Friday, Sept. 17, 2010
By Justin O'Neil
The Chicago Fire have had an up and down season on the field during what can be described as a transition year, and that movement forward continues off the pitch with the hiring of new President Julian Posada.
Posada has a background in media, most recently serving as founder and president of Caf Media. Previously he served as general manager of Hoy, the Tribunes Spanish language Chicago newspaper. The new president does not have a background in sports operations, but the Fire are hoping that Posada will help them continue to reach out to Chicagos sizable Hispanic community.
The Fire filled the presidents position after Dave Greeley, who has been president for the past two seasons, resigned on August 4. The presidents position is one of many to have changed for the Fire this season. Head coach Carlos de los Cobos been unable to find the right formula on the field in his first year, and it looks like the team will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The team also exited from the Superliga in the group stage and lost to third division side Charleston Battery at Toyota Park in the U.S. Open Cup.
The Fire started slow in league play this season before having a nice patch upon the arrival of designated players Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg, but have dipped in the table again. With captain Brian McBride retiring as of the end of the season, the future of the Fire is up in the air.
The team has several good young attacking players to build around in Marco Pappa, Patrick Nyarko, and Collins John. Despite the young attacking talent and the addition of Castillo and Ljungberg, the Fire have struggled to score goals this season, notching just 28 goals in 22 games. Technical director Frank Klopas and general manager Peter Wilt will need to see if the teams attack will need a further makeover in the offseason.
One of the bright spots this season has been rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who has earned several save of the week nominations after taking the starting role from Andrew Dykstra.
The Fire need to make up nine points on the Seattle Sounders in order to qualify for the playoffs, although they have two games in hand. The team has not won since August 18, scoring just two goals in two draws and two losses. Virtually every game is a must-win for the club, and they will be on the road against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.