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Evaluating Fire Managerial Candidates Via FM18

Is the grass really greener?

Veljko Puanovic’s future with the Chicago Fire remains up in the air as his contract nears its end. We’ve discussed whether Pauno should remain or not and as the season draws to a close, it is clear that the club needs a change – whether if it is #paunoout or #paunoin. I’ve decided to sim a season via Football Manager 2018 with potential suitors (both realistic and far-fetched) who could replace Pauno.

So is the grass greener on the other side? Let’s find out. For this simulation I left the club intact in its current state. The only difference is the manager in charge.

Sigi Schimd

Although his most recent stint with the LA Galaxy was a bust, he has the credentials to walk into any MLS team and manage them. He’s won the MLS Cup twice, Supporters Shield three times and won the US Open Cup a staggering five times – more than the Fire. So how does it fair over in Bridgeview?

During the Winter transfer window, he signed Jacob Peterson, Jeb Brovsky, Alex Horwath. In his first competitive game in charge he drew 2-2 with That Yellow Team. From that point on, things went south. In his next fourteen games in charge, he won twice, drew three times and lost nine times. One of those loses came from a 0-2 USL side Richmond Kickers in the US Open Cup. He shortly got the sack after that.

Bruce Arena

There is a slim chance that the former USMNT and LA Galaxy coach would take be the next manager but with Nelson Rodriguez at the helm, anything incredibly awful can happen, and that is exactly what happened. During his season with the Fire, he loaned off Diego Campos and Elliot Collier. Lost to Minnesota United in the 5th round US Open Cup and ended up finishing 7th place in the Eastern Conference and 12th place overall in the Supporters’ Shield Race with a record of 12-8-14.

But I guess he was better than Schimd.

Caleb Porter

Personally, I would love to see Porter take over the Fire. As I mentioned in one of my previous article on who should replace Pauno, he’s a winner. I’d like to see someone with that mentality managing the Fire. My gawking aside, let’s see if FM18 backs up my daydreams.

Before the start of the season, he signed Alex Horwath to be the Fire’s starting goalkeeper and loaned Elliot Collier out to Barnsley. He started out strong, winning the first ten league games. One of his first few blips in the season was 0-2 defeat to Atlanta United in the US Open Cup. However he finished the season on top of the Eastern Conference and won the Supporters’ Shield with a 24-7-3 record. The Porter honeymoon ended when the Fire lost 6-3 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference final.

WE’RE TOP OF THE LEAGUE

Jose Mourinho

I’ve (partially) joked in the last roundtable that he should come to the Fire. Now, there’s no way a manager with is pedigree and caliber would ever manage a side like this, but what if he does? Will the Fire faithful be singing his name in unison? Or will they feel the (Chelsea) blues?

Before the start of the season, Mourinho loaned out Elliot Collier (I’m seeing a Collier trend here), Diego Campos and signed Josh Wicks on a free transfer. He drew his first five games (there’s a joke somewhere here) and he lost to Minnesota United 0-2 in the US Open Cup. After the All-Star Game, the Fire was 11th in the Supporters’ Shield Race. However Mourinho must of have done something as the Fire managed to meme their way to a playoff berth. The Fire beat that Yellow Team, Philadelphia Union and Atlanta United to host the MLS Cup Final against LA Galaxy which they won 2-1.

There is no doubt Mourinho is a winner, but his attitude at times could be a concern. Does the Fire need someone who discriminates his own staff?