Fire Confidential Live podcast with guest Nelson Rodriguez

Chicago Fire General Manager Nelson Rodriguez joins us in the latest Fire Confidential Live podcast. Rodriguez addresses the Harry Shipp trade, Collin Fernandez’s development, possible upcoming transfers, all that allocation money, and more.

Filed under: 2016 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Good interview with some interesting insight into recent events and the mess that is the MLS structure for player wages and related monies.

    What I find a bit discouraging is that they don't have an immediate replacement and maybe nothing exactly in the works either other than some people they are pursuing. I understand moving him now as it does sound like he didn't fit the new system and would not have been played much. I don't like the move like many people, but it's hard to understand this decision as we haven't really been extensively exposed to the system Pauno wants to play in.

  • It's too raw a nerve to listen to the rationalizations offered by NR. I get it. It's a business. If Shipp doesn't get enough minutes this year his value drops, so top value from an interested party now. I just have a he'd time thinking that they "want the right kind of guys" "they want a team that is adaptable" and Shipp isn't going to help you do that. KC and Red Bull are high pressure and the do not have near the talent that those teams have. So, Shipp allows you to adapt and play a different style against those team.

    Still don't like it.

    The fans lost.

    The team lost.

    There better be something awesome coming down the pipe.

  • Finally finished listening. Good podcast. Reflections:

    They're not committing TAM on Iggy until they know for sure that we're stuck with him.

    They finally shed light on one of the inner workings: "we work in threes."

    NR isn't going to have a town hall. He's aware of how many sacred cows have been killed and he's not coming out until the carnage has settled off (or we happen to have a phenominal start,) which in either case would require the hard feelings being buffered.

    If he had an open town hall, the flack would be worse that the NYRB's. Regardless how it's painted, it's going to take wins to buffer feelings before he puts himself into the ring like that.

    I'm glad he can at least recognize that the national media outlets are not the way to get a message released into the fan base.

    I'm also going to give NR (and Pauno) credit for having the balls to plow ahead with the plan of reorganization in spite of how emotionally devastating this process has been, and seems to continue to be.

    Finally: props for choice of closing credits song. =)

  • You have to give these guys credit for being ballsy enough to make some very unpopular decisions. If it works out, there will be much, verbose gloating.

    If it doesn't work out. Well... The Chicago NASL might have a plan.

  • GR, thank you for an informative podcast. One thing I wonder is why Shipp could not have been retained for depth, even if he was not going to be targeted as a starter. He may not be the stud #10 the Fire need, but he's not terrible either. His salary is relatively small, and let's face it, the Fire have had high-salaried stiffs sitting on their bench in recent seasons.

    GR, can you follow up with Coach Paunovic on that?

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    I think NR already answered this in the podcast. They dealt him when they thought he was at a max value as they didn't foresee him playing much. And I'm not sure how much I believe this, but it was also in Harry's best interests so he could continue to play and develop. I do think having Harry on the bench would have been ideal in one breath, as I think it's the ideal spot for him (coming in as a sub when offense is needed)...but maximizing the value of a player is a huge part of a GM's job. I think he made the right move.

  • In reply to Tweaky:


  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Legit question. I think they saw an opportunity to move him and get something in return while he was in demand. If he were to spend the next few months on the bench as a sub, I imagine it would have been more difficult to maximize value in a trade.
    I'll ask.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Given that the players whom Rodriguez is targeting for midfield are in the discussion/negotiation phase, wouldn't you say it's risky to trade a player you may need for cover in case your targets don't pan out?

    I suppose that a GM has to walk a fine line when determining the best time to pull the trigger on a deal. This deal would have looked more comfortable if a new stud #10 were already under contract.

    If the rumored amount of allocation money that the Fire got from Montreal (less than $100K) is accurate, then don't you think that that deal could have been made at any time? If that's the best deal available to trade Harry Shipp, then Harry Shipp isn't worth very much.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Was not less than $100k from what I understand.

  • Guys this and the jones trade will come back and bite them where the sun don't shine. These two guys were some of the very few decent players on the team. In business you never cut an employee unless you already have it covered. If accam or Gilberto go away or down we are looking at perhaps the worst team in the league again. I would put philly as the worst closely followed by the fire.

  • What ever happened to having the team set before the season starts?

    After listening to the interview, N-Rod still comes off as condescending, imo. I got nothing out of that interview that makes me any more positive about the upcoming season.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I thought he had originally said that the there would be no guarantees that the club WOULD be set before the season starts.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Yes he did say that, but isn't in the best interest of the team to be set and ready before the season starts?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    One would think.

    But you can't say he didn't warn us.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    So if the team digs themselves into a hole early in the season, what excuses will he use? Will he say that we didn't have our team together yet? Will he say that his team didn't have enough time to gel?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I think the words "project" and "process" will be used a bunch.

    When the team digs itself in a hole early, you'll hear exactly the same stuff as you are hearing now, because neither NR nor Paunovic are planning for instant success.

    As unacceptable as that may be for a good chunk of fans, it's seems fairly inevitable and within the realm of expectations which NR and Paunovic are presenting us.

    In other words, plan your rage accordingly, but the response will probably amount to- "yup, deal with it."

