chicago fire communications
Chicago Fire at Toronto FC
BMO Field – Toronto, Ontario
MLS Regular Season
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
Thoughts on the game
“Hard fought, coming back in any game always feels like you got something out of it as opposed to letting it slip. I’m really happy with the fight back and the spirit of the guys. Obviously, quality wise we weren’t quite there yet but the fighting spirit was great.”
On Robert Earnshaw’s debut performance
“As TFC fans know, he knows where the net is. He hasn’t played for a couple months now and he said he probably has 15 minutes in him and I said, “How does 30 sound?” He’s dangerous and he creates the second goal with his forcefulness in the box and he is going to help us. I felt we were very dynamic once Ernie came on and it was nice to see.”
On the playoff chase
“Every team I manage I want them to fight hard. We’ve been in almost every game but we just don’t have quite enough quality in all our positions to really dominate and take games over. We do have the fighting spirit and once we add some pieces I think we’ll be okay, so it’s a building process but I’m happy with the overall commitment from everybody.”
Chicago Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa
Thoughts on the game
“We didn’t make it easy on ourselves but as a team we fought together and we got the draw.”
On the goal
“We were trying to bring them into the middle and then get it out wide for some crosses.”
On the addition of Robert Earnshaw
“That’s what we expected out of him, just to come off the bench and bring some energy. He came on and scored right away and hopefully this leads to more goals in the future. Hopefully we can build a little partnership.”
Chicago Fire forward Robert Earnshaw
On returning to Toronto
“It’s like I haven’t been away. Maybe just because it is a familiar ground and a place I am very fond of. I have been back and forth here, it’s a great place that I like to come to. I’d like to thank everyone at Toronto as I never got a chance to really thank everyone here. From Ryan Nelsen to the whole organization, I just want to say thank you very much. The goal I scored was a welcome to Chicago, but also a thank you very much to Toronto.”
On returning to Major League Soccer
“Yeah, I love to play. I enjoyed just coming in and getting the shirt on, getting a feel for the ball, felt great. I want to get better on a personal level. I’ve come here to give something extra, contribute and help each teammate to do better with my experience and quality.”
Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelsen
Thoughts on the match...
“Well I thought we were pretty comfortable in the first half. Obviously losing Steven (Caldwell) our captain was a little unsettling for us and we were in pretty good control until then. Then that kind of happened and although we had a lot of the ball, a lot of possession, the analytical guys will say we had all the possession, but we really didn’t do much with it. It was pretty comfortable possession in front of their team and they sat back and we didn't really punish them. We had a couple of really good chances and we kind of left them in the game. Obviously we conceded a soft goal and again losing Justin (Morrow) disrupted us. We needed some energy and we needed something, a lift, someone to grab the game by the back of the neck. I thought when Luke (Moore) came on he looked really good and we got ourselves a goal and could have made it three. Then that second goal was horrendous to tell you the truth. We’ve got to have a desire when an opposition player gets down to the endline we’ve got to have midfielders right on top of our backline defending our box. We were spectators, we kind of watched it hoping that someone would make the play but in the end it was a deflection bicycle kick that fell unfortunately to them and they punished us. We weren't in the right spots and we had guys just watching in comfortable positions. When you put yourself out of the arena to affect the game, things like this happen.”
On the injuries to Seven Caldwell and Justin Morrow…
“Steven (Caldwell) had a really good week of training and he just felt his same quad on one of the stretches that he made, which he probably made 50 times during this week, but unfortunately in the game he hit it. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as the original one, it was just something that we had to pull him off because it was only going to get worse. With Justin (Morrow) it was his hamstring so we’ll have to get that scanned. When we go down with injuries we seem to do it all at once.”
Does it sting even more that the two goals were scored by former TFC players?
“No, not at all. We wish all the best for all our former players. When any player scores against us it stings. Any former player from TFC we wish them all the best.”
Dwayne De Rosario was dropped from the 18, is it safe to say that you haven’t got what you wanted out of him this season?
“No, not at all. We’ve got absolutely everything from Dwayne, he’s been absolutely fantastic. He’s been fantastic in the locker room and he’s a great guy but I’ve got a premier league striker on the bench, I’ve got a Nigerian striker who would have been going to the World Cup on the bench. So it’s a hard squad to make these days. This is a wee bit different and we’ve got to make tough decisions. Even Daniel Lovitz unfortunately didn’t make it and Daniel has been absolutely brilliant for us. His (Dwayne) position is up for grabs now every time we play. They are under the microscope to play well because there are guys, Dwayne and Daniel being a couple of them, that really want to play.”
Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow
What was the injury?
“I just turned it. I felt in on a longer run right at the beginning of the second half. I just kind of felt it.”
Any idea of how long you might be out?
“I’m going to get it scanned on Monday and see how it is but I don’t think it should be too bad. It’s sore right now but it should be alright.”
How gutted are you to see the team concede so late and throw away points?
“Yes its tough but we have to take a positive out of it in that it is a tie. We do expect more out of ourselves at home and we should get three points. So we are a little disappointed with that but we have a lot of games coming up, games that we should win.”
Toronto FC forward Gilberto
How did you feel scoring in successive games?
“I’m very happy that I scored my first goal at home in my stadium in front of my fans. I feel the team is doing really good work right now but unfortunately we couldn't get the result. But I am really happy with the progress of the team.”
Do you feel comfortable with Luke Moore upfront?
“If you look back Jermaine Defoe scored six or seven goals when we were playing together so it really has nothing to do with my comfort with Jermaine or Luke. I’m happy now, I wasn’t scoring goals and now I am.”
Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom
Overall thoughts of getting back into a full game?
“It was good for me to come off of injury and start my first time back. I felt like my fitness was good and I didn’t focus about my knee at all. It didn’t bother me at all so in my mind I’m back fully fit.”
Tough to see Caldwell and Morrow going down to injury, did you feel some of the energy was deflated when they went out of the lineup?
“Those two guys are crucial to our team. I mean you take our captain and a guy that has played every single game, that is definitely hard. It takes away the heart of our defence but we have the players to cover them and I thought we did well. Unfortunately we gave up two goals.”
Chicago Fire at Montreal Impact
MLS Regular Season
Stade Saputo – Montreal, QC
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
Thoughts on the game
“We weren’t very dangerous to be honest going to goal and basically when it comes to the crunch, we didn’t get the job done. It’s disappointing, but it’s kind of where we are right now. It’s hard because we lost 6-0 on Wednesday and now we had a chance to prove ourselves again and we lose.”
What can be changed to get that winning goal?
“We have to be more positive going forward. We have to dig deep and get that extra run for that extra minute and make sure we get beyond people and not play in front of the players. So I think that’s the difference we need to make. I think that after Wednesday’s loss it was hard on the team to be motivated, but our spirits seemed to be up at the beginning of the game and then we couldn’t get it done in both boxes, we couldn’t defend and couldn’t score.”
