Fire off season: What we know right now

06Jan10

This is a huge transitional off-season for the Fire.  Many important decisions need to be made, or have been made.  This is what we, the Fire fan, know.

Coaching search:  The team interviewed a bunch of prospective candidates and whittled that down a few weeks ago to three finalists.  They were Jesse Marsch, Tom Soehn, and Carlos de los Cobos.  For the past two weeks Carlos de los Cobos has been pegged the front leader because he was seen having dinner with Javier Leon (Fire VP and right hand man of owner Andrew Hauptman).  On December 22nd Medio Tiempo tweeted that he would be announced as the new Fire head coach (Carlos de los Cobos podría ser presentado en breve como nuevo técnico del Chicago Fire de la MLS.).  There have been some comments made by de los Cobos in the Spanish language press that indicated he was negotiating with an MLS club.  Most recently de los Cobos denied anything was imminent.  Goff picked up on the story from there and seems to have confirmed that he is the front-runner for the job.  He initially reported that his hiring was imminent but then reported a day later that his hiring hinges on the signing of 24-year-old Salvadoran winger Julio Martinez.  Yesterday Ives chimed in saying we should know more by the end of the day.  In typical Ives fashion regarding the Fire, he was wrong.

There is so much speculation about de los Cobos, from multiple sources, that it looks like he will hired.  When is he going to be announced as the new coach seems the bigger question.

UPDATE: Klopas denies that search is complete.  Either there is an issue with de los Cobos or its just about done and Klopas doesn’t want to spill anything.

Player Transactions:

To go along with the coaching rumors we have had multiple rumors of incoming players.

Ebi Smolarek: DP rumors swirled and then abated when Ebi finally signed with a european club.

Salim Toama: Reports from Isreal indicate the Fire were sniffing around him.  30 year old wing player who spent time with Standard Liege (Thanks to MHaifa1913 on the Big Soccer forums for posting this and translating).

Julio Martinez: The aforementioned 24 year old Salvadoran winger that Chivas USA are also after according to this Esmi TV report.  According to Goff

Krzysztof Krol: 23 year old Polish left back that the Fire allegedly have made a loan with option to buy offer according to sport.pl.  He now plays for  Jagiellonia (thanks to JL Murtaugh of the Section 8 forums for posting this and giving a rough translation).

There also has been speculation that the Fire have a discovery claim for one of the recently signed trio of  Colombians: America De Cali central defender Edward Zea, Deportivo Cali central defender Pablo Escobar and Deportes Quindio central defender Hanyer Mosquera.  Rumors have pointed to Kansas City and Philly Union as getting two of them.  So far nothing is confirmed and just speculation at this point.

Getting a left back is high priority since David Myrie was selected in the expansion draft and Gonzalo Segares will not be returning next season (This just broke, he is close to signing with Apollon FC in Cyprus).  One would think that since the Fire are trying to sign another winger that Justin Mapp is not thought of as a starter for next season.

I’m sure I’ve missed a few rumors above.  If you have anything to add please do.

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