Rodriguez talks 2016 and beyond

Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez addressed local media this morning and fielded a variety of questions about the club. The disappointment of finishing at the bottom of the table in 2016 and the direction of the Fire going forward were the main topics of conversation.

The full video recording of the proceedings can be found in the link above.

Here's a recap of the topics:

  • Rodriguez recaps the let down of 2016 and looks ahead to 2017 (1:00)
  • What has changed since last season (8:00)
  • Possible roster changes (9:30)
  • Mistakes made (16:30)
  • Improvements needed by coaching staff (17:30)
  • What could the staff have done differently in 2016 (20:00)
  • The difference between 2016 and 2017 (22:45)
  • The first five games of next year are critical (25:00)
  • Homegrown player struggles (26:00)
  • Struggles of a young team vs quality (27:00)
  • On the "core" players on the roster (28:00)
  • Improving defense and goals allowed (32:00)
  • Staff changes due to results (33:00)
  • Ownership disappointment (35:00)
  • Trusting the plan (40:00)
  • Guaranteed contracts and David Accam's contract (42:00)
  • Midseason acquisitions (43:00)
  • Is the plan on schedule? (45:30)
  • Academy turnover (48:00)
  • Sean Johnson's status (50:30)
  • Getting deals done (52:30)
  • Scouting process and lost deals (54:00)
  • Improving academy and first team training facilities (55:00)
  • Off season scouting plans (58:30)
  • Offseason loans and Collin Fernandez (1:00)
  • More on Sean Johnson (1:02)
  • Recruiting players and winning now (1:03)
  • Signing big name players this winter (1:06)

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Anything worth a listen, or just sweet talk?

  • I'm really trying to get through the presser but N-Rod is starting to make me nauseous. He sounds like a guy who majored in how to come up with BS on the spot in college.

  • Guys
    I have finally come to the realization of why the Fire are so bad their GM is absolutely crazy. I have never heard a more incompetent manager of a professional team am in my life. What in the earth is he talking about when he states that the team is better on a linear basis. If coming in dead last and having the worst coach in the league is part of his 3 year plan then I guess he is doing a good job. If he was working for me and had these kind of results he would be be on the bus returning back to New York. Guillermo has he moved his family to Chicago?

  • Sad. Just sad.

  • Several things to note after NR media roundtable
    1- I appreciate the non-biased coverage during these tough years for the fire faithful.
    2- I wish he was the person writing papers for me in college when I had to write a 5000 word essay and I was stuck at 3500...He speaks around in circles without getting anywhere. Whether you agree or not, he treats the media like they are not intelligent enough to understand his "3 year plan."
    3-He talks about accountability but states that every roster move he made was extremely beneficial to the club...Shipp move? Nyarko? David Arshakyan is average at best? ect. ect. ect. Also, Pauno absolutly made an incredibly revealing decision early in the year that may have cost them some results when starting Lampson over Johnson. Johnson was a National level GK, and he came in and took the momentum/confidence from him away. He has had enough of us in Chicago and will more than likely go to ATL.
    4-During a lost season why not try to give time to the younger players like Doody, conner, fernandez....develop, develop, develop! Teams in the MLS are not built through the MLS draft, they are built by homegrown talent and acquisitions.
    5-Why the reset on the academy when it was one of the best in the country? Why let larry sunderland/others leave the fire? Big mistake. And they brought in an international coach to run the academy who knows nothing about the chicagoland area to recruit the best talent to the fire. News flash, the chicago magic/sockers are going to take talent away from the fire academy due to the fact that they do not have a trusted local name to bring into that academy.

    Bottom line to me... In a year where more answers had to come than questions....We are left with more questions from this past year. I was in attendance in 2009 where Toyota Park had a sellout in the eastern conference finals vs Real Salt Lake where we lost a heartbreaker in pks. More likely than not, in a years time we will be replacing both a new GM and manager.

