MLS- Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire to fine Hamlett and Soumare for locker-room fight


The Chicago Fire will be issuing fines to head coach Denis Hamlett and defender Bakary Soumare for their roles in a locker-room fight which took place at halftime of the Fire's 3-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo last Sunday.

According to sources with knowledge of the incident, Hamlett and Soumare were involved in a heated exchange that got out of control (though team sources insist that no punches were thrown). The fracas resulted in Soumare being taken out of the match at halftime. The team-issued press release called the event "an incident".

Soumare left the team the day after the Houston match to join the Mali national team on international duty in France, but has yet to train with the Fire since the incident and is not with the Fire in Kansas City for Sunday's match against the Wizards (sources tell SBI that he is away for family reasons). Soumare has been reportedly become the subject of a transfer bid from French club Boulogne.

"The locker room can get heated and we bring a lot of passion to our game days," said Fire technical director Frank Klopas. "The team has moved past this incident regarding Denis and Bakary and our focus remains on bringing the MLS Cup back to Chicago this season."

What do you think of this development? Share your thoughts below.

  • aristotle

    I think Hamlett is a lousy coach, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to communicate that to him by punching him. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was Soumare’s last game for Chicago, and I think Hamlett will be gone soon too, which will be a positive development for the Fire. They are a much better team than the way they play.


  • patrick

    exit stage left for both of them. SOumare clearly wants to go to europe, and with hamlett, unacceptable from a coach.


  • eireburner

    Yeah, it is very difficult to understand how a coach and a player get into it! From my experience in MLS lockerrooms it is typical for players to get passionateand get into it, but you do not show any direspect to coaches! There is definitely a problem there.


  • cjbrown

    soumare has been playing like crap this season. never mind the all-star nod. he is making stupid fouls and losing his mark frequently.


  • Futblito

    Soumare has been a great player for us. He might not be playing as well as he did last year, but he is still very good and is a great guy. I have always thought he was one of classiest player we have. Obviously we don’t have much information to draw any conclusion as far as what happened in that dressing room! Most fire fans are just so harsh towards the players just like towards Conde last season, Brown, McBride, and Mapp. If the kid is a regular in a national team stacked with guys playing in the biggest European clubs, draws interest from European teams who are willing to pay for his services, he must be doing something right on the field.


  • Pat da man

    I think they are gone!!! Soumare has one foot out the door and Hamlett is gonna follow! I wish somebody had footage of that fight !!!


  • Joe

    Soumare is half of the player he was last year. He thinks he is some world class player now. He has this swagger that he thinks he can make any pass and can defend any player that he goes up against. He doesnt realize that he is only a MLS defender that was made to look like a USL defender in the final of Superliga. He seems to get a yellow EVERY time he is on the pitch for us for being lazy. He is going to get beat so he sticks out his crazy stretch Armstrong legs and takes the player out. Let him got to Boulogne. Is that a 2nd division French team? Ive never heard of them and that is the team that wants him… I am all for canning the Ham but lets not let Soumare slide for this.


  • Pete

    There’s a reason the coach was steamed with Soumare: take a look at the highlights on the Dynamo site.

    Soumare gets beat terribly in the 2 Dynamo first half goals. Terribly.

    If he wants to go to France or anywhere else, I’m not going to stop him. But if he wants to stay in Chicago, he’s gotta try better than that.


  • Peter

    Dennis Sarachan-Hamlett is a worthless turd. He has made the FIRE less than the sum of their parts. He is unimaginitive. and stupid. That he had to punch a player to get that players’ respect shows his weakness as a coach.

    That Soumare lacked the restraint to not punch a coach shows a poor level of discipline.

    Both should be gone, but especially the dumb turd that is Dennis Sarachan-Hamlett


  • mike ruze

    Soumare was pissed that Hamletts a crappy coach and Hamlett was pissed that Soumare sucks this year.


  • baloosh13

    that’s one bid from a team who is regulation bait… he should wait for a better offer


  • Sam

    I have always thought Soumare was one of the better defenders in this league, but then again I have only watch him a few times this season. If he is having such a bad season, why would not the fire cash in on him?


  • Sam

    I have never heard of anything like that before. The only that bothers me is that with the fire Soumare is half the player he is for his national. I watched several Mali games this season because I really like the player and it’s shocking how much better he plays. I watched their game this past Wednesday and he was absolutely flawless. There is clearly a problem there, it’s either because he plays with much better players around, because he cares about that team more, or simply because he is aware that there are lots of scouts at these games!
    I also believe that Denis has inherited a great team, but is doing a poor job with the personel. How do you explain that guys like Soumare, Mapp, Rolfe and Robinson once looked at the bright spots of the future of this team are now looking at the exit door.


  • Screaming Eagles Matt

    Hey Chicago, if you guys don’t want the guy, we’ll take him in a heart beat. He is young and one of best defenders in this league. He might just a change of scenery. Make him pack up, get him a one way ticket to DC, and put the ‘incident’ behind you.


  • Fireman98

    Exit door for both of them. Losing Soumare will not be a good thing. Let’s start rebuilding this team. In 2010, there will be no Soumare, blanco, McHead, Rolfe, Mapp, Segares, and maybe even Conde. This fire in 2010 will the RED bulls 2009. I have said it first!


