Why should Georg Heitz pick another Fire coach?

Through almost two full seasons, it’s hard to see what Heitz has done to deserve another chance after building a poor team, which led to Raphael Wicky’s dismissal.

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Georg Heitz was officially named the Fire’s sporting director.

Georg Heitz

Courtesy of the Fire

Fire sporting director Georg Heitz apparently is getting another chance to pick a coach, but what has he done to deserve that privilege?

“It’s a good question,” Heitz said. “If you ask about my future, I’m the wrong person to ask. I can assure you that I feel confident that I will not step down because I’m still confident that we can be successful with this team.”

During a tenure that officially began Dec. 20, 2019, Heitz has made costly mistakes that have eroded outside confidence in his fitness for his position. One of the errors was hiring Raphael Wicky, who was dismissed as coach Thursday after almost two seasons.

Heitz said the Fire already had decided they wouldn’t pick up Wicky’s 2022 option and let him go before the end of the season so he could spend more time in Switzerland with his ill father. Team legend Frank Klopas will coach the team during the search and remain with the club next year but is not a candidate for the full-time position. Goalkeeping coach Adin Brown also is expected to remain.

Whoever gets Wicky’s old spot will hope Heitz learned from the roster-building errors that caused the Fire to narrowly miss the expanded 2020 playoffs and will certainly keep them from the 2021 postseason.

“I won’t talk about individual players now in public,” Heitz said. “My availability today is to speak about the head-coach position and not about the roster. We will speak about the roster later on this year.”

The roster built by Heitz, however, is a primary reason Wicky is out of a job.

Though Wicky had his shortcomings, Heitz’s roster is thin, and his three designated players haven’t panned out. Robert Beric, the team’s highest-paid player, has four goals. Gaston Gimenez and Ignacio Aliseda were left home for a recent game at CF Montreal because of a violation of team rules.

Heitz let go of two proven MLS performers (Djordje Mihailovic and CJ Sapong) and brought in three young players who haven’t done enough to fill in gaps. The Fire also lack strong player leadership.

“Ultimately, this is my responsibility; that’s clear,” Heitz said. “On the other hand, I also have to tell you this is not a one-man show.”

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