Why the Fire Doesn't Fire Sarachan

This is pure gut reaction, but I still thought I'd throw it out there.

In spite of the now four consecutive losses - with the latest coming last night against Red Bull New York - and in spite of being outscored over that period by (and I'm going by memory here) 11-3, firing Chicago Fire head coach Dave Sarachan only makes sense in terms of economics - e.g. having a good enough team that, when Blanco shows up, people won't be so turned-off that they'll come out for something other than the one-time novelty factor.

In terms of on-field performance, I'd say the Fire are better off letting Sarachan continue through the end of the year - the main reason being the team. Check out the line-up against Red Bull:

Chicago Fire -- Matt Pickens, C.J. Brown, Jim Curtin (Thiago 70), Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Chris Armas, Justin Mapp (William DeOlivera 80), Brian Plotkin (Pascal Bedrossian 63), Ivan Guerrero, Calen Carr, Chad Barrett.

Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Jerson Monteiro, Bakary Soumare, Daniel Woolard

There's not much left over on the full roster either.

As much as I like many of the players - Mapp, Pickens, Ivan Guerrero, even Jim Curtin - that's about it in terms of names that impress (me, anyway). Armas is a good player, but, I'm taken with an argument by Biz Mark of US Soccer Snob on Chicago's problems:

"This match [Fire v. FC Dallas] revealed that the FIRE can no longer afford to play converted defenders such as Gonzalo Segares, Ivan Guererro and Robinson as midfielders and expect them to cover for an aging central defensive tandem of CJ Brown and Chris Armas. Armas in particular looks like he aged ten years in the off season."

In blunt terms, the Fire is simply too old up the middle; on one level, I'm a little surprised they're not the team "taking a run" at Shalrie Joseph. Top that off with an offense both relying on one man so far (Chris Rolfe, on whom I'm a bit lukewarm) and waiting on a savior (Blanco), this team has too many holes to fill on the fly and with the resources on hand. Also, if they did make the major - and I'd argue required - changes they'd surrender points during the process of getting everyone on the same page. Under that admittedly shy-of-air-tight logic, I'd say the Fire leaves Sarachan to make the most of what he can with this season and look to the overhaul on the off-season. Best-case, he pulls off another late-season run like he did last year and the Fire still make the playoffs - and, yes, he'd still get canned for anything short of MLS Cup.

The only question, in my mind, is the economic piece. Even if the results don't come, it's possible (even if unlikely) that replacing the coach will a few people back to see what happens. And, as noted above, the Fire sure as hell don't want to suffer an attendance/revenue slump knowing they threw all that money at Blanco. But that, to my mind, is only the counter-argument: if I ran the Fire, I'd take the short-term hit and return to building the franchise later.


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