[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Fire owner Andrew Hauptman certainly made a statement about how he views the situation in Chicago when both head coach Frank Klopas and club president Javier Leon -- both fixtures with the Fire -- departed on Wednesday. It was reported by Goal.com later in the day that Frank Yallop, linked with the Vancouver job that became vacant on Tuesday, would replace Klopas as head coach.
“There have been many highlights over these years but now is the appropriate time to make a transition to new leadership,” Hauptman said in a statement. “Making this team compete for championships on a consistent basis is our first priority.”
Klopas, a Chicago prep star and former U.S. international, played for the Fire and was its technical director for three and a half seasons before replacing Mexican Carlos de los Cobos as coach in 2011.
The Fire was rebuilt in the second half of the 2012 season and reached the playoffs with a 17-11-6 record, but it never recovered from a 2-7-2 start. It won three straight matches to put it within a point of returning to the playoffs, but it dropped a 5-2 decision at New York on Sunday.
Leon, the executive who oversaw the launch of Chivas USA, left in 2007 and joined Andell Sports Group, which oversees the sports and related assets for Hauptman's Andell Holdings, as managing director the next year.
The Fire has been one of the most active teams on the international transfer market. It brought in Uruguayan Federico Puppo and Dutchman Sherjill MacDonald as Designated Players in 2012 though neither player is still with the team. Ecuadoran Juan Luis Anangono and Uruguayan Arevalo Riosarrived as DPs this summer, but neither made a big impact.
The Fire did pull off one of the best trades in MLS history when it traded the rights to Robbie Rogers to the LA Galaxy for Mike Magee, who finished the 2013 season with 21 goals and is an MLS MVP candidate.
Chicago Fire Coaches:
Bob Bradley (1998–02)
Dave Sarachan (2002-7)
Juan Carlos Osorio (2007)
Denis Hamlett (2008-09)
Carlos de los Cobos(2010-11)
Frank Klopas (2011-13)