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Klopas dismissed by Chicago Fire

Frank Klopas

The Chicago Fire saw their 2013 season end amid a blaze of New York Red Bulls goals in Sunday’s 5-2 loss at Red Bull Arena. The result kicked off Supporters Shield celebrations for the Red Bulls, but also signaled the end of another coaching era in Chicago.

The Fire have parted ways with head coach Frank Klopas, firing him after parts of three seasons in charge of the club.

Klopas took over as head coach during the 2011 season, taking over for Carlos De Los Cobos. That season he helped turn the Fire around, going from 1-4-6 to a final record of 9-9-16, as well as a berth in the U.S. Open Cup final (where the Fire lost to Seattle).

Klopas helped lead the Fire to the playoffs in 2012, but Chicago lost to Houston in the Eastern Conference play-in game. This year the Fire started the season 2-7-1, but rallied with a strong second half and finished the season tied with Montreal, but missed out on the playoffs due to total goals scored.

Who will replace Klopas?

That is a good question considering it remains unclear just who will be making the hiring decisions. Javier Leon has been the man overseeing the Chicago Fire for owner Andrew Hauptman, but sources tell SBI that Leon is also leaving the Fire.

What do you think of this development? Think Klopas should have been fired? Who would you like to see replace him?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Also, how could I forget Sherjill MacDonald and Alvaro Fernandez? I think some of these failed signings I’ve listed are still on the Fire books, out on loan.

    • why are you reminding us of all the failures of the past few years….my eyes, they hurt!!! 😉

      i’m 100% behind dropping Leon, and about 75% behind dropping Klopas. I think he was ok, but in the end probs best to move on with an entirely new FO to see what they can create.

  2. Now that I’ve jogged my memory, here are 2 more significant failed signings of the Klopas era as Fire TD/coach: Tomasz Frankowski (who has scored another 52 goals in Poland since he left Chicago) and Freddie Ljungberg (who played OK but stayed only briefly).

  3. Klopas has been Fire coach for 2-1/2 years but he was technical director before that. He’s been in charge of the on-field product for about as long as Hauptman has owned the team. One of those years, 09, they came a PK shootout from making the final.

    But they canned the coach Denis Hamlett (who was Frank’s buddy), put in his choice as replacement (de Los Cobos), revamped the roster with bad players and missed playoffs for 2 years. Then in his 2 years on the bench they were better but ultimately just a bubble team that faded down the stretch and did not get the job done in the most crucial games, home as well as away.

    Bottom line, he controlled the roster and there was huge turnover thru this whole period, with the failures (Krystztof Krol, Nery Castillo, some Salvadorans in 2010, Collins John, Anangono, Cristian Nazarit, Diego Chavez, Lindpere, Gaston Puerari, Orr Barouch, etc.) far outnumbering the relative successes (Friedrich, Magee, Arevalo Rios, Alex). In a couple other cases of success, Oduro and Grazzini, Klopas ran them off anyway.

    In Klopas’ defense, you can say Hauptman was tight with money, especially lately. But I don’t blame Hauptman for being more careful with investments since so much money was not well spent. Remember, they spent huge money on Nery Castillo, who barely saw the field. The rest of the failures listed above got paid something too — in the end, more than they were worth, no matter what they paid for them.

    To wrap up, I’d say Klopas did not get the best out of many players, did not develop enough young players (the only notable exceptions being Austin Berry and Sean Johnson) and he did not make the right adjustments in many games.

    So this was a long time coming.

    • Most fans of the Fire, I think, would agree with the majority of your assessment. There seems to be an inordinate amount of Hauptman bashing, which comes with the territory and is more due to the issue with the FO itself rather than the product on the field, which has been, although disappointing from a fan’s standpoint, consistently average.

      I do take issue with Chavez and Lindpere being labelled failures however. Chavez was a decent backup forward and wasn’t paid a huge amount (compared to Puppo, McDonald, Castillo). Lindpere was statistically better than his fellow starting wingers, Duka and Nyarko, this year (Lindpere had a goal or assist every 144 minutes, compare to Duka every 255 and Nyarko every 269).

      • you know what they say about stats, right? use the eye test, lindpere was nowhere near as effective as those others.

  4. I don’t follow the Fire day-to-day, but it seems harsh.This whole mentality of win immediately or be fired is just so stupid (you can use that quote). Yes, he’s had the reins for parts of three years, and a new owner probably wants to hire “his” guy but the team was terrible in the beginning of the year and he almost made the playoffs. The story is always the same just the names are changes.

    • and yet his team was always super streaky when he was in charge. either really good or really bad. and the team started the season out of shape, which to me falls on the coach. lindpere basically echoed this in his statements when leaving the team.

      i like klopas, yet i think he’s just about an average coach. i hate to see him leave as a fire fan, but i’m not sure this is “harsh” as much as a decision you could argue either way. i’m all for changing up the entire FO, the team has been making some really bad decisions during Frank’s tenure (w/him partially at the realm of player decisions) and he was brought in during Hauptman’s tenure, so it has nothing to do with getting “his guy” either.

      anyway, it was probably for the best, imo.