  • Selling Shipp was a massive sucker punch, especially coming at a time were it appeared the new FO was generating some positivity among the fanbase. However, there had been hints that specifically Paunovic did not rate him nearly as high as the average fan did (remember him commenting about Shipp's lack of goal scoring, etc?), which makes perfect sense. Shipp was billed by a PR department that was grasping at straws as a savior for the team. He knew it himself (I saw someone bringing up his tweet about being pissed that his roty nomination was the only good thing that the Fire could promote after a crap season). Fans are extra emotionally invested in Shipp because he was clearly one of us; a fan. I think in another league, a player like Shipp sticks on the team, even if he has diminished playing time, because you have the squad and the money to do that, but it doesn't work that way in MLS.

    It seems like this was simply a coaching decision; it's well within the realm of conjecture that it is the wrong one, but that's on Paunovic.

    Also, it's past time to stop pretending that somehow Hauptman got any monetary benefit out of this. That's not how any of this works. Certain complaints about him are valid, but if anything, he would have personally benefited most from keeping a cheap salary like Shipp on the roster and by selling oodles and oodles of Shipp authentic jerseys. Implying he is somehow pocketing fake money (TAM and GAM) is as absurd as it is idiotic.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Until I see any of this money spent on talent, then I'll continue to think the worst of this owner based on past performance.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    That's fair. I just wouldn't equate Shipp being sold directly with the poor ownership.

  • Dude Hauptman has taken advantage of the chicago soccer fans from the day he purchased the team. As stated to me from the MLS office he is an embarrassment to the league. It was also stated that he did not have the dough to compete against the other teams. Any veteran that he can get rid of with the hope of replacing them with another unknown player is a plus. Let's see he dumped jones for what? He dumped Narco(bad spelling) for what. Business wise the guy has hit a home run. His franchise which is the worst in the league is worth 160 million dollars. He has been riding the success of the league for years. We should be like Portland or even Seattle if the team was managed correctly. Hauptman is one bad soccer dude.

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Ok. Hauptman is a bad "soccer guy" (agreed) who is riding the success of the league (also agreed). Sure, that's a fine assessment. He most definitely hit a home run, no doubt.

    But he gains nothing from selling Shipp. He didn't really gain anything from selling Nyarko (who requested a trade) either. The FO seems to be replacing him like for like with Arturo Alvarez, which, once you take out the fan bias towards Nyarko, is close to a wash, but whatever. The coach (who is not Hauptman) dumped Jones for a different young talented player who (actually) plays LB.

    He may run the team cheaply and that may piss a whole bunch of people off. He may run the team poorly and that may piss a whole bunch of people off. But he didn't sell Harry Shipp for FAKE MONEY to go laughing off into the sunset. There is absolutely no logical benefit to him in doing so.

  • Tomas. As long as the name Hauptman is part of the fire we will not have an even chance against almost every team in the league......

  • In reply to Brokerman:

    Ok sure. I havent really said anything that remotely contradicts that. Makes me wonder if you actually read it.

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    GR, nice "get" of NR right after the Harry Shipp sale, you noticed I didn't say trade, because it was a sale! So let me get this straight, Shipp was not good enough to get playing time on the "worst" team in the league, but will play and succeed in Montreal on a playoff team according to NR? Just asking? So he doesn't fit the system here, but will fit the winning successful system in Montreal? Maybe we should ask why are we (The Fire) not employing that system here in Chicago! NR and VP are asking for a lot of trust of the fan base and time as well, I don't know what the over/under is on that patience. I will feel much more "comfortable" when NR buys a house here in Chicago, moves his family here from New Jersey, and the same goes for VP. That way we will all know they are here for the long haul and have "invested" their futures here as well. GR your thoughts?

  • In reply to Bob Bilocerkowycz:

    Sale is an appropriate term in this case. What the transaction really boils down to is just that...NR/VP didn't think Shipp was good enough to play in their system consistently over 90 minutes for 34 games. They're not going to say that publicly. Whether or not the gamble is correct will be determined by the success of whoever they bring in to fill the 'playmaking' role that has been missing here for so long. Shipp may succeed in Montreal but how much playing time do you really see him getting there. He'll have to fight for a spot there too.
    The new regime's honeymoon period didn't last very long. Patience will be required but the pressure is on. They can't afford another disastrous season.

  • Pauno may be a good coach, indeed is a good coach but he is not reinventing the wheel. There would be very few MLS teams that wouldn't have Shipp in their squad and i don't see how the worst team in the league cannot use him. He is not making big money so i do not see how selling Shipp is the prerequisite for getting a new number 10. Other teams without the Fire's war chest have no trouble adding players.Teams need to be more than one deep and we are short even on that.

    While much better teams add players from the likes of Boca Juniors we are still chasing starters and have sold, not traded, JJ, Nyarko, and Shipp, all starters and 3 of our better players, all of whom i predict will start for their new and superior teams.

    There is more than a whiff of Alexi Lalas to NR's patter. Sounds articulate but says nothing;All style and no substance. I'm also troubled by the Pauno and NR both agreeing on players as if NR's judgement is equal to Pauno's. Who is NR when he's not at home washing dishes? He is an administrator, not a football expert. I hope i'm wrong.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Wish we could like these, but +1 my friend.

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