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Friday Mailbag & Open Thread: Three Billboards Outside Bridgeview, Illinois

We talk Lee Nguyen (yes, still), billboards, and baggage

MLS: Sporting KC at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Hot Time Friday Mailbag! This is going to get a bit heavy in a bit, so I want to start with a couple questions before we get into the biggest topic of the week, with all its introspection and things.

As a reminder, you can always ask questions for next week using the hashtag #AskHotTime on Twitter, or in the comments below.

There are two ways to look at this question: on the field and off the field.

On the field? Yes. Lee Nguyen knows how to run an offence. That’s not something the Fire have at the moment. When the Fire have the ball, they either run it down the wings for Polster and Vincent to put crosses in, or they fiddle around with the ball trying to identify holes to exploit in the defense, and not executing in exploiting them. Nguyen is good it identifying these holes in defenses, and is an accurate passer. He’ll even score a goal or two. As a player, the Fire definitely could do far worse.

If you’re talking about the other value of a #10, the off-field value? His ability to put butts in seats, to get people to pay Bristol, CT 4.99 a month, or push merchandise? Then no. Hell no. Lee Nguyen is nowhere close to the #10 that the Fire need. He’s not a superstar. He won’t move the excitement and interest needles at all. The only people who will care about his signing are the hardcore fans who are all in anyway. Lee Nguyen is not a fantasy. And that’s the biggest problem for the Fire at the moment as a brand and an organization. There’s no wonder or fantasy in their organization. Bastian Schweinsteiger is a very good player, probably one of the best in the league, but he’s not a superstar at the superstar position, and neither is Lee Nguyen. And that’s what the Fire need off the field.

I often wonder if billboards are really as effective as advertising things as other things. Sure, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s attractive face 20 feet in the air would be great to see, and would give us as fans validation at seeing “the thing we like” hanging over the interstate. But in a world where everyone’s face is stuck in their phones so you have to concentrate at avoiding them crashing into you at all times, I’m not sure billboards are the most effective marketing campaign one can do. They’re running plenty of digital ads, and they’re probably doing other things that aren’t as visible. In fact, I know they are, because I saw an ad on the back of a bus on my way to school, so they do exist.

There are players who can do what Alan Gordon does without Alan Gordon’s baggage. And even then, having a player who’s only job is to kill the game is a waste of a roster spot. Sherjill MacDonald was better at it then Gordon was, and we ran him out of town, and by all accounts, and my interactions with him, he was a good teammate and well liked. He’s also thirty six, and spent the last several years with crappy teams and an LA Galaxy squad with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane...

You know, I spent about an hour trying to figure out a long response about how we have to ask ourselves what behavior we’re willing to excuse. But then I realized we were talking about Alan Gordon. He said in his apology that “[the indecent] does not reflect my feelings toward the gay and lesbian community.” Yes it did, Gordo. You don’t call Will Johnson a f*ggot without some subconscious dislike for LGBT people. Fuck you.