As the Chicago Fire toil through a five-match winless streak and are currently on the outside of the MLS playoff picture, one thing is clear -- Fire owner Andrew Hauptman pieced together the resources to turn this season around.
From mid-July to early August, the Fire brought in designated players Nery Castillo and Freddie Ljungberg. They brought back defender Gonzalo Segares. They traded midfielder Justin Mapp who had not produced in a couple of years. They inserted rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson into the net.
Sounds more like an offseason than a mid-season.
"It's a work in progress for sure," Hauptman said early this month. "My personality is I'm not easily satisfied. So I'd say there are certain things I'm proud of and certain less of. Our choices can always be better, and they need to be. We've made significant investments in the club, and I'm proud of the commitment we've shown."
The Fire have had their share of highs and lows this season. The most obvious low was a stretch from June 29 to July 17 that consisted of a U.S. Open Cup loss, two league defeats and two SuperLiga losses. Hauptman and company needed to make some significant adjustments to turn the tide.
"I'm not really interested in thinking about one of our years and just writing it off as a transition year," Hauptman said. "That's not an acceptable approach to me. All I can do is provide the resources to our team and leadership and push them to make decisions -- short-term and long-term. I do believe that when you look around the clubs in the league, no one can argue that we made some of the most significant investments on and off the field."
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