BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Carlos de los Cobos’ first season in MLS didn’t quite go according to plan. The former El Salvador coach – who led La Selecta into the CONCACAF Hexagonal in 2010 World Cup qualifying – was slow to adapt to the league, failing to guide the Chicago Fire to the playoffs for just the second time in team history.
Despite his struggles, the Mexican head man will be back for another go-around in 2011 and – as he told MLSsoccer.com – he’s hoping for a much better ride.
MLSsoccer.com: It may have not gone as you planned, but how do you feel about your first year in MLS?
De los Cobos: For me, it’s a very great experience because I had the opportunity to learn many things. I know the style of play better, know the teams better and know the mentality of the American player better. Now, I have more tools to apply next season and I’m very excited. I’ve had a lot of years in soccer; I understand that things don’t happen very easily. Every coach needs time to apply his style and to build the team. That’s very important to me and I’m excited because I’m sure the next season will be better for us.
MLSsoccer.com: What was it like adjusting to a new league?
De los Cobos: This last season for me was a time to adapt to the new style of play. Sometimes the coach wants to apply some style of play, but maybe that’s not the best option for us. Maybe we need to use the qualities of the players to build a style of play.
[inline_node:318000]MLSsoccer.com: You tried bringing an attractive, possession-based style of play. How do you feel that tactic worked?
De los Cobos: I think all the coaches – especially me – wish to play in some way that the fans enjoy. Sometimes you can do it; sometimes it’s difficult because of the characteristics of the players.
MLSsoccer.com: Will you try to use the same style next year?
De los Cobos: We are evaluating what happened because it’s very important to learn. But I think that I always wish to play the same way: to make the fans happy.
MLSsoccer.com: What are your goals for 2011?
De los Cobos: Playoffs. I think we have a big commitment – I have a big commitment – to do that for the fans and for the club. My most important objective is to make the playoffs and I think that we can do it.
MLSsoccer.com: What needs to change so that you do make the playoffs next year?
De los Cobos: I think everybody needs to improve, starting with me. I need to improve. I will stay more comfortable in the next season because I know the league better, the development better and the players better, too. It’ll be easier next year because the first season is difficult for everybody. The knowledge about the ambience about the players you are working with is very important.