Bradley: Season has slipped away from Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Bob Bradley knows a thing or two about the Chicago Fire organization.

The US national team manager was the Fire’s first-ever head coach, and easily their most successful one, too. Bradley won three trophies with the Fire – the 1998 MLS Cup and the 1998 and 2000 US Open Cups – and made the playoffs all five years he was in the Windy City.

Unfortunately for Chicago, Bradley’s success – which landed him in the “Ring of Fire” Hall of Fame in 2007 – has yet to be replicated by another. That’s especially true this year, as the Fire are looking like a lock to miss the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history.

Bradley, who is in Chicago ahead of the US’ friendly on Saturday against Poland at Soldier Field, commented on the Fire’s disappointing 2010 on Wednesday.

“I know that everyone involved with the Fire and all the fans always have high expectations based upon the fact that the team has always been good,” Bradley said after leading the US through practice at Toyota Park. “But there are times when a season can … get away from you a little bit and that seems to have happened.

"I haven’t spoken specifically to anybody, but I get a sense that there’s certainly some disappointment with that.”

Many observers believe there will a number of changes before 2011 for the Fire, including the retirement of Brian McBride and the uncertain contract situation of All-Star defender Wilman Conde.

“The mark of any good team is to be able to look hard at where you are and look at your roster and make some decisions and think about how it can be moved forward,” Bradley said.

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.


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