apocalypse happening tomorrow.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Gotta agree with you regarding a Wilt comeback. The culture of the club has changed significantly since he was let go and you might have to move mountains to get it to change back if he should return.

    I would love to see Wilt in charge again. We, as fans, could feel engaged with the club. I know I miss that from the early days of the Fire and the comments of other fans echo that sentiment also.

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    Excellent work as usual Guillermo. I've got a response to your statement: "At this moment there appears to be an overriding opinion that the front office isn't doing enough to maintain and encourage contact with it's supporters from a top level despite an excellent rapport with game day operations and ticket service executives at the club."

    Andrew Hauptman send me a personal email a few days after the playoff loss on Halloween, and it wasn't a form letter. He reads my blog and was quite gracious and appreciative of my support; not only as a season ticket holder, but also as someone (like you) who spends countless hours of his free time writing about and promoting the club. It doesn't get more "top level than that."

    Now, that said, I don't dispute nor disagree with your assertions here. I just want to share my experience so folks don't think that Hauptman simply doesn't care at all. The problem is though, no matter how genuine his sentiments are (especially those he shared with me personally), he's still an absentee owner, a man who has his hands in many things, and some of those things are much bigger and more valuable (right now) than an MLS franchise. Furthermore, he doesn't seem like the type of owner who will sign a "soccer guy" type executive to run the club (like Peter Wilt, for example) and then let go of the reigns and watch his asset grow in value.

    If the club truly needs a President, someone who has the characteristics and ability to perform the duties listed above, why don't you send Hauptman your resume?

    Guillermo for Fire president 2013! :)

    Cheers,

    Scott

  • In reply to ManOn TheFire:

    Ha!
    Thanks Scott....the point isn't about caring or reaching out individually like you describe but the club has to improve in it's general communication from a top level to the mass of the fan base. There has to be someone in the organization responsible and accountable for informing the people who support the club when the situation calls for it. Lack of response makes it look like they're hiding something or trying to sweep things under the rug. Whether that's the case or not, more often than not perception becomes reality. It sours supporters when there really isn't any need for it.

  • I think its safe to say Guillermo won't be getting a nice letter from Andrew anytime soon but that's because he's long been willing to criticize the missteps that Andrew and his cronies have been making.

    Its nice that Andrew would send you a letter Scott. While you say he's tied up in a lot more important things, I would counter and say the Fire are his way for people to know who the hell he is. Have you ever been to Andell's website? A visit to that barebone abode will remind you of the secretive and strange ways the Fire have been run under Andrew...

    I've had a few friends leave the Fire on their own accord in the last few years. They had plenty of positive things to say about the team but all made it a point to speak negatively about Andrew.

    It's great that you got a letter and I'm glad that you have a positive impression of him. I'll also say that you're newer on the Fire scene and I would just tell you that his actions over the years have driven opinion of him to the point its at now.

    Actions speak louder than words and anyone that's been to one of his town halls can tell you he gives you a lot of words and not much else.

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    In reply to seaside:

    Good points. Thing is though, Andrew's involved in a lot of for-profit and non-profit endeavors. He's a busy guy with his hands in, among other things, pro sports, education reform, film production, etc. Andell is a private equity firm with billions of dollars in assets. Hauptman manages Andell's portfolio. And the reality is Chicago Fire SC is merely a tiny, tiny piece of his larger pie.

    It's likely that this man doesn't want anyone to know too much. That's how private equity operates. I'm not making excuses for the guy, but it is what it is. And as far as my impression of him goes, it's neutral.

    I think we'd all agree that, despite these realities (and the fact that Chicago Fire SC isn't worth nearly as much as most of what Andell holds), Hauptman would be wise to hire a "soccer guy" type executive to be the face of the club and do the things that, as Guillermo has so keenly pointed out, are not being done.

    If effective, this person would help increase the value of Hauptman's asset. This, we can surmise with confidence, is certainly something he'd like to do for his bottom line. But honestly, I don't think the club is a priority for him because it's just not as valuable as his other assets.

    Because his asset (the club) is so inconsequential vis a vis his others, it's likely he simply views his ownership of an MLS club as a hobby of sorts. He talks a lot, but doesn't take action that fans want. Fine. But he doesn't have to. The only way he might change is if fans organize themselves and hit him where it hurts most - the balance sheet. Thing is though, outside of Section 8, there is no substantial fan organization. And even if the Section organized their own match boycotts, they're not big enough, nor influential enough (nor are their aggregate gate receipts relatively substantial enough) to keep other fans from attending games.

    Moreover, it's not like the club is at the bottom of the table, so outside of a handful of super fans like us, nobody really cares about the finer points. They just want to go watch some decent soccer and have a good time, and that's what they get right now at Toyota Park. Hauptman knows this. He's no dummy. So, business as usual continues.

