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Chicago Fire Notebook: Coaching Candidates, More Green Cards, Gaga Slonina, and more!

As the regular season wraps up, the Chicago Fire are closer to finding the club’s next head coach

MLS: LAFC Practice
LAFC assistant coach Ante Razov at practice at Cal State LA.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As The Athletic first reported last week, LAFC assistant/Chicago Fire legend Ante Razov, Sporting Kansas City II head coach Paulo Nagamura, and Columbus Crew assistant Ezra Hendrickson will all travel to Chicago soon to interview in person for the Fire’s vacant head coaching position. Those interviews could end up happening sooner rather than later, especially if Razov’s LAFC and Hendrickson’s Crew miss the postseason.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Bob Bradley is not considered to be a candidate for the job, sources tell Hot Time in Old Town.

The Fire’s interim head coach, Frank Klopas, hinted that he has opinions on the candidates, but didn’t let on much during a news conference on Wednesday.

“I have my own views, but I’ll keep it my own views for now,” Klopas said. “But from the names that I’ve heard, I’m actually excited. I’m excited for all of them, but I’m not gonna give anything away right now.”

LAFC sits in 9th in the west at the moment, just outside the playoff picture, and the Fire can help speed along Hendrickson’s interview by keeping the Crew out of the playoffs with a win in Columbus this Sunday. While these are the first three candidates the Fire are bringing in for the opening, it’s possible the club will bring in more candidates.

Gaga’s Future

The Fire’s 17-year-old star goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina is getting a huge amount of attention, as you might expect. He’s been more-than-solid since getting the job after the Fire were clearly out of the playoff race.

“There really isn’t much pressure,” Klopas said of Slonina. “It’s been great to give him the games that he needs, and the confidence. But it’s gonna be a whole different role for him next year, if he’s competing, if he’s the number one guy going into it, the expectations will be very high.”

As for his international future, Slonina recently told ESPN’s Futbol Americas it’s up in the air. Slonina said he still hasn’t decided whether he’ll represent the United States or Poland, and that it’s “50-50”.

Ivanov gets his Green Card

The Fire’s Stanislav Ivanov is back in Chicago, after traveling to Europe to wrap up his U.S. green card. The move means Ivanov will no longer occupy an international slot on next year’s Fire roster. The Fire have a couple more players will appointments scheduled in the coming weeks, which should give the club some flexibility this off season.