The Chicago Fire have parted ways with head coach Carlos de los Cobos, the club announced Monday evening.
Frank Klopas, the team’s technical director since January of 2008, will serve as de los Cobos’ replacement on an interim basis. Klopas, a former Fire player who was inducted into the “Ring of Fire” in 2004, is expected to be on the bench when Chicago host Seattle on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“Since the Fire has elected to move in a new direction with its coaching staff midseason, we wanted to ensure a seamless transition by naming Frank Klopas interim head coach,” managing director Javier León said in a statement. “Frank's wealth of knowledge and experience as a player, scout, technical director and coach provide an extraordinary background for him to manage the team successfully as we work towards a MLS Cup playoff spot.”
De los Cobos was hired by the Fire in January of 2010 after three years in charge of the El Salvador national team. Thus far in 2011, Chicago are 1-4-6 in league play and winless in nine straight, currently second-from-bottom in the Eastern Conference.
The Fire missed the playoffs in 2010, de los Cobos’ first season at the helm, after advancing to the Eastern Conference Championship in each of the previous three years. It was just the second time in club history they had missed out on the postseason.
De los Cobos leaves MLS with a record of 10-16-15 in league play.
Klopas played four years in MLS and was an original member of the Fire, winning the MLS Cup and US Open Cup double in 1998. The Greek-born American also spent time in his native country, playing for AEK Athens and Apollon Athens in the mid-90s before coming back stateside for MLS’ debut season.
On the international level, Klopas represented the US 39 times and scored 12 goals.
Klopas retired as a player in January of 2000 and spent that season as the Fire’s strength and conditioning coach. He also spent two years as head coach of the Chicago Storm, an indoor soccer club, before become the Fire’s technical director.
“My passion and drive for this club to persevere through this transition is my top priority,” Klopas said in a statement. “I believe in this team, the players and the badge and will work tirelessly to ensure the success of the team going forward.”