    Finally, even if Chicago Fire SC became insolvent and ceased to exist, such an event would barely put a dent in Andell's portfolio. So, we can bitch and moan all we want about Andrew Hauptman. But in the end, we may want to save our breath unless we're willing to change our complaints into demands. Remember what Frederick Douglass said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will."

    Cheers,

    Scott

  • ...sorry got cut off...

    The fact that nearly all the positive positive things you hear about Andrew usually come on the Fire website or in interviews from people that are in direct contact with him (folks that he can fire on a moment's notice) make me believe that the feelings that people espouse about him aren't too far off.

    This is the guy after all who changed the rules to the Ring of Fire after two deceased fans were voted in and their families notified. The guy that refused to be on the field for C.J. Brown's ceremony and at the same time refused to let a Ring of Fire member in attendance at the stadium take his rightful place on the field.

    He's shown plenty of examples of heartlessness as it relates to this club. Respect is earned and he has none in my book.

  • In reply to seaside:

    Seaside,
    Andrew has always been cordial and accessible when I have asked to speak to him. I can't speak on any opinions held by former employees because I havent had those conversations. The point I wanted to get across revolved around providing better communication from the top in order to maintain interest and allow supporters to feel that their emotional and financial investments are appreciated by providing an open public dialogue about things that could negatively influence the perception of the club.
    We all want to see the Fire and soccer occupy the sports pages in Chicago like the big boys do (Bears, Cubs, Bulls, etc) and part of that involves holding them to the same standard of coverage and scrutiny that those teams currently face. The club has done a lot of things right during his ownership tenure but there's nothing wrong with expecting more as a fan base.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I would expect Andrew is cordial with all media in person.

    I just think its the backroom, behind closed doors style of dealing with a number of different high profile issues emanates from him.

    All I'm saying is that it seems apparent that the status quo at the Fire will never change as long as he's the owner because through his own actions he has shown he doesn't care about traditions of the club, the way fans feel about issues or as you pointed out here, informing fans and media the proper way about something as big as the President no longer working there.

    This is his toy and he'll go about it the way he wants.

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    In reply to seaside:

    Bang. Your last sentence encapsulates it all.

  • In reply to seaside:

    I agree with every word above. The level of pettiness displayed by Hauptman over Wilt and others signifies a massive ego and considerable insecurities. I am sure he has made a profit on the Fire already as the value of MLS franchises has risen way beyond his purchase price. Now if only he would sell. I had to smile at the reference to Hauptman's hedge fund being involved with "education reform" rather than privatizing public education dollars for his fund's benefit.

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    I can honestly say, I spent more on the Fire from years 2000-2005 than I have from 2006-Present. In fact, the last 2-3 years, I have almost completely lost interest. And I was HARDCORE in every sense. Couldn't afford season tickets but attended over half the games anyway because I couldn't afford to pay it all in one big chunk. Hung Nowak, Razov, Wolff, Blanco, Mapp (?LOL?), McBride and Rolfe jerseys in my closet. Might as well eBay them to the few Fire fans left out there before there is no more market for them.

    Just really really disappointed lately. And halfway out the door, but for some reason, I love to be miserable with the folks here.

  • In reply to waam:

    They've got a pretty entertaining team on the field (last month of the season not withstanding).....should be entertaining enough to bring you back. ;)

  • In reply to waam:

    Waam, I think Guillermo can tell you that if you have a "Flag Jersey" you're looking to move look no farther than your friend c0quito18! Andrew would win me back if the second or third shirt next season is sky blue with four red, six-pointed stars across the chest!

    Great article, Guille! Here's hoping the FO surprises us this offseaon. I'm not holding my breathe but maybe Grazzini will be donning one of those flag shirts come March!

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    ...Or better yet, DROGBA!!! :)

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    I'm not eating scarves but I wouldn't hold my breath on either one of those.

  • I second Guillermo Rivera for Mr. Presidente! :-)

    I sure miss Peter Wilt! What a fun and energetic guy who loves soccer and interacts so well with the fan base!

    It's sad to see how great this franchise started in 1998 winning the MLS Cup and Open Cup as an expansion team and had a rock solid leader both on the field and behind the scenes!

    We had some good moments this past year even after Grazzini and Pappa left us but really fell flat on our faces on the home stretch of the season and then super playoff team the Houston Dynamo like the NY Giants of the NFL, and Miami Heat of the NBA just ate us up and other teams being the playoff monsters they are!

