Reporting with @samstejskal: The Chicago Fire has fired coach Veljko Paunović, according to multiple sources. Paunović went 41-58-37 over four seasons with Chicago. https://t.co/50PnAOd7iQ #cf97 pic.twitter.com/E1DJrx1VwL
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) November 13, 2019
Paunovic was hired by the Fire in November 2015 and led the club over four MLS seasons, qualifying for the playoffs once in 2017 when the Fire finished third in the Eastern Conference. The former Philadelphia Union player arrived in Chicago after guiding Serbia to the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup title.
The change at head coach comes on the heels of the Fire making official their return to Soldier Field in downtown Chicago. That move followed Joe Mansueto assuming full ownership of the team.
It will be a new Fire team on the field in 2020 after the club traded Dax McCarty to expansion side Nashville SC and star player Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement.
The Fire narrowly missed out on the postseason in 2019, finishing three points out of a playoff place (10W-12L-12D). They also missed out in 2016 (7W-17L-10D) and 2018 (8W-18L-8D), finishing in 10th place in the Eastern Conference in both seasons.
Paunovic compiled a 41W-58L-37D record over 136 MLS regular season matches. He also led the team to semifinal appearances in the U.S. Open Cup in 2016 and 2018 and a Round of 16 finish in 2017. The team were ousted in their first Open Cup match in 2019, suffering elimination at the hands of Sant Louis FC.