New Chicago Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas went right to work on Tuesday conducting his first training session and his first media sessions. The sports press was out in full press with cameras galore. You might have even noticed the coverage on the local news stations yesterday. I think this was in part due to Klopas' history in Chicago as a player and a famous soccer figure. It wasn't something I thought about before but look to see how this theory pans out over time. Coaching changes write themselves but this seems a little different. After the break, we'll take a look at Klopas' comments from a 'tactics' viewpoint and a 'the decision' viewpoint.
Klopas said the decision to fire Carlos de los Cobos was made by him, Director of Player Personnel Mike Jeffries and Andell Sports Group Managing Director Javier Leon. The new interim head coach and technical director also stated that the evaluation of Carlos de los Cobos started at the end of last year's MLS regular season. It wasn't one or two games that did CDLC in but rather there was a timetable that was setup for improvements. CDLC was not meeting that timetable so he was let go.
On the topic of timetables, Frank Klopas said that there is no timetable for hiring a replacement head coach. No list of candidates has been compiled but they will get into that process soon. When Klopas was asked if he ever had aspirations to be a coach, he strongly denied such interest. The reason he took the interim head coaching job is because he knows the players and him moving to coach enables a smooth transition. He did mention that there was the opportunity for him to take an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Fire under Denis Hamlett in 2008 but he was hired to be technical director for the team instead.
Klopas emphasized that the team is not in pre-season anymore so tweaks and not big changes would be best for the team going forward. When asked if he would be using a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-4-2, Klopas went with the 4-4-2 and said the team talked about using a 4-4-2 all the way back in pre-season. He would not commit to using the formation all year though commenting that he will work with the system that best fits the characteristics of the players on the team. On the subject of Marco Pappa's replacement, Klopas refused to even mention another player's name. He said anyone interested in finding out the answer should come out to Toyota Park this Saturday.
Frank Klopas survives his first day at the office. His style is to keep his cards close to his chest so I didn't expect anything less. Look for Klopas to let his actions speak louder than his words, just like how he played the game. I'm not sure that the Chicago Fire staff will look for someone similar who will lead with quiet leadership but if that is a factor you can rule out someone like Eric Wynalda.