  5. Most likely he would have been fired sooner had they not acquired Magee from the Galaxy . TheFire were just plain lucky to get Magee and was the best “to have a player fall into your lap” acquisition by an MLS team

  6. I liked when Klopas played for the USMNT. Him and Ramos were from a small group of players that could dribble past somebody on the international level.

  7. In the game the Fire needed more than anything–to make the playoffs–Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe started on the bench.

    Patrick Nyarko is easily one of the top wingers in MLS–his speed and technical ability nearly unmatched. Yet, some no named desperation DPs brought in mid-season to satisfy an angry fanbase relegated him to the bench.

    As a Red Bull fan–I can only say thank you. Thank you for benching your best players. Clown.

    You lost 5-2.

    • I also feel like they only started creating “something” late in the 2nd half only after our ex boy Lindpere came off the bench. Before that their attacked looked pretty unexisting ever since half time. So that another player that probably should be starting for them, especially if you have a due or die game you might want your experienced players out there

      • Sorry Victor. No way Lindpere should have been starting. Duka and Nyarko were by far the best wingers for the Fire all season. Lindpere would nail a nice cross on occasion, but that’s about all he offered.

    • Nyarko DID start on Sunday and played 60. That’s pretty typical for him. And I’m a big Rolfe fan, but he just hasn’t been effective most of the year.

      If anything, I think most Fire fans would have liked to see Duka stay in longer. He’s been one of the best on the team at creating this year (see the first goal Sunday).

  8. My lasting impression of Klopas was how they clobbered the Dynamo during the regular season last year running Nyarko and Oduro at our slow defense and then in the playoffs he starts McDonald, slows the game down, and we win.

    I suspect with his record he will get another MLS job if he wants it, but I think he’s better at roster tinkering than game management.

  9. Would one of the MLS clubs please hire Eric Wynalda as a coach. Come on, you have to admit, it would be fun and I bet they would win either the MLS CUP or the Open Cup, which would then put him on the sidelines of CCL games! YES!!!!!

    • Han Solo…The force is strong with you. I have been a big fan of Wynalda for years and would love to see him on the sidelines of the Fire. And if you ask him, he still loves the Fire organization.
      Also, thank you Frankie. Chicago legend…just your time to go. See you at Arnos Place!!!

    • Amen, Klopas wasn’t the main problem, although always playing back when you’re down seems to go to the coaching. The owners have to be changed. It’s like they don’t even try.

    • Right, because Denver-based Phil Anschutz is working out so poorly for LA, or the Supporter’s Shield winners with their owner from AUSTRIA, or the primary investor in the Sounders (Joe Roth) who lives in Seattle. The owner might be bad, I don’t know, but these “I need a clean and easy juxtaposition so I’m gonna SH&T on LA” attacks on the owner are silly. A lot of rich people live in LA, many more than in Chicago, I am sure there are tons of people in LA you would love to have owning the Fire. I know I do.

    • “Breaths that city”?! First of all, “BREATHES” is what, I think, you meant. Secondly, what the hell does that mean?! And what difference does the origin of a team’s ownership make? THAT’s a Chicago point of view all right. Don’t send nobody NOBODY sent!
      This team’s glory years were when PHIL ANSCHUTZ (sp.?) owned the team; and if I recall, AEG is headquartered in LOS ANGELES! (Or does he run it all from his CHALET in Telluride?)
      C’mon, really?

  10. Sorry to see Frankie go, but maybe it’s a good thing. Sundays game was awful hard to take, his subs were for players that were playing their best soccer. Nothing but good luck to Frank, he is a faithful Chicagoian thru-out. Let’s go after either Peter Nowak or C.J. Brown.

  11. He didnt seem like a bad coach to me, but not great either. Sucks they got a red hot NYRB to finish the the season. 5-2 is a bitter way to end.

  12. I agree–seems kind of harsh. He had a pretty good record. As a Fire fan, I always thought that he seemed to have a pretty good rapport with the players. But who knows what goes on behind the scenes. Maybe the club is sending a message that making the playoffs is the minimum expectation; and being a consistent contender is the normal expectation. Of course, the manager is only one part of the formula needed to make that happen.

  13. Team was bad when they had major holes… was pretty good after the holes were filled… so what did Klopas do wrong exactly? Seems harsh, though to be fair I don’t follow the day-to-day of the Fire…

    • He couldn’t coach an AYSO team. His subs made the Bradley World Cup 2010 subs look genius. He should be kept around as a glad handed. Soft practices called up by Lindpere though not Franks fault Lindpere made Blanco look like speed racer This year. Need a good GM maybe Nicol? Please no Priki and double please no Marsch

    • The consensus amongst fans was that even after the holes were filled, the team underperformed due to Klopas’ failure to understand his team’s strengths (attacking talent) and inability to address its shortcomings (unreliable back four). Since he could neither take advantage of what the team did well nor fix what it did poorly, he had to go.

      • Unreliable back four? Didn’t they have the only two players to play every minute of ever game this year in MLS?

      • Surely he means “unreliable [to not leak 2-3 goals a game]” rather than “unreliable [to feature in most games]”

        Soumare (who was supposedly the replacement for Freidrich) is inconsistent and unstable; Berry is still maturing; Anibaba is still being played out of position; Segares is quickly ageing. Sure, they started most games together, but you couldn’t rely on them to not suck.

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