On how tight the table is
“Of course, you never give up until it’s over. It’s been a tough season; we have 13 ties, which 6 we should have won. I think that we would have been in a better spot with those extra two points per game. We’re not good enough to be higher up at this point and that’s on us.”
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On the team's performance
"It's a tough result for us. We’ve got to be better. It's disappointing. We were in a position where we can put ourselves in a good spot in the playoff race. We played decent in the first half and just didn't do enough to get the result."
On what needs to be done to get three points
"It just a matter of believing and going out there and doing it. We just got to get it done. It's up to us, we're the players on the pitch and we have to solve some problems ourselves out there sometimes. We got to find it in us to get those results."
Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Watson
On how the team can improve offensively
"We weren't clinical enough in the final third. We need to find a way to get goals, maybe support the strikers more. We let the field get spread. We were hitting long balls to the strikers and then they were kind of wrestling for it by themselves with no support coming. We need to do better moving forward as a team."
On his team's defensive play
"At times I think we were chasing, myself included. I think sometimes we run just for the sake of it, where we could kind of be a more of a compact unit. We need to stay in a tighter defensive block."
Montreal Impact head coach Frank Klopas
On getting a win?
“It feels good. It took us a while to feel like this. There`s a lot of games that we could have walked away with points but you need to move forward. Today was a good overall performance by the group, I think that at some point we lost a bit of the midfield but the subs we made gave us a lot of added energy at the right time.”
What was your reactions to Chicago`s presence on the field tonight?
“We had possession very deep in our side of the field in the first 25 minutes, we wanted to open them up and move the ball quicker. We had opportunities and options to play out of the back. We knew it was going to be a big game, so we didn’t underestimate them at all, after them losing at the open cup. We knew it was going to be a difficult match, we expected one and it was. In the end we gave out a quality performance which gave us a great victory.”
On Maxim Tissot?
“He brings a lot of energy, every time he’s been in for us good things happen. He makes good runs off the ball, has a lot of pace and can make those long runs. In all he’s been giving us a good constant quality and becomes a really dangerous opponent whether he starts or comes out on the field later. It’s good for me, because we have a lot of options. He’s young but we’re going to continue to work with him and build him up.”
Montreal Impact forward Marco Di Vaio
Working with Piatti on the field…
“We tried to make a couple of combinations but it’s not easy for him because he’s arriving in a team that has a lot of confidence issues. For the past month and a half we’ve been playing better and taking the points we learnt and applying them on the field. So it’s not easy for him to come in our team at this point so I think that with his arrival here it might help the team’s confidence even more.”
Are you thinking on ending your career soon?
“It’s too far for me to think about this now. I don’t even think about what will happen next week. This year was harder for me but I am only focusing on our games to come at this point, especially in the Champion’s league games.”
Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush
On Chicago’s last offensive play?
“Those are the things that happen at the end of the game, when you’re up a goal, you send a lot of guys forward on set pieces and I got knocked down. I didn’t hear a whistle and he got a foot on it and I was there to take care of it.”
Did the defense have a lot to do with not getting any goals in tonight?
“I think so, there weren’t that many chances that we gave them and fought well for the ball. We had a good side to side movement and Wandrille and Matteo did a very good job to hold the back up.”
Montreal Impact midfielder Ignacio Piatti
On the game…
“As my first game I think that I played well and that the team had a solid performance and played well together. I knew about the MLS beforehand and knew the style of play so there was no surprise for me, but I still will have to adapt my style of play to that of the MLS.”
On Marco Di Vaio …
“Marco is a star player, when you play him the ball he’ll return it quickly, so there’s a good chemistry there and I am going to keep working on developing that team synergy. I asked Marco if there was a possibility for him to stay, but he says it’s hard for him and his family, but he’s still looking for a solution.”
Chicago Fire at New England Revolution
Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Mass.
July 12, 2014 – MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
“No, it was not easy to get this result. We played against Kansas City on Sunday, went to Atlanta for an Open Cup game a couple of days later, and then came here for a tough league match. To get two wins and a tie out of these last few games is fantastic. We went to the quarterfinals of the Open Cup where we saw some great competition and then came here and got three points. I would say this has been a successful week.
Sean (Johnson) has been outstanding these past four or five games. He’s a young goalkeeper and he’s finally starting to have really good performances and he’s also starting to look the part. Things like this make the difference and it was the reason we won tonight. Although it was a great penalty that was taken, Sean also made a great save that was able to keep us ahead in the game.
I don’t think we deserved to draw as many games as we have. When we drew against the Revolution at home we missed a penalty like you guys did tonight. It’s a great thing for us to win tonight, in conference, because of the tough week we had, but we did very well. I was proud of the way we played, even though the second half was a little bit ugly and they were all over us. In the end, we were able to seal it out and get a win. We got it done as a group and that’s what is important.
My philosophy is to start quickly and try to score first. If you can do that, I believe that you can usually get a draw. My big thing is to get after it in the beginning, and we did. Mike [Magee] and Quincy [Amarikwa] were really lively in the first half and it went well. I thought we could have scored more goals, but you know, that’s how soccer is. I’m happy we got the win.
Quincy did the same thing against New England at home. He’s a very strong player that knows how to use his body the right way. Along with that being said, our squad was rotated a lot during these past three games. Everyone performed well. I tip my hat to them because the full squad of 18 has been doing well and it’s shown in our results.”
Chicago Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa
“It’s really important, especially if you can come away on the road and get a win and get three points. I mean that’s huge, especially in this league. We’ve just been right on the cusp of breaking out this year. We’ve got a lot of draws but that just means we’re hard to beat, as proved by tonight. And hopefully it translates into more wins and we jump to the top of the table.
Everything is about building momentum. I think we’ve been doing the right things. We’ve been working hard as a unit. We’re really sacrificing ourselves out there and it translated into three points tonight, and hopefully we’ll carry that into our next game.
I was hoping to catch them flat-footed. I think there were two or three opportunities where I picked the back line or their holding defensive midfielder and I don’t think they were ready for it. Luckily, we were able to capitalize early and prevent them from scoring.
Sean made a huge save. We always like our goalies to save everything they’re supposed to and save at least one or two that they’re not supposed to a game. Sean came out on top doing that big time for us. I think that will further boost morale and keep us going in the right direction.
I’m more trying to predict at what speed and strength [the defender] is going to be coming in, and you lean in one direction to compensate for that so that by the time he hits you, he’s kind of hitting you upright. It’s a balancing act. You learn the strength of each player on the field as you’re playing. You try to – almost like a chess match – you try to outplay them.
I think though I make runs in behind and I get runs in behind, I’m fairly decent at my hold up play and most people might not think that, thinking of my size. I think it plays to our advantage, because defenders don’t know if I’m going to hold it up or if I’m going to run in behind. Hopefully we capitalize on that more throughout the rest of the year.
