[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Coming out of the Memorial Day weekend, three of the 18 MLS teams have just one win, and two of them have changed head coaches.
Hours after Vancouver (1-5-6) announced it had dismissed Teitur Thordarson came word another coach under fire, Chicago’s Carlos de los Cobos, had been let go after a 2-2 tie with San Jose on Saturday.
The result left Chicago winless in nine games and with a 1-4-6 record, ahead of only Sporting Kansas City (1-6-2) – which has yet to play a home game – in the overall standings.
Technical director and former Fire player Frank Klopas, who rejoined the organization in 2008, takes over for de los Cobos. Hired in January, 2010, to replace Denis Hamlett, de los Cobos and the Fire missed the playoffs last season for only the second time in team history. During his 17 months in charge de los Cobos compiled a record of 10-16-15 in league play.
“Since the Fire has elected to move in a new direction with its coaching staff midseason, we wanted to ensure a seamless transition by naming Frank Klopas interim head coach,” said managing director Javier Leon in a statement. “Frank’s wealth of knowledge and experience as a player, scout, technical director and coach provide an extraordinary background for him to manage the team successfully as we work towards a MLS Cup playoff spot.”
De los Cobos was hired by the Fire in January 2010 after three years in charge of El Salvador’s national team. The team interviewed possible candidates to replace de los Cobos last winter, but according to sources, owner Andrew Hauptmann didn’t want to pay off de los Cobos’ guaranteed contract and also pay for a replacement, so he was retained.
Klopas is a native of Greece who grew up in Chicago, and takes over as the sixth head coach in team history and fourth since 2007. He follows Bob Bradley, Dave Sarachan, Juan Carlos Osorio, Hamlett and de los Cobos. He is one of six people inducted into the club’s “Ring of Fire.”
“My passion and drive for this club to persevere through this transition is my top priority,” Klopas said in a statement. “I believe in this team, the players and the badge, and will work tirelessly to ensure the success of the team going forward.”
Klopas, a former U.S. international, played indoor soccer in Chicago and professionally in Greece before finishing his career with the Fire, which he helped win MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup during its 1998 expansion season.
He played 39 international matches and scored 12 goals for the USA.
He retired as a player in January, 2000, and for two years was head coach of the indoor Chicago Storm before taking the post as Fire technical director.