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Friday Mailbag & Open Thread: Not Good Enough

Ruben rants about the state of the Fire, ToN 2018, attendance figures, and more

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been struggling with what to write about here for a few days now. There’s so much misery surrounding the Chicago Fire Soccer Club that whenever the topic pops up in my brain, I just start to feel despondent. It’s like the classic cartoon scene where the day is beautiful and there’s a person with a personal rain cloud over their head. I am the person, and the Fire is the rain cloud. Those two European signings that were potentially coming? One fell through, and there’s been no news on the other. The Transfer window closes next Wednesday. It seems like there’s no hope of any new signings on the horizon. This is a massive failure, one I didn’t think Nelson Rodriguez was capable of. And yet, here we are.

We’re coming on a decade of failure for Andrew Hauptman. It was clear he had no idea how to win when he took over the club from Uncle Phil at AEG. However, it’s now apparent to me that Andrew Hauptman has zero desire beyond giving lip service about wanting to win championships. This is not the way a championship organization conducts business. They do not fail to improve their squad, regardless of having to overpay a little. They do not stagnate and nothing is ever “good enough.” They do not exile a large group of fans on a whim. Andrew Hauptman needs to get out of the sports business and go back to funding bad Hollywood movies. Sports just isn’t for you. Get out.

Meanwhile, a full house watched the USWNT won the Tournament of Nations by beating Brazil, giving Jill Ellis another reprieve from losing her job. But this isn’t about that. My hope that crowd shows up to the next Chicago Red Stars game, that would be rad. It also shows that if you put a product worth watching on the field, people will show up to Bridgeview. I’ve said it for a while that Bridgeview stadium location was just a lame excuse. This is just more evidence in my favor.

That’s a good question. The last time the Fire hosted the Open Cup final, it was 2006, and they won it. There were 8k and change inside Toyota Park. I’d like to think that there would be more this time around. The tournament is at a higher profile, and finals have been anywhere between 14-22k over the last five years. However, the negative atmosphere surrounding the club, the alienation of the fanbase, and the mediocre to bad marketing department makes me think that this could be the lowest attended final in modern USOC history. If you want a number, I’ll say around 10k.

The simple answer is that Velko Paunovic think that he is the best player to do so, and to be honest, I’m not sure that that’s far from the truth. Grant Lillard is injured, Jonathan Campbell hasn’t really impressed, and Christian Dean is a USL level player. Yes they just signed a guy off the trash heap, but I doubt he’s any damn good either. The whole back line situation stinks.

Thank you for reading. If you want to submit questions to next week’s mailbag, please get at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskHotTime.