OTF Roundtable: Frank Yallop Out, Nelson Rodriguez In

Wow. That happened quick.

Quicker than we were able get to Home Depot for some new pitchforks and lanterns, the Chicago Fire organization borrowed some from the Bridgeview Grounds Crew and did it themselves, (maybe). As of Sunday afternoon Technical Director and Head Coach Frank Yallop is out (along with his coaching staff), and Owner Andrew Hauptman has installed a General Manager with some serious league chops — Nelson Rodriguez. Read Fire’s official release here, and read below for some additional speculation.

So, we ask our illustrious OTF Writers Pool: Do the recent Fire Front Office and coaching changes make you more optimistic, pessimistic, or increasingly indifferent about the future of the organization?

George Gorecki

The Frank Yallop Era has been the worst two-year stretch in Chicago Fire history. How can one be anything but optimistic about the Fire’s future following his dismissal? Honestly, could it be worse?
Nelson Rodriguez has an impressive resume as a soccer executive. Regardless of how much influence the league exerted to make this happen, Rodriguez appears to be well suited to engineer a turnaround.
What remains to be seen is whether his boss gives him the autonomy to run the organization. If Rodriguez has a free hand in reshaping the Fire to his standards, the club has a chance to become competitive and relevant again.
Go out and hire the best coach available. Build a roster that is competent front to back. Sign Designated Players who are difference-makers and who want to win. Add that up, and the Fire will be contenders for trophies again.

Lucas Hammer

I have no fucking idea how to feel about this change. I want to be optimistic, but I’ve wanted to be optimistic for the last five years, and everyone knows how that turned out.

I think it’s going to come down to how much control Rodriguez is actually going to have, which we won’t see until he’s had time to get in and shake things up.

Offseason moves won’t be enough to convince me, especially after all of the promising signings last winter. The Fire will have to have a decent run to move me from indifference to optimism.

I feel like anything is better than this year, but I’ve said that a few years in a row. In short, ask again in May.


Brian Battle

In case you couldn’t tell from me hitting the pause button on my snarky response to Orlando’s win, this was the greatest news I’ve head about the Fire since, well… since two years ago when they hired Yallop. While a coaching change at this point would have been purely cosmetic, the fact that the Fire brought in a real wolf of a GM means a lot more.

Although I head later on The Best Soccer Show, on Sunday OTF’s dear friend Austin Fido succinctly described the new General Manager, Nelson Rodriguez, as “MLS’s answer to The Wolf in Pulp Fiction.”

Rordiguez is a “fixer,” an insider with years of MLS experience, a focus on player development (Hey Harry Shipp, Matt Polster) with some history with dealing with under-performing clubs. He’s paired with Brian Bliss as interim manager — a guy who has made some very nice player personnel moves in Chicago (and previously in Columbus), and now he’s backed by Fire legend Logan Pause who is back on the grass as an assistant coach.

Nothing has really happened yet, but I can’t help but feel that this is a positive development, and a move that feels a bit like the league itself is finally swooping in, either directly or indirectly.

For your enjoyment, here are some images of The Wolf:


Welcome to Bridgeview


Substitute “oak” for “quality D.P.”, and “Jimmie” for “Andrew”


…the rejected title of this article…


The Wolf’s reaction to Brian Bliss’ talent evaluations


…finally someone will…


…to Atul…