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Friday Mailbag And Open Thread: The Long Goodbye

Ruben laments the end of the Fire-Crew rivalry and considers the future of two important figures at Toyota Park

MLS: Columbus Crew at Chicago Fire Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

[Editor’s note: the fan pictured above with a bag over his head, seen also on cf97 social media last night, is none other than our own Adnan Basic. We’re all very proud and slightly mortified by his newfound fame. -JBG]

Yesterday we said goodbye to the Columbus Crew and the Midwest Derby for the foreseeable future. On top of all the things wrong with the Fire’s season that have been documented exhaustively this year, this one may be the saddest. The only away day I’ve ever been on was to Columbus in 2013. It’s where I got my favorite Section 8 On Tour scarf, It’s where I met so many people in the community so that if I’m ever in the North Lot, I don’t feel like I have to stand around awkwardly waiting for Rudy to give me a free experimental beer. (I do that anyway though. Free beer is nice.) This rivalry was so good for the game and it gave meaning to these nothing games. I’m going to miss hating That Yellow Team. Godspead you trash college town.

Let’s talk about something positive from yesterday. Mo Adams came in for 25 minutes and absolutely shut down Pipa Higuain in the second half. Just like he did against Piatti that one time in Montreal. This kid is for real, and probably one of the few good things that Nelson Rodriguez has done in his time as the Fire’s GM and president. Give credit where it’s due. It may be overreaching, but I can easily see him in the Ring of Fire someday. Mo Adams is a top level talent. Let’s hope the next manager/GM combo whenever they get here doesn’t screw it up.

Now onto the mailbag questions. You can send me questions every week on Twitter using the hashtag #AskHotTime.

Basti has said he wants to come back. It seems he really likes living here, and if he thinks he has something to contribute, you’d be a fool to say no. However! The midfield absolutely has to get younger, and as stated above, Mo Adams is ready to take charge, and If Dax McCarty stays here, that’s one less place in the midfield for open competition. If Schweinsteiger wants to say, I’d love to have him, but not at the expense of Mo Adams.

My feelings on Velko Paunovic are conflicting.

On the one hand, I feel really sorry for him. He’s been given practically no help from upper management in terms of personnel. Nelson Rodriguez failed to bring in the type of talent needed to improve on last year’s finishing position, and even failed to find replacement level talent to keep the boat steady. (My feelings on the Nico Hasler signing in particular are not positive.)

On the other hand, he’s not making it any easier on himself. The “Brandon Vincent Is Not A Centerback” refrain has turned into a running gag, but is no less true. When his instincts take over, he defaults to left back positioning (especially on crosses coming in from the right-hand side), causing him to leave his mark. That’s what caused the equalizer for C-bus last night, and it’s what will continue to cause the Fire harm for the rest of the season.

To answer the question— yes he will stay on until the end of the year, because they’re nothing to gain by having a caretaker manager. If they start winning, it would only cause more frustration when they go to hire a full time manager next year, so he may as well just finish it out. Also, AH didn’t remove Frank Klopas when a new manager may have made a difference. I don’t see them doing it when it doesn’t matter.