Fire dumps coach Carlos de los Cobos after 1-4-6 start
BY LEN ZIEHM Special to the Sun-Times May 30, 2011 8:38PM
Carlos de los Cobos was fired Monday after leading the Fire to just 10 victories in 41 games. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times
Updated: July 7, 2011 3:24PM
Carlos de los Cobos’ stint as coach of the Fire is over.
A club-record nine-game winless streak led Javier Leon, the managing director of Andell Sports, to fire de los Cobos on Monday and name technical director Frank Klopas interim coach for the rest of the season.
‘‘Frank’s wealth of knowledge and experience . . . provide an extraordinary background for him to manage the team successfully,’’ said Leon, who oversees the Fire operation from California on behalf of owner Andrew Hauptman.
De los Cobos, who was in the second year of a two-year contract, came to the Fire after a solid playing and coaching career in Mexico. He also had been successful as coach of El Salvador’s national team, but he had trouble adjusting to Major League Soccer. His Fire teams won only 10 of 41 games.
The Fire finished 9-12-9 last year and missed the playoffs for only the second time in the franchise’s 13 seasons. This year’s club is in serious danger of missing out as well. The Fire (1-4-6) didn’t win a league match in April or May and is 0-4-5 in its current winless streak.
De los Cobos did guide the Fire through two play-in games in the U.S. Open Cup, assuring the club will make it to the tournament proper for a 14th straight year.
Handing the reins to
Klopas, the Fire’s technical director the last four
seasons, was the logical choice. A graduate of Mather High School, he was a popular player in his days with the Sting and Fire. He made the U.S. national team for the 1994 World Cup and was with the Kansas City Wizards when MLS began in 1996.
When the Fire was formed in 1998, Klopas was its best-known player and had the last goal of that storied season — an overtime score that gave the Fire its first of four U.S. Open Cup titles. He retired after that season and worked as an assistant to head coach Bob Bradley in 2000. He returned as head coach and general manager of the Chicago Storm, an indoor team, in 2004 and held that job for two seasons, taking the Storm to the postseason in 2005.
Klopas will make his Fire coaching debut Saturday in a home game against the Seattle Sounders.
‘‘I believe in this team, the players and the badge and will work tirelessly to ensure the success of the team going forward,’’ Klopas said.