  • In reply to smiley:

    No can do - Who would write Fire Confidential then?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    *raises hand*

    I would have a pretty good inside source. Allegedly. :)

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    I know, I'm always eating crow on my threats to leave. lol. Sorry guys, you know me. I'm just emotional. I'm a little spoiled you know, I became a Fire fan even BEFORE we had a team. Once I knew Chicago was being awarded an MLS club, I was already super excited. Knowing that they were going to pick up Klopas was nostalgic, and honoring the community by shipping Polish national hero's in made things sincere and meaningful. However, all of that said, I am more upset these days because we had it all. Chicago was supposed to not be like all our other teams, and meddle with mediocrity. We started with a two championships MLS Cup and USOC and won that cup again and again, and went to another final we should have won. Broken hearted all the way back from DC on that one. Didn't know that was the end of it because of suicidal management decisions. I wish we we're the stepchild of AEG and was more of something they wanted. Too bad. Here we are now. In the FAN's defense of the current owner. If he has his hands in too many things right now, and is an off hands kind of owner and not focused on Chicago. We do not want him here. If this is an investment for him? We do not want this owner. We want an owner who is Fire first. Forgive me, but I would rather have an owner like Mark Cuban over a disinterested owner anyday. There is no passion from the owner it seems, and I just can't have that. Thats why we always have this painful talk about leaving etc etc... and for a while there I really did. For a few years. But dang it, I just like to get beat up I guess.

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    In reply to waam:

    I totally understand and respect your sentiments. But, all that said, Andrew Hauptman is the owner. It doesn't matter if you, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't "want" him. Chicago Fire SC is his asset. So until supporters and season ticket holders get organized to either:

    1) Hit him hard where it hurts most by boycotting games, or
    2) Find an interested buyer or group of buyers to make Hauptman an offer he can't refuse, or
    3) Organize themselves to buy Hauptman out via a private sale in which the club would owned by a multitude of private shareholders,

    nothing will change.

    But, that said, it's not like Chicago Fire SC is not a competitive, somewhat entertaining team. Plus, the club's got great ticket sales, marketing, and communications personnel. While we all would like a return to the glory days, let's be honest: things could be a lot worse.

  • Guillermo
    I keep up with the comments and do enjoy your writings. You are very talented. As I read the various opinions about the fire one thought keeps coming back to me. Most of the talent that the fire depends on are either too old or rejects from other leagues. We do have a young struggling goalie and a young man playing left fulback but the excitement of developing US players that regularly appeared on the national team have been over for years. The reality is that the fire made a late season surge but failed in the final couple of games and showed that team coaching and youthful talent is just not there. I would love to see Peter wilt back but that is not going to happen . I personally like the fact that I can go to a local stadium and view that game that I have enjoyed my entire 64 years. The reality is that with the current team a year older and with the current management team the best that we can probably hope for is squeaking into a playoff spot and petering out as the team did this year. The team desperately needs a center midfielder such as grazzini but for some reason nothing is being done to bolster that need.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Thanks Broker, I think you're short selling them a bit though. They're not an MLS Cup team but they're an entertaining squad.

  • I have to correct myself the young man that does have some talent and is fun to watch the center fulback Barry. I hope that Kinney can return as he did show some talent

  • I find Patrick Nyarko one of the more entertaining and underrated players in the league... Always class on the ball and his shooting is getting better... While he's no longer a spring chicken, Chris Rolfe is also fantastic to watch as well.

    Look around the league though. Very few teams are chock full of big-time contributors to the national team because the dynamic isn't the same as it was from 1998-2005 or so... There were less teams then and now a lot more Americans are playing in Europe (more now than every before). Look at the makeup of our national team... how many big contributors are MLS guys? Very few.

    You can't hang the Fire for that... They potentially have at least two players that could one day be big national team contributors in Johnson and Berry... that's a lot better than a number of the other teams in MLS.

    Also its worth realizing that while Bob, Peter and the rest of the guys built and utilized some amazing talent in the early days, there will be few teams in MLS that ever compare to the talent-stacked squads the Fire had in their first five or six seasons... All three teams that made it to the MLS Cup, plus the 2001 team were absolutely incredibly talent wise... While those guys deserve a lot of credit, some of it has to be conjured down to luck as well.

  • In reply to seaside:

    Yep...there were some pretty good squads back in the day but that was probably a product of simply having less teams in the league. Points are spot on.

  • Seaside
    I don't think that the fire know how to run a team. Javier has absolutely no idea what he is doing and Frank is still being out coached in important games. There is a saying in soccer that a team shows it real self in the final games. What does that say for the current team. Personally I like to see what the union are doing. They have a tremendous young US forward Mcyintre that looks like someone to follow. Combine that with a number of teams mocking for improvement and we should have a pretty good season. Unfortunately if the fire stays where they are and just add a few hopefullls from SA we should be solidly on the edge of making the playoffs. Question can pardo get any slower ?

  • I agree with you that Javier Leon is a moron and so is Petrei. I think Klopas is learning the trade of being a head coach and improving.

    Philly was a very young team, especially towards the end of the season. They're now making moves to get better like bringing Le Toux and seeing if Conor Casey has anything left to provide.

    On paper though I still think the Fire are better.

    I don't think the team needs to go through wholesale changes to improve but I do think one or two more would be nice. Just because moves haven't happened at the pace we'd all like doesn't mean they won't. January is typically when a lot more action happens for the Fire so maybe its all down to being patient.

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