The Chicago Fire's lengthy courtship of Mexican coach Carlos De Los Cobos is finally over and the last vacant MLS coaching job has been filled.
The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Fire and De Los Cobos have agreed to terms on a deal and De Los Cobos will be introduced as the Fire's head coach on Monday. Fire technical director Frank Klopas could not be reachd for comment, but sources have told SBI that the Fire had been locked in negotiations with De Los Cobos for more than a week and the deal nearly fell through. It appears the sides were able to work out their differences and now the Fire will be led by its first head coach without MLS experience.
De Los Cobos replaces Denis Hamlett and will become the fifth head coach in the Fire's 11-year history. He joins the Fire after having lead El Salvador through an impressive run through World Cup Qualifying.
The hiring comes on the same day that the New York Red Bulls also hired a foreign coach in Swedish manager Hans Backe.
What is the SBI take? De Los Cobos is a respected manager and someone who could help the Fire as it prepares to go through a period of rebuilding, but the track record of foreign coaches in MLS isn't a good one so De Los Cobos will be fighting history as he attempts to lead the Fire to its first MLS Cup title since its inaugural season in 1998. That said, De Los Cobos will have one advantage in that he will be working alongside a technical director who knows the league and the American game in Frank Klopas.
The Fire has lost several starters from last year's team, including Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Chris Rolfe, Gonzalo Segares and Brandon Prideaux (though the Fire is still holding out hope that it can bring back Blanco after the World Cup). Chicago still boasts a strong nucleus, with Brian McBride, Marco Pappa, John Thorrington, Logan Pause, Wilman Conde and Jon Busch, but De Los Cobos will need to adapt to MLS quickly if the Fire are going to make a fourth straight trip to the Eastern Conference Final and avoid having 2010 turn into the type of rebuilding season Fire fans aren't used to enduring.
What do you think of the hiring? Think it's a good choice? Wish the Fire had hired an American coach?
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