  • In reply to Winmar:

    A lot of valid questions that many fans are asking in there. The answer right now is apparently more patience and faith.

  • Concur on the Academy.. a real missed opportunity there with coaches that were on the payroll.

    This ship has a broken rudder. 3 years later and they'll still be circling aimlessly at sea. They really could use a development partnership with a European Club.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    "They really could use a development partnership with a European Club."
    For whatever reason, we never take long-term advantage of our international partnerships. For example, we supposedly have a partnership with Atleti (Madrid). For a couple years we sent players there in the winter for a week or two of training. Then that dried up and that was that. No coaching exchange, no friendly matches, no meeting with the other teams in the alliance (which included teams from Brazil, Africa, and Asia). Disappointing.

  • In reply to Fuegofan:

    Exactly what I thought, too. And that partnership was allegedly one that included 4-5 teams, including one in Mexico. Haven't heard anything about that recently.

  • In reply to Modibo:


  • In reply to Modibo:

    That partnership really doesn't exist anymore...they were paying to be part of that club and weren't seeing much return.

  • The thing that really bothers me about both Pauno and Nelson is that they never speak harshly of the players. They treat them like little high school kids whose feelings might get hurt. These players are very poor. When I was playing, I always valued a player that worked hard. I understand that that is important in a player. I also realized that you are very rarely going to be successful if your team has 11 players that work hard and zero players that are any good. Every time Pauno or Nelson talk, I want to knock some sense into them. Not once did either of these two men lay into the players. Why have these players never been called out publicly this season? How can a club never win back to back games in a 34 game season? The only players that I would be bummed if the didn't return next year would be Kapplehof, Polster, and Johnson. Everyone else can leave my club.

    And if Pauno puts Kapplehof at RB next season, he should be sent on the first plane to anywhere.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Polster always makes 50 yard sprints to recover. He leaves everything on the field.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Its never been a good strategy by a coach to criticize players in the media. It then becomes a war of words that the sports writers enjoy but does perpetuate anything good in the clubhouse. Did that strategy work well with Soumare and Conde?

  • In reply to FrontRow:

    It sure hasn't worked well babying them like both Yallop and Pauno have been doing. We can't keep doing and saying the same thing every game and every year and expect change. These players are terrible. They are the worst team in this league. They have not won 2 games in a row this year. They have won 1 game on the road in over two calendar years. They are the first team in the history of MLS to finish dead last two years in a row. We have won 15 games in 68 tries. I dont care if calling out the players didnt work for two players many years ago. I would have more respect for Pauno if he didnt continue to spread his BS about "forging an identity." He is a pawn for this franchise. He is not good enough and it is very clear. This team HE created is hot garbage. We have a full roster and possibly 4 players that are good enough for it. We have maybe 4 players that could go and be on teams that are in the playoffs right now. They wouldnt be starters, but they would be on the teams. They are our BEST players. They need to be told that they are not good enough when they are not good enough. Instead, they are praised because they "try hard." I have had enough of that BS. Trying hard is for traveling soccer. Nothing from this season was a success. We have not learned a damn thing from this season. We need a new EVERYTHING this off season. Would we be any worse if literally every player was replaced?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agree to an extent..

    Players of quality who could start with average MLS teams: Accam, SJ, de leeuw, and possibly polster

    Players to provide depth/development: Brandon Vincent, kappelhof, Arturo Alvarez,
    Players to early to judge:doody, Conner, Fernandez, calistri,

    Everyone else: not good enough for an MLS roster for the most part.
    And I do not think Pauno is a good fit for Chicago. He does not understand the landscape of MLS soccer which is a completely different style than European futbol. But he can't be blamed for the roster. NR and AH must be blamed for the roster because they are the GM/owner.

