The Chicago Fire, which won just one game in its last eight outings, has fired Coach Dave Sarachan. Denis Hamlett, an assistant coach for Chicago for 10 seasons, takes over as interim
head. Sarachan coached the Fire since 2003, when the Fire finished MLS runner-up. The Fire missed the playoffs once during Sarachan's four full seasons in charge, in 2004. It was eliminated last year
in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks by New England. Sarachan guided the Fire to U.S. Open Cup titles in 2003 and 2006. "I don't think this was a fair time to assess [Sarachan]," Chicago captain
Chris Armas told the Chicago Tribune
. "Why even re-sign him at the end
of [last] year in the first place? He should have been given the year to get things back on track. We have injuries and guys at the national team camp. Our core group has been gone."
The 4-6-2 Fire is also promised an offensive boost with the pending arrival of Mexican star Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Sarachan, who was Bruce Arena's assistant with the U.S. 2002 World Cup team
and at D.C. United, told the Chicago Tribune, "I'm an Ivy League graduate and coached in the World Cup [as an assistant]. I'll find work in the next few months. I have too good of a résumé
not to find something."
"We are appreciative of everything Dave has done for this organization - he has been a true professional in every sense of the word," said Fire President/CEO John
Guppy. "At the same time, we realize that the team is not headed in the direction we would like and felt a change was necessary."