The Chicago Fire missed reaching 2009 MLS Cup final by falling in a penalty-kick tiebreaker. Yet the club fired Denis Hamlettand replaced him with Carlos De Los Cobos. Ives Galarcep points out that now, instead of being 12 yards away from glory, the Fire sits 12 points out of the playoffs as a nightmare season devolves into a sorry mess.
Hamlett reached the Eastern Conference final in both seasons in charge for a coach. Under De Los Cobos the Fire has shown flashes of attacking quality, but there isn’t a single thing you can point to that De Los Cobos has improved since taking over.
Under Hamlett, the club was criticized for not entertaining at home and not being consistent enough. This year under De Los Cobos, the Fire boast a 3-3-6 record at Toyota Park, all three wins coming against teams out of playoff contention. Hamlett’s teams were criticized by some for not being offensive enough, but the current Fire has managed just 28 goals in 26 games, significantly less than the 83 goals in 60 regular season games managed by Hamlett’s Fire.
Writes Galarcep, "No matter how you look at it, De Los Cobos’ hiring can only be seen as a failure. The Fire currently sits on 26 points, tied for the third fewest in MLS. Saturday’s loss to Seattle made it seven straight matches without a win (an 0-5-2 mark). All but one of those matches came after the Fire broke the bank to trade for Freddie Ljungberg and sign Nery Castillo."