Season Recap: Chicago Fire

Season Recap: Chicago Fire

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 16, 2009
  • 2009 Season Recaps, Brian McBride, Chris Rolfe, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Denis Hamlett, Justin Mapp, Marco Pappa, Wilman Conde

Expect a new look Fire in 2010. (Getty Images)

The 2009 season for the Chicago Fire was expected to be a big one. Talks of MLS Cup and Supporter’s Shield were all the rage to begin the season. Early on this year it looked like the expectations were being met as the Fire lost a single game in the first three months of the season.

Then came the summer where sometimes good teams go to waste. The Fire found some injuries got in the way of a dream season as Brian McBrdie went out with a shoulder injury while head coach Denis Hamlett struggled to keep a locker room happy. The Fire defense, which was once one of the best in the league started to come up short and even more so once Bakery Soumare left town.

Down the stretch the Fire kept coming up short as injuries piled up and their home play was anything less than stellar. In the final 12 games the club only won four games while never really finding any sort of consistent play.

In the end PKs did the club in against Real Salt Lake in the eastern conference finals. Their home play at Toyota Park was still a weakness and now they head into an offseason with a load of questions.

What Went Right In 2009:
When things were clicking and all parties involved were healthy this was one hell of a club. The depth early on was there for this bunch but towards the end even that depth wasn’t enough to push them towards a MLS Cup. McBride and Blanco were still a force to deal with and guys like Wilman Conde in the back were still some of the best in the league. On any given day the Fire could beat you any way around the field they wanted to with Blanco leading the attack.

What Went Wrong In 2009:
Let’s just say expectations were not even close to being met in the Windy City. Sure they reached the conference final but this bunch had better things expected out of them to start the year. The injury to McBride was a real killer in the middle of the year as the offense really never found it’s punch even though guys like Chris Rolfe were still tough to hold up around net. Once the word got out about Hamlett and Soumare and the locker room issues there the club really never was the same again. Questions surrounded whether or not Hamlett would return and they still will for the coming weeks.

What’s Next:
A lot of changes are going to take place over the next few weeks. Blanco is going to Mexico as we know. Rolfe is out to Europe and I’d expect a few more changes to come after that. No word yet on if McBride is coming back for another year and I would imagine a lot of that comes down to who will be coaching this club next year. Hamlett may still come back for the 2010 season but one has to wonder if he really is the right man for the gig. I’d imagine we will hear about his status over the next week or so before the expansion draft. After that expect some moves to happen and some player to leave.