Dear Fire Fans,
We set out this season to win one more game than we did in 2003. We did not do that. We did not provide you with a winner and we were one of only two teams that did not even make the playoffs. In short, we failed you. Like you, we have expectations that the Fire will compete for two trophies every year. While we made it to overtime in the final of the U.S. Open Cup this year, we let you and ourselves down with our MLS regular season results.
There are plenty of reasons for the poor results, none of which excuse us. We have won as a group in the past and this year we lost as a group. We will review the performances of everyone in the organization, including the coaching staff, the players, the team staff and me.
This season had similarities to the frustrating 2002 season. This year we lost many players for long stretches to injuries (Chris Armas, Jesse Marsch, Ante Razov, Justin Mapp and Logan Pause), national team call up (Andy Herron, Andy Williams, Dipsy Selolwane and Damani Ralph) and Europe (DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Zach Thornton). We did not do a good enough job building a deep enough team to overcome the loss of those 12 players.
We will examine what we should have done better and implement a plan to make sure we never have this awful feeling again. We are committed to doing a better job next season. I believe we are positioned to build a team that will compete for the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup championships next season as evidenced by the following:
Off the field we did accomplish many wonderful things thanks to your support:
While we did accomplish a lot in 2004, we have an important 18-month build-up towards the opening of America's Soccer Home in Bridgeview in the spring of 2006. None of these accomplishments could have been made without your support. We are grateful and committed to return the Fire to championship form in 2005.
Thank you for your continued support.
Peter J. Wilt