Top Stories

Chicago’s coaching flop

Carlos De Los Cobos ( 

Photo by

When you're hired to replace a successful head coach, particularly when that coach was dumped rather than retired or quit, you had better do at least as well as your predecessor.

By any measure, Carlos De Los Cobos has failed as Chicago Fire head coach since replacing Denis Hamlett, who was let go despite two successful seasons in charge. De Los Cobos has taken a talented team and led it to the brink of the worst season in the club's otherwise impressive history.

How bad is it for the Fire? Chicago is riding a seven match winless streak (six of those matches coming after the additions of Designated Players Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo) and the skid has left the Fire 12 points out of the playoffs.

This for a team that came within a penalty kick shootout loss of the 2009 MLS Cup Final.

Here is my piece for Fox Soccer on De Los Cobos' forgettable first season in charge of the Fire. Give the story a read and let me know what you think of Chicago's coach and what's next for the Fire.

Share your thoughts below.


  1. FireFireFire, obviously you are the funny guy on this one. Commenting on me being a family member of DLC is very comical. Let’s not forget Hamlett had a run in with Soumare in the locker room and he had Blanco and Rolfe playing on the wrong spots in the lineup. There were 6 new coaches this year in the MLS and one is going to the playoffs (Hans Backe). DLC is getting used to adjusting the league; for the part, it takes time for players to adjust to a system. Even though Frankowski was a flop, he made a great point on Hamlett’s style of soccer and he was frank about how Hamlett handled him. Hamlett had problems with Tomasz, Bakay and at times Blanco. That proves you that Hamlett is a pain in the neck to deal with. Not only he wasn’t a good coach, he was stubborn with his in game managing.

  2. DLC brought in his guys to replace those guys and they flopped. He also cut Busch in fave of a disaster in Dykstra, so Busch wasn’t “gone already.” Nice revisionist history though. Are you DLC’s family or something? Maybe, just maybe, the Fire teams Hamlett had weren’t as good as you think they were. Maybe, he actually got them further than they would have gone under someone else. Too bad you’re too busy enjoying attractive attacking soccer by DLC.

    Also, Frankowski sucked. How many games did you need to see that he didn’t work in MLS? Soumare had a foot out the door before the season started and Rolfe is barely above average. Next, you’ll start saying Hamlett ruined Mapp.

    Do you perform comedy on a nightly basis?

  3. In 2008-2009, Hamlett had guys like Rolfe, Blanco, Soumare with the additions with Frankowski and etc with Busch was the goalkeeper for the Fire. In those two years, the Fire had high expectations to win the MLS championship and it was held back due to failures of Hamlett’s coaching style with a loaded team. When De Los Cobos took over all those players like Rolfe, Busch, Blanco and Soumare were no longer on the team and DLC is trying different things with the players he currently has on his roster. If De Los Cobos had the 2009 Chicago Fire roster, maybe we wouldn’t have this debate right now. Remember, Sigi Schimd took over in Columbus, it took him more than a year for Columbus to be a competitive team; same goes for Bruce Arena in LA and Hyndman in Dallas. Sure, he gets part of the blame for mixing and matching the lineups but labeling DLC 100 percent of the blame is way over the top.

  4. Speaking of “HAHAHA”…I see you never responded to the link I provided a few months back.

    Fyi, if anyone wants a good laugh – go look at InkedAG’s MySpace. It’ll make you laugh for weeks.

  5. Good commentary…too bad they didn’t hire back Peter Wilt and let him run the show.

    “at the hands of USSF Division-2 side Charleston” Don’t know if a copy editor changed this on you, but it should be “USL Second Division side Charleston” Not anything big, but I thought I would point it out.

  6. As many above have mentioned, Chicago’s problem lay in that they’re not even improving. Even with the addition of two DP’s they’ve not moved forward, moreover they’ve moved back.

    The promise of attacking soccer is inherently meant to mean exciting, forward thinking soccer that happens while winning. dlC may instill a technically prettier and more aesthetically pleasing style of play, but without the W’s in that W/L columns, you’re not just of little use, you’re worthless.

  7. We need a coach that is going to come in and change things up a bit. DLC came in and played the same formation with the same players. But instead of keeping our outside backs back, he pushed them up and left us exposed in the back. Our forwards aren’t finishing this year and our defenders think they are midfielders. We get killed on the counter because it is Pause, Conde and Brown trying to defend their forwards and outside mids because of the outside backs trying to move up too much.

    As for Hamlett, he was never going to win us an MLS Cup. There was a reason he was the 3rd choice when he was hired. He is strictly a defense coach and forever a number 2. He made it to the semi finals 2 years in a row and still couldn’t land a job in the MLS because he is forever a number 2. He is at IIT now and that isn’t anywhere near the level he was coaching at a year ago. I’m glad Hamlett is gone, I just wish that we got someone other than DLC to replace him…

  8. I am not completely sold on the fact that this seasons lack of performance should be attributed to the coaching of De Los Cobos. Several things went wrong which were beyond the control of the coaching staff: 1) the loss off Blanco, Rolfe and Segares for half a season 2) the injuries to Thorrington, Nyarko, Castillo, Carr and John 3) the suspensions of Mapp, Ljungberg, Krol, Segeras and Conde 4) the lack of play from the aging vets McBride and Brown 5) and the release of Busch for the inexperienced Dykstra. All this can affect the continuity of play for throughout the season.

  9. The stupidity of those who accuse Ives of an agenda baffles me. He was a beat reporter who came down harder on Metro/RB than any other reporter and most fans. He asked hard questions, and players and the team often treated him like a leper.

    This website is doing something very ambitious: creating a league-wide, independent Internet news site that is primarily concerned with soccer in the USA. Accusations of bias are wrong. All SBI does is hold every team accountable for the team it puts on the field. As a fan, I am grateful for this source of MLS news. Really, the competition is MLS’s official site, which has some great writers, but exercises a heavy editorial hand when it gets down to laying things bare.

    Some of you youngins need perspective.


Leave a Comment