It was made official today.
Chicago Fire defender, Bakary Soumare, has left the team, and the league, and joined Boulogne of the French First Division.
An altercation between Soumare and Fire Head Coach, Denis Hamlett at halftime of the game with the Dynamo in Houston was the beginning of the end for Soumare.
When I was watching the game that Sunday night, I was wondering why Hamlett had changed shirts after the intermission. In the first half, he was wearing a white, short sleeve camp shirt. As the second half started, the coach was wearing a red Fire golf shirt.
Silly me! I just thought it was hot in Houston, (which it was), and he needed to change shirts. Apparently, there had been an altercation between the two. We will never know exactly what happened in the locker room at halftime...unless one of the players, or coaches would like to enlighten us.
The team played a sloppy first half and went to the break down 2-0. They came out like a house on fire...pun intended!
The Fire scored twice early to tie the game, before eventually losing 3-2.
Soumare was then absent from the line-up the next game, with the Fire posting a 2-0 win over Kansas City.
The team released a statement that both Soumare and Hamlett were fined for an altercation, but that was pretty much all we were told. It later was reported that Soumare would not play again until he was ready to show a total commitment to the team.
Who knows how things got this far, this quick.
With Wilman Conde and Soumare in the middle of the backline, the Fire had one of the best combinations in the league. Conde has been dealing with a hamstring injury and Soumare had made a few international appearances with the Mali squad.
This past weekend, rumors started to circulate that Soumare would not play again with the Fire and he was looking at moving to a French squad.
Today, it happened. It is a shame losing such a talented, All-Star defender, but apparently, the relationship with the team could not be patched up.
The Fire are just one point behind Columbus in the Eastern Conference, and have an important game with D.C. United this Saturday at Toyota Park. The Fire will be without Gonzolo Segares, Tim Ward, and Daniel Wollard on defense, all with injuries. Dasan Robinson will miss the game after getting his second yellow card of the game Sunday celebrating the game winning goal.
Mike Banner could move to the left back position, or John Thorrington, returning after missing a game with yellow card accumulation, could play the right back spot. Brandon Prideaux will likely start along with C.J. Brown and Austin Washington.
It should be interesting.