Chicago Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos watches his team during the first half against FC Dallas on March 19, 2011.
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Chicago's de los Cobos high on new-look central midfield

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos was searching for improved play from his central midfield, and he thinks he got it this past weekend.

In Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Colorado Rapids, de los Cobos shifted to a 4-1-4-1 formation that featured Daniel Paladini, Corben Bone and Gastón Puerari in the middle of the field.

“I liked this formation,” de los Cobos told on Tuesday. “I played this formation the first half of the last season and we had very good games, and now we’re trying to have more creation in the middle with these guys so I’m doing this switch. I thought we had very good moments in the game.”

It was the first time the Fire used the formation in 2011 and it seemed to improve their overall team play. They created more chances and looked more dangerous than they did in their previous match, a 1-1 tie at home to the Houston Dynamo.

Though at times the central trio struggled to hold possession (postgame stats showed that Chicago had the ball only 36 percent of the time) and the majority of the Fire’s opportunities came from the wings, that didn’t stop de los Cobos from praising his new-look midfield.

“I liked it because I think to have the control of the game, we need to keep the ball,” he said. “And with Corben, with Gastón and with Daniel we have a chance because these guys have skill, they have good feet and … they always try to attack with sense, not just with long balls.”

In fact, de los Cobos liked the trio so much that he said he plans on starting them again this Saturday when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps (7:30 pm ET; Watch LIVE online/Direct Kick).

“I think I will to try to keep the same guys there,” de los Cobos said. “These guys are making a good work. They are playing very good together and I think we have a very acceptable performance in Colorado.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for Email him at and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.

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