[My partnership with Mike Magee] is good. It’s developing. We’re always looking for each other. We’re usually involved in each other’s goals in some capacity and hopefully it translates into more goals and more assists and more chemistry.
Especially with three games in the short period of time that we had them in, I was going to have to sit some minutes. Unfortunately, [last game] was due to yellow card accumulation but the guys showed up in Kansas City, got our point on the road. It shows our depth as a team and this is probably the biggest week we’ve had all year especially in terms of results. That’s three road games in a very short span of time and we came away with seven points so these are positives to build on and hopefully they carry out throughout the rest of the year.”
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson
“It was just instinct. I think when it comes down to those moments, you kind of have to live in the moment. You don’t really think about it too much. You just kind of react and I just got a good jump on that side and was able to save it. I mix it up in the moment. I’ve gone left, I’ve gone right. I mix it up quite a bit so you never know. If the striker makes it difficult, which he did – it was very well struck – but I was able to get a good jump on it. I was surprised to see it bounce backwards because it was on turf. On grass it just stays put. I was lucky to have the post there. Someone was looking out for me there on that one.
This is my fifth year playing. I’ve faced a lot of penalty shots myself. I just kind of develop my own checklist I go through on the day and it’s different every day; depends on what I really think about when I wake up. Just in the moment I was able to save it. I watched it the whole way. I saw the ball the whole way. I knew it was going to take a bounce; didn’t know where it was going to go. I just got on my feet as quick as possible and I just took it off the line; turned around and took it. It’s really great.
This was huge. At a point in the season where we’ve gotten a lot of ties and we needed to really push and get over that hump. I think it really took a win like this – one that took a lot of grit and a lot of fight to really get the result. Three points and a shutout at that. I’m proud of the boys, and it’s just unfortunate to give away a PK when we worked hard. It shows the effort we put in defending and we were able to come out with a victory.
It’s bittersweet. It’s great to get the early goal, but you’ve got another 87 minutes you know the other team is going to press you to equalize, especially at home. To keep them off the scoreboard tonight was just great.
This week in general has been great for us. We’ve had a long week on the road, the entire week, and starting with Kansas City. To grind out a result on the road, and get the Open Cup win down in Atlanta – which I got to play in front of my family and friends in my hometown – is huge. Using that momentum to roll in, play the game on turf—have that experience coming in—we were able to get the job done.
It’s really great. It’s almost a sense of relief. We can’t relax yet, you know just those three points have been so evasive for so long. We’ve tied so many games. It’s very frustrating. We almost tied there at the end with the PK. We’re getting closer and closer to putting together a complete game. This game for us was great. We played well for 80-plus minutes and it’s just really grinding it out to see the game out in full. We’ll get better.
There is a ton left to play for. We had to regroup, starting with the Open Cup. We had two things to focus on: Open Cup midweek and then shift focus back to the league. It’s huge for us to get this result. We want to keep it rolling. We’ve got a lot to play for, a lot of games left, and we’ll get back to training and get better and get back to it this weekend against Philly.”
New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps
“Tough loss. That one really hurt because I thought we had some tough decisions against us last week and I thought we responded well. Then tonight, I thought we were going to come out flying and we got punched right in the face the first two and a half minutes. We have to be better and it’s on us.
I thought that we definitely had more chances (in the second half). I thought Jerry (Bengtson) did a great job coming in and impacting the game and I thought Steve Neumann did a good job, as well. It was a little bit of a change to a 3-5-2, it helped out our attack. It would have been nice to punch one in there.
(Lee Nguyen) is one of our playmakers and someone we look to to facilitate our attack. At the same time, I thought we have enough fire power to create. Right now it’s a really tough run. We have to dig ourselves out. We have a penalty kick in the 85th minute and I thought it was well deserved. I thought it was earned. I thought we were trying and we were doing everything we could, but sometimes we’ve just got to make our stamp on the game.
I don’t have the update on Andy (Dorman) yet, but it was significant. Andy’s a tough guy, so we’ll find out more in the next couple days. In terms of Scottie (Caldwell), I thought Scottie did a great job. Scottie came in and had no warm-up time and went in and really was chomping and biting and trying to make plays.
I don’t know if there were positives in all those four (previous games), some losses were worse than others, I believe. But tonight it’s really raw right now. Going back, the subs did a nice job coming in. No one gave up, that’s for darn sure. During the penalty kick in the 86th minute with a team that’s punkered in, it’s not easy. You’re trying to probe and pick teams apart. It’s unfortunate, but you’ve got to use the positives and just keep going. You’ve got to dig even deeper now.”
New England Revolution defender Andrew Farrell
“Every time we have scored a goal first this season we’ve won. It’s tough to get scored on in the first three minutes. Our back line gave up some sloppy goals, and we need to stop that. We carried the majority of the game later on in the first half and the second half but when you make a mental mistake like that and put the whole team behind it’s really tough. Obviously, they are a team that fights a lot, they have 10 ties and that says a lot. We’ve gotten down a goal in the last couple of games, and that really needs to stop.
I thought we had some good chance. We had a few solid set pieces and the PK obviously. I thought for the second half, besides the one on one we gave them, we carried the play, but that’s soccer. We could have come away with a victory but it just wasn’t our day.
It’s soccer and this stuff happens it’s obviously very frustrating. You have the momentum and you think we are going to score but giving up that early goal was just too much. We get one there, we get four more. It wouldn’t feel as bad if we weren’t losing so many games but this one hurts a lot. We thought we were going to come out in front of our fans and give a good performance – which I thought we did – we just couldn’t find the back of the net, and I’ll take full blame for that goal.
I was in the back so I didn’t hear what they said but it happens. I mean Chris (Tierney) is a great PK taker and it was a big-time save.”
Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kan.
MLS Regular Season
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…
“First off, I thought we played well—an even game. I think we moved the ball well. It had been physical in the first 20 minutes of the match. We had a game plan to come in and try to do that and find little pockets and little holes and play in between the lines. I thought we did a great job, we just ran out of steam. We had a couple injuries. Alex was off at halftime, and Jhon (Kennedy Hurtado)’s got dizzy spells. So late in the game, when you want to make your subs make a difference, we couldn’t do that. Credit to Kansas City, they really pushed and in the end could have won it, but I was proud of the way we hung in there. So we could win a few more games, but we can tie them for sure.”
On the impact of the weather…
“It’s huge. The thing for me is that we don’t quit…and we didn’t. We kept going and tried to do the right things and moved the ball well. I thought Harry Ship was good today. He finds the pocket and finds good spaces. But in general, I thought we did OK. We have tied a lot of games and it’s frustrating when that’s probably one of the games that Kansas City probably deserved to win. But a lot of other times we pretty much were on the verge of winning the match. So it’s a close thing for us right now. Today was a good fight and spirit, with injuries and with stuff that went on. To get a point here, as you guys know, it is very difficult.”
Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause
On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…
“This is a tough place to play against a good team with a great crowd. But at the end of the day, not many people can come here and get a draw out of it. It's a good point or us.”