  • Doug

    Back in 1981 goalkeepe Phil Parkes and coach Willy Roy had a halftime fight with the Chicago Sting and it lead to Parkes never starting a game for the Sting again and then a trade. Even if there was a fight, Hamlett was selfish in pulling him being as the Fire was already playing without Segares, Conde, and Ward


  • Dominican Lou

    I think the responses of the extreme “Hamlett-is-teh-wortstest!!!” Fire fans are laughable. In Hamlett’s time as coach the Fire have gone to the Eastern Conference finals and currently sit just off the pace set by Columbus and Houston. They also went to penalty kicks against a good Tigres club in the Superliga final. This season Hamlett led the Fire to their longest unbeaten streak while dealing with many international call-ups and injuries.

    Despite possessing a lot of talent the Fire are still relatively young. Constructing a young team around a mercurial player like Blanco is difficult. When he’s the focal point of the offense the result is often tied to whether Blanco’s head is in the game.

    Hamlett gets criticism from all factions of Fire fans. You have some of the Polish die-hards bitter that Frankowski didn’t play more last season and you have the Logan Pause Haters. There are the folks who insist the Fire make the US Open Cup a priority every season and there are Fire fans gnash their teeth every time Rolfe plays anywhere but up top.

    But mostly the criticism comes from the folks who seem to think the Fire would win 2-0 every time out if only they were in charge.

    What Fire fans don’t know is just how lucky they are that Hamlett is coach and not Juan Carlos Osorio. Osorio was overrrated in Chicago (Blanco and returns from injury is what drove the team, not the unstable lineups and bunkering of leads coach) and has since shown at Red Bull that he’s complete disaster.

    The Fire still have a lot of talent and depth and will most likely be one of the conference finalists again. Hamlett haters won’t be content until he wins the Supporter’s Shield, MLS Cup, US Open Cup and Champions League in the same season. And even then he would be on a very short leash.


  • zues

    @ Dominican Lou:

    Should we be happy with mediocrity simply because Hamlett tries? It’s too bad there isn’t a trophy for the team/coach that tries the hardest. Of course we won’t be happy until we win it all. I don’t wear Fire gear and go to games because I look good in red, which I do. I go to see them win, and the more wins the better. That should go without saying. That’s what fans do. Ask any fan of any team and they’ll tell you that they want to win everything all the time.


  • chicagosoccerguy

    hmmmm where’s all that HATE now? Good Job Fire, this may have just been the glue that binds this squad together.


  • The Little Birdie

    The little birdie says that one should never take a team (or company) press release about such a negative incident at face value. Ummm… no punches were thrown? So the two just had an oral argument that led to one guy getting kicked off the team and both coach and player being fined? Anyone want to buy an original Picasso from me for $300? I’ll ship it to you once I get your check.


  • Sam

    @dominican lou
    i’d be happy with hamlett giving us the supporters shield OR MLS cup OR US open cup OR champions league…but so far he has failed in all…but maybe this year is different?

    there are still 2 left, if he fails this year with this squad then when will he ever pull it off?


  • coach don

    hey chicago fans…

    want osorio back? we’d be more than happy to break the curse by sending him back to you!


  • firefan06

    As a Fire fan, I have to agree with everything Dominican Lou said. Most of the Hamlett hate is ridiculous considering where we are in the standings.

    As for Soumare, its no secret that his play has significantly dropped this year, and his play during the first half at Houston was easily one of his worst games on the season. No denying the kid has talent, but he’s not at the point where he’s above the coach calling him out on a bad first half. I’ve been arguing all season that Conde and CJ should be our starting CBs when healthy, and given this incident maybe that’ll be the case.


  • Joe

    @Dominican Lou

    Hamlett is playing the same formation as we have always played. Playing the same players we played during Osorio and making all the same easy decisions. He doesnt know what he is doing. He needed to go yesterday. The FO cant think that HE is the guy that will win us trophies. They need to be looking for that guy. I think that guy is going to be the coach of Philly next year…


  • sneakypete

    What about going to the conference finals and making the playoffs every year is unexceptable?? A lot of teams would love to have Hamlett. I read these blogs and I suspect you all are Yankee fans as well…spoiled and never satisfied. Knock em’ dead coach!!


  • The Little Birdie

    A couple more thoughts from the little birdie:

    1. Why is blame coming down on Hamlett? Sure, he didn’t have prior MLS head coaching experience but coached under very good coaches. The Fire has virtually the same team as last year with a few fresh faces on the bench (Dimitrov – depth up front; Dykstra – new backup GK w/ potential; Baggio – not playing much but has future value). They’ve been hampered by injuries almost all season long. I don’t think they’ve been out-coached IMHO but could use more emotion and…. well, FIRE on the field (instead of off it). They’re doing well apart from the US Open slip up. Let’s see how the season ends up before rocking the boat.

    2. Back to the initial topic, does anyone want to start more rumors, like the referee who claims he saw Bakary leave with an icepack on his face? Stir it up. Little darling, stir it up.


  • Dray

    In STL, nobody likes Tony LaRussa because he’s a butt hole. However, the guy gets the job done and most White Sox fans can only dream what might have happened had he stayed in CHI.

    So what if Denis Hamlett isn’t trying to win a popularity contest with his players or the fans? Denis is getting the job done in only his second season as a Head Coach. Give the guy a break and let him put this team together. some of you have forgotten what Fire coach has done most of the drafting over the past few years. Hamlett. He is an excellent judge of talent and has Klopas to bounce things off of. Not only could it be a lot worse, we are lucky to have the coaching staff we have.

    There must be something about being a sports fan in Chicago that turns people into whiners. Right now the Fire are the most competitive pro team in town. Stop complaining.


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