It's an early and empty offseason for the Fire.
As eight Major League Soccer teams opened the playoffs this weekend, the Fire — perennial playoff contenders — were on the outside looking in for only the second time in its 13 seasons.
"The feeling inside is not good," said Fire technical director Frank Klopas, whose team was 9-12-9 in Carlos de los Cobos' first season. "It's an empty feeling right now (especially) when you set certain goals and the goals have not been achieved."
Fire officials now are deliberating what went wrong after their worst regular season finish since 2004.
"You have to have an honest look at yourself," Klopas said. "You need to look back and evaluate everything and try to make sure that you've learned from good things and bad ... and that also means evaluating myself."
But the franchise also eyes a more promising future as its third president since 2008 settles in.
New chief executive Julian Posada lacks experience in professional sports, but a retread sports executive wasn't what owner Andrew Hauptman and top lieutenant Javier Leon had in mind.
Instead they have brought in an energetic entrepreneur.
Posada offers a lengthy track record of launching and sustaining new businesses, a wealth of connections across a broad spectrum of Chicago's business and non-profit worlds and extensive ties to the region's Hispanic communities.
"We were looking for someone who had run an actual business," said Leon, managing director of Hauptman's Andell Sports Group, of the man who replaced Dave Greeley. "No. 2, we were looking for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. The business with the Fire requires that energy. And we were also hoping to get someone who was very well connected to the community in Chicago.
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