On using U.S. Open Cup results to build momentum…
“We know we have a lot of work to do, but I think we've gotten some good results in the Open Cup that have given us a little momentum and a push. So we are excited to keep that going.”
On Mike Magee's goal…
“When Mike [Magee] gets in those types of situations, he is clinical. He does a fantastic job running off defenders shoulders. It was a fantastic job by Chris Ritter to put him in behind.”
On preparing for another midweek game…
“We are going to have some tired legs, so it will be up to the staff, but hopefully we can take some momentum into Wednesday. We have a big Cup game and then it's back to League play over the weekend.”
Chicago Fire forward Harry Shipp
On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…
“It was hot. I think the first half we did a pretty good job defending and countering when they turned it over. In the second half, they were a little better on the ball. In the last 30 minutes they wore us down, running in the heat, and shuttling back and forth took its toll on us. It was tough for us to connect passes in the last 30 minutes.”
On using Open Cup success to build momentum…
“Any time you get a win, especially when we struggle to get wins in the League, it's imperative for us. It hasn't turned into a League victory today, but hopefully in the next couple weeks it will turn into a couple wins.”
On a demanding July with MLS play and the U.S. Open Cup…
“We have a busy month. We have a mid-week game and a weekend game almost every week. It's important to keep our bodies rested and fresh when we aren't playing.”
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes
On Sporting KC’s 1-1 draw against Chicago…
“Look, we obviously gave a goal away. And they had one other chance besides that. We lost a ball, a very easy ball right at the beginning of the final third. We lose the ball and we’re a little stretched out and they get an easy tap-in at the end of the day. So we give that up, then obviously we drove the game, in and around their box quite a bit. I like to think that in the second half we made some really, really good opportunities at goal. We had some really good chances (where) we should have scored a second goal, no doubt in my mind. We just didn’t have enough people in the box. I do think that these games, when you play at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, in this kind of weather…it makes for a tough game for both teams. And I think it changes the way the game is played. Its not an excuse…My point is that when you play these games at night in the summertime, they have a different feel for both teams—and they should from their entertainment value. But again, we had enough chances around the goal, and we should have scored a second goal.”
On his decision to use Graham Zusi as a second half substitute but keep Matt Besler out of the matchday squad…
“Zusi felt good to go in and play, and Matt felt he needed a couple more days (to rest). Really simple.”
On Chicago’s first half pressure leading to their equalizing goal…
“I don’t know if they really pressured high up the field. I don’t think they really did. But I thought what really happened was that as we were building out, I don think we were moving the ball quick enough. So it allowed them to just hold their ground. We didn’t expect anything different. I don’t think they were high up the field to be honest with you. I just think that our circulation with the ball in the first half was very slow, and I think the second half was much better. And I also thought that they tried to isolate a couple of our guys with the ball. We made adjustments in the second half and that changed everything.”
Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber
On returning from a shoulder injury to play his first game in a month…
“I felt pretty good for the most part, but got tired there at the end. It was obviously a tough environment to play in—really hot and humid today. We did some good things and almost got the second goal a couple times in the second half. I thought our second half performance was a lot more composed. We had the ball a lot in their end. Whenever we lost the ball, our transition was good, and we created some decent opportunities. It’s always going to be tough when they put 10 guys behind the ball. Overall, it was a decent game. I just need to keep building endurance game-by-game.”
On splitting the points with a defensive Chicago Fire…
“It’s important to get points throughout the season, so a draw is okay. At the end of the year, every single point is going to count, whether you’re getting them home or away. It’s tough not getting three points at home, but we’ll take this result and focus on next week in Montreal.”
On how Sporting KC’s great fan support makes it tough on Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to decide whether to pursue a move to Europe or stay in MLS…
“There’s no doubt that everyone (on our team) wants to be here, or else Peter (Vermes) wouldn’t keep them here. And it’s easy to see why we want to stay here. I’ve only been in Kansas City for a year and a half, but there’s no place I’d rather be. The fans that are out there every single weekend, the way we play…our entire setup here is fantastic. It’s a class organization. I’m sure Besler and Zusi both have some decisions to make regarding whether they leave or not, but it won’t be an easy one. Sometimes opting to go elsewhere is something you have to do develop your football career, but it’s never an easy decision when you’re leaving a place you really love. They’ll take their time with the decision, and if they decide to stay, we’re going to be thankful.”
Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer
On his showy goal celebration in the first half…
“(The celebration) was set up. It was mentioned earlier today before the game, and it sounded like quite a cool idea. It was a good bit of fun, but I got a yellow (card) for it. I was lucky I didn’t get another yellow, or else I would have been in big trouble.”
On whether his first half yellow card changed the way he played the rest of the game…
“It was on my mind after that, but it didn’t change how I played. Obviously I wasn’t going to go hard into a 50-50 (challenge), and luckily that opportunity didn’t come.”
On Sporting KC’s 1-1 draw against Chicago…
“I’d rather have three points, but it’s nice to get on the score sheet. I was more excited that I cleared one off the line, to be honest. I really wanted to keep a clean sheet today and was gutted when we allowed one. I thought we defended well throughout the whole game, so I’m a little disappointed there.”
On scoring his 12th goal of the season…
“I just stayed calm. I remember the defender got a bad ball and he didn’t take the best touch. He kind of panicked because I was coming at him quick. He kind of stumbled over the ball and I nicked it from him. I was going to shoot across the keeper’s body, but I saw (Sean Johnson) take a little step to the middle. So I hit it early and slid it past him. Normally you’d go around him, but he’s a big goalie. I just saw a little gap and slid it in there.”
On exchanging goals with defending MLS MVP Mike Magee…
“I have huge respect for him. I think he’s a fantastic player and a great guy, too. He’s sent me messages of encouragement and givent me some good advice. He’s a veteran, a very good player and a former MVP of the League. Obviously I’d like to follow in his footsteps. We’re different players, but we both score goals. That’s a good similarity to have.”
On Sunday’s playing conditions…
“It was stupidly hot. A 2 p.m. game is not fun with that weather. I understand it’s T.V. time, but those were very tough conditions. It was bad at the end there, I was cramping up. But that’s part of football.”
Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC
MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park – July 2, 2014
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On team's overall performance
“I thought we did enough to win the game. When it is eleven men against ten, we should win the game. We had our chances. It's frustrating, I've said it a few times; we've tied and maybe deserved to win the game, but we haven't. That's our problem right now: we can't seem to win a game. We haven't lost a ton, but we haven't won many. It's a weird situation, it's frustrating; we can't get over the finish line with a win. The guys are frustrated in there, we are, as a staff, and me as a head coach. It's not from lack of effort, which is important, it's just lapses of concentration at the wrong time. They had one or two chances and scored one goal; we probably had five to six, seven, eight chances and scored one. It's the story of our season so far, so it's been frustrating.”