    We give the Cleveland Browns a run for their money at most depressing franchise. (Current)... I hope that changes in the years to come.
    Side note- how much should we appreciate a smash mouth back line with the likes of CJ Brown, Conde. A creative midfield with BLANCO, Pappa, mapp, pause, husidic, nyarko. And strikers like mcbride, Rolfe, ect. Fire only have 3-4 pieces to a full 11.

  • In reply to Winmar:

    I think kappelhof could start at CB for most teams in the league. Most MLS teams are weak at CB

  • In reply to Winmar:

    Well its all academic since AH isnt going to fix anything, but..I would sack them all except Polster.
    1.) Accam= one trick pony. 9 goals a season isnt the go to guy. He could play elsewhere in MLS but would be on the wing and be expected to use his speed to penetrate the flank and distribute to forwards rather than do what he does here, dont know if he is capable of that.
    2.) De Leeuw= flashes of brilliance, stretches of disappearance. Need a solid 90 out of him, havent seen it yet
    3.) SJ= I have commented before about my thoughts on him. When he goes to ATL and we play them, as long as we dont attempt any point blank tries we should be able to score , then we can watch him distribute into the 3rd row.
    4.) Polster= a coaches we$ dream. Kid has a great work ethic. You can teach a player how you want them to play and improve their skills but you cant teach the drive this kid has.

    Pauno= C-/incomplete.Hard to judge based on the terrible hand he was dealt by the organization who fills a roster from dumpster diving.

  • Who caught the LA/RSL game last night? Those two MFs for LA were incredible! They owned the middle of the pitch like a couple of bosses. Tell you what, Fire should use the final DP spots for a couple of class MFs. Cocis and Polster are your typical "hard workers", but an upgrade in quality is needs at both positions.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    Edit: quality is needed

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    Yes Cocis definitely needs to go for a game breaking CAM.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    center mid seems to be the area they're targeting as number one need this offseason.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


  • There isn't a position on the team that could not be upgraded. The question is what is the priority. CAM a DM are both priorities to me. Right back is next. NR is a classic dweeb. He is smart, but he struggles to convey a respect for his audience. In other words, I don't think he knows that he sounds like a smarty pants. For me, I cannot decide whether his annoying qualities disqualify him from being a decent GM. I would rather stick with him even though he does not respect his audience enough to share more than a cursory outline of his plan. This off season is critical. I also hope that they keep the team around to practice and work together. I like a lot of our players, but if they let SJ go and do not bring in a keeper who is better, then I have concerns. Getting rid of salaries and stocking up on MLS funny money goes just so far. If they do not use it, they will only dig themselves deeper into a financial abyss. Sell the team AH, Please!!!!!!

  • In reply to Krasov:

    We need to create enough pressure that Hauptman sells the team.

  • When Nelson was like "Andrew really wants to win" I was like then why **** aren't we.

  • In reply to Ahan Jain:

    Nelson DIDN'T say Andrew was willing to pay for a winner, just that he really wants to win.

    It's like how I really want to win the lottery. Problem is I don't like to buy those pesky tickets that add up to a lot of expense that never seems to pay off.

    Sometimes apparently bold statements really don't mean what they seem to mean. It's called PR.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    I think everyone wants to win even though they aren't willing to pay for it. It's actually pretty funny how Nelson was like Andrew has a strong desire to win. Well everyone has a strong desire to win.

  • In reply to Ahan Jain:

    If you want to know how little Andy plans on in investing in this team is when N-Rod answered the question about upgrading and having dedicated team facilities. He said that it wasn't necessary to sign players as they would use the city of Chicago as a main selling point and that they would only sign players that wanted to be there.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I know. It's just so upsetting and crazy. He doesn't care about the club.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He's been picking items off the Dollar menu when deciding what to invest.

    And meanwhile, deeper pockets around the league continue to put us to shame. Andy is the Bill Wirtz of MLS.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    You have to spend money to get money

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    So, what you're saying is that our only hope is for Andy to die and his son to take over? How old is Andy? Does he have a son?

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