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Thursday, October 28, 2010
With Matkovich out, will Brown assist Fire?

By Charlie Corr

With the Chicago Fire's first offseason move, the team fired assistant coach Mike Matkovich on Thursday after the organization posted a 9-12-9 record and missed the playoffs under first-year head coach Carlos de los Cobos.

The Naperville native's soccer background in the Chicago area spanned a variety of areas -- from the head of the Chicago Fire Reserves, to directing the Chicago Magic youth soccer club, to assisting the Chicago Power professional indoor soccer team in the early 1990s.

Matkovich originally joined the Fire before the 2009 MLS season to replace Chris Armas, who decided to leave the organization to return to New York. Also on Thursday, the team released fitness specialist Alvaro Briones.

"This was a difficult decision for the club to make," Fire technical director Frank Klopas said in a statement. "Everyone at the Fire has tremendous respect for Mike and Alvaro. However, we have decided to go in another direction."

The Fire will have their list of candidates to fill Matkovich's position, and it would make sense for Chicago to take a hard look at keeping recently retired defender C.J. Brown in an assistant role.

During his retirement announcement one week ago, Brown mentioned his desire for this type of position. He currently coaches the Chicago Fire Juniors, and his knowledge of the organization is unmatched.

"I would love to stay in MLS and coach in MLS," Brown said on Oct. 21. "I think I can help drive kids to be better professionals, and also I feel like I've been in the league long enough to know what it takes to win. I think I could help out in many ways."

Armas went from 12-year MLS veteran through 2007, officially retired after the season, then was named a Fire assistant coach in January 2008.

It would not be surprising to see the organization take a similar approach with Brown following Thursday's announcement.

Brown to be honored: The Fire announced earlier in the week that they and Section 8 Chicago will honor Brown's 13-year career on Nov. 9 at The Pitch, 2142 N. Clybourn Ave., in Chicago. The event starts at 6:30 p.m., and the organization will hand out its annual team awards. Logan Pause was named the team's most valuable player, with Brown earning defender of the year, Marco Pappa the golden boot and Dasan Robinson the humanitarian of the year.