On issues with low number of shots on goal
“We'll have to look at them again. I thought we had enough chances to hit the target. I'm not out there, I can't remember all the chances we had. I think the one cross that went in, if we just get a nick on it, we score; Joe Bendik made a very good save, he traps it. [We had] one on a good volley; the offside goal, I haven't seen whether it was offside or not, so it was another good chance. You can't always tell if you’re hitting the target is the right thing; if you try to bend it around the keeper and it just goes wide, sometimes that's unlucky too. But we had enough looks in the final third and in their box to get more than one goal; but we didn't, so that's the story of our season if you like, and our theme tonight.”
On the performance of midfielder Harry Shipp
“Good. On a positive note, Harry's starting to blossom into a good player. I think he's starting to play with a lot of confidence, and he knows he's a good player. He's maturing nicely, and I think that it's no surprise that he does well. He's in a lot of the good stuff that we do going forward. So, very happy with his development. Good goal again; I think he's at six goals already, a great tally for any player, let alone a rookie coming into a brand new, professional league. He's done fantastically well.”
On the performance of forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Mike Magee
“It was difficult. I thought the two center backs were physical and strong, and I spoke to the boys to play a little quicker and try to separate them a little bit. I think, in the second half, we did a better job creating chances. I know it's against ten men, but still, the same back four, or back eight if you like, they got one up front in Jermaine Defoe. I think we created enough opportunities to do better with what we had, and I haven't spoken to either guy yet, but both of them had pretty good looks tonight; just that final, last, little piece was just missing. But I'm not going to fault them for effort, I think that they worked well. They tried to do the right things, moved the ball pretty sharply for us, passed it well. Again, it's a little easier against ten men, but I still think we did the right things to create enough chances, but we just didn't get our final touch.”
On the second center midfield position
“We're looking. It's a spot where Alex has been injured a lot this season; I don't know how many games he's played, it's not been many, he's not played a league game for a good nine weeks or so. Once they went to ten men, I felt we needed something more offensive, and Alex obviously has more of an offensive mind than Chris [Ritter]; Chris had a pretty good bang on his eye, so I think it was a smart move to do that. If you look at the game as a whole, with Alex in there, we did create enough chances to get something out of it. Whether he played really well himself, he didn't play for a while, so he was going to be a little rusty. But I think that the formation was fine, and it gave us enough chances to get into the game or win the game.”
On going for it by substituting forward Juan Luis Anangono for defender Greg Cochrane
“I tend to think, for me, if we're tying, we need to win games. If we had lost 2-1, it didn't really change too much (the points) so we're trying to get three points. We went to three in the back, but it didn't quite work, so I put Jeff [Larentowicz] back. So we were going to go with Jeff, Baky [Soumare], and Patrick [Ianni], but we decided to just go with four and just push Lovel [Palmer] and [Grant] Ward, playing right back, he's really a right wing, forward. We possessed the ball enough, did enough to get something out of it, so we were definitely going for it to try and get a win.”
Chicago Fire Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
On the break:
“It’s disappointing. We talk about the little things. There’s one chance in this game for the other team and they took it. We were second best.”
On the team’s reaction Yallop’s comments at training:
“What he said was taken in by everybody. There’s time left, however. We can’t hope to hang our hat on ties at the end of year, especially home games and conference games. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
On the substitutions:
“In other games, earlier in the year, Frank has shown he wants to win and puts on players that are going to make a difference. Last week Juan [Luis Anangano] did that for us in the game.”
On the difference between ties and losses:
“There’s always a difference. However, when you have so many ties that feel like losses, it’s tough.”
Chicago Fire Midfielder Harry Shipp
On his goal:
“I think someone played it out to Mike [Magee] off a corner kick, and I was actually jogging over to take the corner when I saw it go out and I sort of slipped along the endline. I think Mike made the pass, I took a few touches then took the shot and scored.”
On not being able to get the win playing a man up:
“It’s really frustrating, it sucks and it feels like a loss. We should have scored about four goals in the second half. I think we all need to figure out how and what we can do better to not fall behind in the game, that’s the key I think. We started getting into the game, up a man, they scored a goal and that kind of killed us going into halftime.”
On the possibility of Rookie of Year Honors:
“It’s not even on my mind. When you’re on a team like this with two wins all year, you’re focusing everyday on trying to go in and get a win and to learn how to get better. I’d rather not score a goal all year and be on a winning team than score however many goals I score and be on a losing team. So, Rookie of the Year is not really on my mind.”
On the substitutions:
“We had the ball pretty much the entire second half. Being up a man obviously helps that, but we can’t afford to tie at home. We came in to this game knowing that we needed a win, we kind of billed it as a game to turn our season around, which hopefully gives us momentum heading into the second half of the year. It didn’t happen, so we have to look toward Kansas City on Sunday.”
Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelson
On surviving with a point on the road:
“Yeah, any point on the road is a very good point, especially when you go down to ten men. The guys were absolutely fantastic. Really in control of the game, up until the decision, and even then I thought we looked like we were going to get one on the break. They [Chicago] did very well in the second half, as they would, Frank’s a very good coach, and pushed us high and we kind of sat back and we didn’t have the confidence to maybe press a little higher, and force them into making mistakes. They kind of trapped us in a wee bit, but we had to defend. We defended very well. When you’re down to ten men, you need a lot of organization and a lot of character and a lot of strength, and I think the boys showed that in abundance.”
On Jackson’s goal:
“We worked on that potentially but our wide guys would have a lot of influence running in behind their defenders and it just happened to be that he got himself into that position and it was a perfect cross. Really good finish.”
On the team holding its defensive shape for the duration of the second half:
“They had every excuse to lose it. Away from home, and Chicago desperate for a win, absolutely desperate for a win, and Frank’s done a great job with them, they are a great team. Obviously with then me, we had to sharpen our steel; this point is very valuable. It proves now that at six unbeaten that when we are away from home, and being down to ten men twice, we’ve managed to get something out of the game. That’s extremely important.”
Toronto FC Defender Nick Hagglund
On fighting through being down to ten men for over 60 minutes:
“I was pretty proud of the guys and how we responded with that red card. A lot of times, people go down, especially when you go early in the game, you’re down and out. Usually a red card towards the end of the game is a little different, and you push a little bit more. I thought we being zero-zero, I thought we did well.”
On what Coach Nelson said at halftime:
“He said just to stay organized. We knew that they were going into halftime, they were going to change their plan a little bit more and figure us out with ten men versus eleven men, but I thought we made sure we were tight and made it difficult for them to score.”
On coming away with a point:
“I think in the locker room we were pretty disappointed. I think the goal was soft. Could have been deflected. Joe got a hand on it. I think everyone here is disappointed that we didn’t get the three points, because we were up. I think it’s a step in the right direction. To be disappointed with getting a tie and not three points [especially on the road].”
