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Heitz, Mansueto discuss the state of the Chicago Fire, Soldier Field, Robert Beric, and more

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The two men spent more than an hour fielding questions this week

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Following Thursday’s discussion with reporters about the purchase of FC Lugano, Chicago Fire owner Joe Mansueto and sporting director Georg Heitz fielded a wide range of questions about the current state of the club, and where they see things moving forward. Here’s a bit of what we learned:

Mansueto is happy with the direction of the club long-term, but he’s displeased with the short-term

Mansueto: “I like the way things are trending. It’s not always a nice, linear line to success. There’s kind of this waviness. I like the direction. We need to push harder. It’s still important to me the drive to make the playoffs. But if you ask me, we’re disappointed with where we are today. We thought we’d be at or above the playoff line, so that’s clearly a disappointment. Sports are black and white. The results speak for themselves, so we have to do better. It’s not where we need to be, or where our ambitions are at all.”

Don’t expect the Fire to make a splash with a high profile star designated player unless it makes sense in the overall plan

Mansueto: “The best way to run any business, sporting or business, is to really be focused on the long term. Make sure you’re doing the right things in the short term for the long term, and not try and put Band-Aids on things. It’s not about, OK, go get star player X for $10 million dollars, plop that person in and things will be great. That doesn’t really create a sustainable organization process for success.”

When it comes to firing staff, Mansueto is not Roman Abramovich

Mansueto: “I think people often end up spinning their wheels changing staff, changing this, changing that, and it doesn’t get them where they need to go. I like to work with people over a longer term, and be more patient. I think if we keep at it, focus on it, use our brains and work hard, we’ll figure it out.”

Mansueto is happy in Soldier Field, whether or not the Bears move.

Mansueto: “I still believe we can fill that stadium and create an awesome fan experience. Our mindset today is making Soldier Field work to the maximum extent possible. If we find over many years that something is lacking, there’s a better solution with another plan, I think we’ll take a look at it, we’ll evaluate it, but you know Chicago, it’s not obvious where you would put another stadium. We just moved far away from the city center, into the city center, so I don’t want to do the reverse. I like where we are. I know people keep mentioning a new stadium—it’s not coming from me. It’s coming from people who are asking the question, but I’m happy with Soldier Field.”

Mansueto: “If the Bears leave, it would help our scheduling issues, so there would be some positives. You know, there could be some negatives, where maybe the city doesn’t invest as much in renovations, so, where I come out net-net I’d rather have the Bears stay than leave.”

Georg Heitz isn’t sure whether Álvaro Medrán is staying in Chicago

Heitz: “Difficult to predict. So many things can change so quickly. The fact is he’s under contract until the end of the year. We have an option to extend the contact. We’ll have to sit down with him and speak.”

Heitz has mixed feelings about his three designated players

Heitz on Ignacio Aliseda: “I think we have to look at each case individually. Aliseda, for example, he’s still 21, he was a bit unfortunate this season, he struggled with muscle injuries, but you could see in many games what he’s capable to do.”

Heitz on Gastón Giménez: “I disagree a little bit on Gastón Giménez. I think he’s a little bit underrated. It was a decision that we made—he might not be positional-wise such a spectacular player like other DPs in the league, but I think he brings a lot to the team.”

Heitz on Robert Berić: “With Robert, indeed this is not enough. He knows. We know. It happens every now and then to every striker. We also have to say last season he did well, really well. There are strikers, DPs in this league who score much more... Look, every player in our team has to prove every day that he can play, and he can deliver. In the end, they also play for contracts, whether they are DPs or not.”