On going into the three game home stand coming off the World Cup break:
“We are pretty excited to get Mike [Bradley] back in the lineup. Being at home, we are tough at home. That is where we thrive. We still have two or three games in hand on most teams so there’s an opportunity for us to jump up standings.”
Toronto FC Midfielder Jackson
On earning a hard fought point:
“We weren’t expecting to play with ten men. However, this team is a strong team, and we fought through it. As a whole we played really together and we got that point that we needed.”
On his goal:
“At training we talk a lot and we practice it and we communicate constantly. Fortunately, I was at the right spot at the right time. We continued to fight and continued to be a team as whole and get ahead.”
On taking advantage of the space on the flanks to utilize on counterattacks:
“I was fully aware of the space I had so I was just waiting for that one spot, that one time, and I got it with myself and Dom [Oduro]. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper got a hand on it and I was happy with that touch but I want to reiterate again that we have to continue working strong as a team, whether we have ten men or eleven men.”
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On general feeling of the team heading into the World Cup break
“Points-wise, not great. Spirit-wise, I thought tonight was good. Difficult circumstances with the red card and all the stuff that went on tonight. What I liked about the team tonight: we fought, and we stuck up for each other. That's the positive out of it. The negative: we didn't get a result at home, obviously. Frustration is probably the word I would say right now.”
On if he had saw the reason for Obafemi Martins' sending-off
“No, I didn't, I haven't looked at a replay. I haven't seen it yet.”
On expecting officiating controversies
“I don't know. I thought both teams came out to try and win the game, which is important. Some decisions for us didn't go the right way, and you get frustrated with all that stuff; it spills over to your play a little bit. I'm not going to fault the effort of our players at all; we're not quite able to figure it out yet. We have good moments; we have patterns of play that are good, we look like we're a good side, and then we falter and get punished. It's frustrating. I hate to use the word, I keep saying it, but the balance is not quite there yet. No excuses with the three games in the week, but it's never easy. But I thought we kept going until the end; we could have gotten something out of the game. Obviously that third goal killed the game a little bit. Quincy [Amarikwa] had a great chance I think at 2-1, and then Juan [Luis Anangono] had a good chance at 3-2. That's football. That's the tough part about it. And I'm sitting there just frustrated, and you guys are fans of us, as frustrated as you are; I'm sitting there going, ‘why can't we get it sorted out?’ But signs are good, young guys are doing okay. Harry [Shipp] did good tonight, so hopefully we can turn the corner.”
On creating chances and goals in play
“We created some good chances. If you look at the experience on their team, it's a pretty experienced team; and we're a little bit younger and naive, and all the guys we have out...there's no excuses. But I'm not going to fault my guys; I thought they fought right to the end, tried to get something out of the game, but just couldn't quite get something out of it. I'm not going to turn to the excuse of ‘we got guys out,’ because, I thought the players that played tonight played well for us. Big, important thing is, take the punishment, if you like, and move on. You have to. We have an Open Cup game next, hopefully we can get through that round; I think there's another round of Open Cup, and then we get to get back into MLS. So we're still in the picture, which is always good; although we have to start winning games, obviously. But the progression of the team playing-wise, I thought, showed some fight tonight, which is important.”
On the penalty call and ensuing red card against Fire defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
“Anytime you go with two feet, it alarms referees for some reason. I think that Jhon had no other opportunity to block the ball, and to go with his feet sort of showing. It didn't catch the player; give a penalty kick, but don't give a sending-off. Or give a sending-off, but no penalty kick, whatever you want to do, but I just think the double thing was just, for me, not a great decision. I haven't seen it, but it looked like Jhon was just trying to block the ball; it wasn't malicious, it was low, and it looked like he was trying to get his feet sorted out. But, again, the rules are what they are, so I can't really argue with it. But I struggled a little bit all night with the officiating. I thought it was a little bit one-way, but that's my opinion.”
On the World Cup break serving as a chance to get healthy
“You have two main guys out, Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee are out at the moment, so you have to help them get ready for play coming in the next couple of weeks. We have the Open Cup, which is in our break. Alex is not 100%; obviously played a little bit tonight, but he's not close to what he can play like at the moment. So we have a little bit of time to get our guys healthy and hopefully start the next MLS game out with a win, because we need to start winning, obviously, to have any chance to do well this year. But I think the emergence of the young players is my focus, and I think they're doing okay. We're not wishing the season away at all; I make sure that we're ready to play each game and ready to go. I thought again, we didn't flop and buckle under in this game, which we could have done against a good side. Each game we've played, other than maybe a couple, we've been right there, right in the match, right and ready to go; but the naiveté of our team, and it's not a slight on them, it's just reality, we can't figure it out quite yet. It's frustrating as a coach, and the players are frustrated. I think that for us, it's making sure that we build on it, and make sure we get positive with it.”
Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On tonight’s loss:
“This may be the toughest so far. You might want to put it up there with the Real Salt Lake game, but they came at us – Seattle didn’t. They were content with their lead waiting for us, but somehow they still got the better of us which is difficult.”
On where the team goes from here heading into the break:
“We have to decide. Everyone has to go home this week and figure out if they’re content with where we are, think about if they’re content coming in after games saying, ‘Oh well, we did alright – we didn’t score or we didn’t finish that chance,’ or they can make a difference, they can make a change. I don’t know what happened around the league, but we’re at the bottom of the conference – we have to make a move and we have to stop being content with half chances and one goal losses at home.”
On the team’s effort:
“It’s not the effort, it’s not the effort. It’s critical moments in the game when players make a difference or don’t make a difference, and at the moment we’re not making that difference.
On how to make that difference:
“We can’t be content. We can’t come in and say, ‘We did alright.’ There’s no attendance award, we have to come and we have to do something.”
On the goals for the remainder of the season:
“I think the goal is always to make the playoffs. We can’t come in and say we’re going to be the MLS champs - we have to work for it, we have to fight for it. We have to fight to get into the playoffs period. Then you can move on and rewrite your goals. At the moment - sure we’ve hung with teams, sure we’ve played well against top competition, but we haven’t gotten over that hump. Like I said it’s not about sprinting harder, running faster or jumping higher, it’s not about that because we do that. It’s about the critical moments when we have to make a difference, that’s what we have to focus on.”
On the Open Cup as an opportunity to turn things around:
“Winning is contagious, I think. You catch it and you want it. We haven’t won, it’s almost like we enjoy coming in and being content with what’s going on. So, sure we win the first round and we play another game before we play a MLS game, so sure we can get the wheels moving, we can get guys healthy and can start pushing on. But you can see we’re in games. It’s not about personnel; it’s just about those little things. Against different competition in the Open Cup maybe we can sharpen those edges.”
Quincy Amarikwa, Chicago Fire Forward
On the chemistry with Harry Shipp:
“I think Harry and I are building good chemistry up-top. It’s translating on the field and it’s turning into goals. We just need to figure it out as a team now, making sure we can prevent teams from scoring multiple goals on us so we can come away with three points. Tonight we can build from it, learn from it and move on.”
Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Forward
On play leading up to the goal, scoring and the result:
“I was trying to show up in places to find the ball, but it was hard. I was getting frustrated, I think everyone was getting frustrated, with our lack of keeping it. Right before the first goal I started feeling a little more comfortable, kind of feeling the touch, and then I hit a good shot. After that the momentum switched and I think we were back in the game. In the second half we gave up that third goal, which killed us, but I think that besides that we really kept the ball, we possessed the ball. We did things we know we can do. We had a chance to tie it up at 2-2 and to make it 3-3, but unfortunately it didn’t go in. I scored two goals, but I’m not going to be happy unless I score two more and we win 4-3. That’s the difference in this feeling and difference in New York when we won 5-4.”
On the chippy play during the game:
“I think we have to keep our focus. There was a lot of extracurricular stuff going on after every tackle, there were people complaining, but I think you just have to keep your head and focus. I think we did a good job in the second half of just moving the ball and playing simple – keeping the ball and interchanging especially through the midfield. It was hard for them to keep the ball. I think if we had done that all 90 minutes it might be a different story.”
Seattle Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the match:
“You know, I thought we made the game harder than we needed to make it. Obviously we are in a good position with a two goal lead playing a man up, and then we get a man thrown out. At that point, we gave up a goal, you know, I think Shipp took both his goals really well, he finished them well, one left footed, one right footed, and they were good finishes, but they were plays we should have stopped a bit earlier. Hats off to him and his finishes, so it made the game tight. Kept it tight all the way through.”
What changed when the Fire scored, making it two to one:
“It picked up their spirit. They are obviously playing at home so they want to make a good impression in front of their fans and they want to do well. We’ve had a good run, played well, and we have a few guys that are banged up out there and so guys are just thinking of making it through. Now we have a 5 day break. Maybe they were thinking of that.”
Seattle Sounders Midfielder Marco Pappa
On the physical match:
“I am pretty happy with the group. We were good tonight. We played a strong game. Red cards and many fouls but at the end of the day we have the three points. We are pretty happy about that.”
On his return to Chicago:
“I was excited to see to see old faces, old friends, old fans. It was for sure a lot of feelings on the pitch but Chicago has been a big part of my career.”
Seattle Sounders Midfielder Lamar Neagle
On his game winning shot:
“It has been something I’ve been trying to do a little bit more, have some composure in the box, that kind of show. When it was coming down, I did want to hit it first time but it wasn’t bouncing right. I didn’t want to rush it. Got it down and then tried to curl it in the back.”
On the funny bounce it took before he struck the ball:
“I was trying not to panic. It took a long time to come down the first time, then it bounced weird, and just took it off my knee and tried to settle it as much as I could before I took a shot.”
On the Fire goalkeeper being screened:
“Yes, I think he was screened. It was definitely behind the defender so he wouldn’t have been, or he didn’t see it before it was going in. Sean Johnson is a great goalkeeper so luckily the defender was there to block his view.”
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
On what to take away from the game:
“I thought it was a scrappy game. I don’t think either team really played that well. I think we both had a lot of changes. We played Sunday. They played Sunday. We’ve got a game Wednesday and we’ve got a game Saturday. We’re both eyeing the same thing. We can’t go 90 minutes with all of our gunner guys. And that makes it a little disjointed when the teams haven’t played together and we have a few starters who are actually tired in the end of the game. I thought Colorado pushed at the end and we had a great chance with Juan [Luis Anangono] with a bit of a break too. All-in-all, really happy with the point, not pleased with the performance. Having said that, I thought the guys really fought tonight. Effort was brilliant, absolutely fantastic. We didn’t play well but you can’t always play well.”
On Colorado’s “strange” lineup and how to prepare for it:
“Well, first, finding out who some of the players are. You know I was in the west for a bit but now I’m in the east and we don’t really play the west. I knew who they were but you have to double check to see how tall they are and kind of get as much info as you can, just to see positionally because I don’t know where they’re all going to play. So it’s not easy but I have a good coaching staff and we figured it all out and we kind of got it right. Just prepare them and we said that Brown will come on, Powers will come on, their big boys, and try to win the game late. And they did that. Everything was correct that we said. Everything that we did defensively was good. We didn’t give them a goal. We could have been a lot sharper towards goal but I’ll take it right now.”
On Sean Johnson’s performance:
“He’s been good. He’s still a young goalkeeper. He’s only just turned 25. He’s played a lot of matches but he’s still a young man. He’s been very good this season. He’s kept us in games at times. Tonight was no different, so it was good.”
On Dillon Serna’s shot off the crossbar and the defensive performance:
“I saw the flag go up so I wasn’t worried. I was just worried he was going to say play on, but it hit the crossbar anyway. We tried to just play a good solid back four and usually the byproduct of that is people going offsides. I don’t know if he was offside or not but I think we did a good job of letting him get behind us. I mean, I wouldn’t say the best in the league but Deshorn Brown’s probably the best at the breakaway. So we didn’t allow him that, thank goodness. Jhon [Kennedy Hurtado] covered Bakary [Soumare] the one time and vice versa, so we did a nice job on him at the end.”
Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire midfielder
On getting possession after a choppy start:
“It’s hard. They clogged the midfield. You can tell that Pablo’s got them closing the ball down very hard and trying to win the ball. I think we tried to play very narrow in the first half and they clogged it up so it was hard to keep possession. They’ll pressure hard and when they do that, it’s difficult to pass and keep possession.”
On Pablo’s direction with the team:
“It’s the mentality of the coach. The team follows the mentality of the coach. That’s the way Pablo was. He was right in the middle of the field. If you’re not out there closing people down, I’m sure he’s going to get on you. You can see they have that fire. They closed us down, and we weren’t good enough with the ball in the first half. I think in the second half, the game opened up a little more. You could tell, with the week that we’ve had, the guys got a little leggy. It was bound to happen.”
On the chemistry of the team:
“The cohesion is not there exactly. It’s a fairly new system that we started this week to try to get us more solid in the middle of the field. All in all, it’s the first shutout of the year, it’s a point on the road, and we’ll move onto the game on Saturday.”
Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire midfielder
On the mindset going into the second half:
“I think in the first half we struggled to keep the ball, especially through the middle. It was tough for Jeff [Larentowicz] to get the ball and kind of face up and play. Partly cause they were trying to clog the middle, partly cause we really didn’t try to play. I think it was trying to find those pockets underneath. I think most of the times I touched the ball, it was off a long ball that just fortunately fell to me, which isn’t ideal. It’s not how we want to play, but it’s just kind of how it was at the end of this game.”
On Colorado clogging the middle of the field:
“They did a good job doing that. I think it’s hard when for periods it was just me and Juan [Luis Anangono] up top isolated, it’s 2v6. It’s not really anyone’s fault, we’re playing at altitude, we played three days ago, the outside mids are tired in the last 20 minutes of the game, so they aren’t getting up as much. We’ll take the point, move on, and hopefully win on Saturday.”
Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire goalkeeper
On earning the first shutout of the season
“I think it was very important for us to get a shutout, especially in a tough game on the road in a tough stretch with three games. Coming off a Sunday game, it’s not easy to play and then travel, especially at altitude, so it was really important for us. I’m happy for everybody, not just the defenders in front of me but all the guys on the field that worked over 90 minutes to grind and get the result. Now we have to look to build and keep going and look forward to Seattle on Saturday and look to get another result.”
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On today’s performance…
“I thought we played really well today. I thought we had some great individual performances from a lot of the young guys playing, and other than one mistake, I thought we very deserved to win. Obviously very frustrating points wise, but very encouraging performance wise. I thought they gave their heart for this club and the team today and tried their best to get the result.”
On decision to start Chris Ritter…
“I think Chris has done well in the games he’s had with the reserves, trains well. With a few bumps and scrapes that we do have, I thought our forward play has been good. I thought today, other than the chance that they got and they scored on, we kept them pretty quiet. A very good team that’s good at going forward. The stability of Chris next to Jeff, it really wasn’t a defensive move. It was more making that box that Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane love to operate in. I think that Chris, Jeff, Baky, and Jhon did a really good job making it difficult for them to get any space and go and that’s reason that I am playing Chris. It loosened Jeff to get on the ball and we had some good solid possession and solid attacks.”
On the original back four together after a couple months…
“I thought they did well. Gonzo’s not really training much. He got an injection before the match, he has to get his ankle cleaned out, but I think he has done well for what he’s done. Baky and Jhon were strong, and played with authority today. Lovel wasn’t our best player but pretty close. I thought he had a great game. Once they start to play together again, and it’s been up and down and injuries and other things come into it, but I was very happy with the chances we didn’t give to L.A.”
On the health of the team…
“I think we are okay. Lovel has just a bit of tight hamstring. Quincy has been feeling a little bit fatigued. With the game on Wednesday I thought ‘take him out.’ We were one up at the time. I think we are okay. I haven’t check with Bo [Leonard] yet, but I think we should be okay.”
On changing to a more defensive formation in a 4-2-3-1…
“The balance has not quite been right and I think the balance was good today. I think we created enough chances to win the game, but we limited them to not many good looks. Whether it’s Chris or the system we played, I liked it. Logan probably would have played in there had he been healthy, but I was very happy with Chris’ performance. I was very happy with the whole demeanor we had and the way we went about it. I thought we played high up the field, which is important. I thought we created some good turnovers, our penalty comes from a turnover, but it was good play by us.”
On Landon’s performance today…
“He scored so…that’s Landon. I actually texted him when he broke the record and I was there for his first goal in the MLS and I just saw it again today, but Landon is a good player. I think you saw his quality on the finish, and any time we can keep him under wraps, and Robbie Keane, two very good players. Our team did a nice job of that, we didn’t give them some good looks, which usually they have.”
On Duka and Ward out wide…
“I think both guys did well. Dilly’s been kind of injured all year and he played in the Columbus game and wasn’t effective. He never got himself going. I talked to him this week and said ‘you got that game under your belt; that was the game to get your legs moving, now we got to start to play.’ I thought he did well, a couple of shots, but he is going to tire. He hasn’t played much, but I liked the fact that they are attacking players, both of them, with Harry and Quincy it’s four good attacking options we have and the supply was good from Chris and Jeff. I though Grant Ward played well today. He is a good player, a young kid. It’s a shame we’ve not had him and just got him now. We got to make a decision pretty soon so we will see how that goes.”
Chicago Fire Forward Quincy Amarikwa
On battling in the heat against the Galaxy
“That’s what it was, it was a battle. It’s hot, you could tell; a little bit different than what we’ve been playing in recently. As a team, we battled, we fought hard; unfortunately one mistake got the best of us. But we’ll bounce back and hopefully get a win on the road in Denver.”
On the team adapting to multiple injuries
“I mean, a couple of guys have come down with injuries, so we’ve had to adapt. I think the guys that were called upon today did really well to fit into the system and really show themselves, and show that we have depth all the way to our 18th man and beyond. I think the guys showed well, and it’s going to carry on through rest of the season.”
On how upcoming week will test depth
“Yeah, definitely, any time you have three games in eight days, your depth is going to be tested. I think we rose to the occasion today; it only builds confidence for the rest of the week.”
On combating fatigue after Columbus game
“I feel pretty good. For that reason, I came off a bit early, I think in the 60th minute. Just looking to save my legs a little bit, especially since we’re going to altitude on Wednesday. I think the guys that stepped on did really well. Again, it’s unfortunate to concede that goal; but overall, I think that’s one of the better performances we’ve had, especially at home, this season.”
Chicago Fire Homegrown Midfielder Chris Ritter
On first game in MLS
“It was an exciting day for sure. Getting your first start, or even just making your debut, is certainly a special day. The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, and I feel a bit at fault for the one goal; but definitely a learning experience, and playing more games this season could make it up.”
On the coaching staff’s advice in first game
“He kind of just told me to play my game, which is, I think, the best thing to hear from a coach. I think the whole coaching staff had all the confidence in the world in me, so it made going out there pretty easy; so I’m hopefully doing well.”
On giving up a goal and learning a tough lesson from it
“It just shows how quickly top-notch players like Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan can punish you, so definitely a lesson learned.”
On technical adjustments in the midfield prior to the game
“I think we do a good job adjusting to all the teams we play. It’s kind of a mix of adjusting and letting them adjust to you, so I thought playing with two holding midfielders was effective and held them to limited number of chances.”
On being part of the first two Homegrown players to take the field in club history
“Definitely exciting. Harry [Shipp] has done a great job this year, and I’m kind of just trying to follow in his footsteps. It’s fun to be out there with Harry, a guy I know pretty well and spend some time with off the field; so definitely a special moment.”
Chicago Fire Defender Gonzalo Segares
On first individual performance coming back from injury
“First game of the season; not completely fit yet, but it was good for me to come back. I feel that defensively, it was pretty good, but I had a few issues with the ball. Definitely not sharp yet, but you just have to keep working.”
On health of ankle after the game
“It’s okay until the medicine goes away [laughs], then it’ll start hurting. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for a long time, I think it’s around 9-10 weeks, and the bone spurs started growing after the injury that I had. But I’m just glad that we know what it is, and the injection definitely helps me be in the game and not have pain; it’s something that we eventually hope will get fixed.”
On being surprised about the starting backline meshing well
“No. I’ve worked with Baky [Soumare] for a long time, with Jhon [Kennedy Hurtado] and Lovel [Palmer] I’ve been playing with for a while; we worked a whole preseason as well, so we’re used to each other. I felt we were very satisfied with how we did defensively. It’s unfortunate that the one play, I think the only look that we gave them, they definitely took advantage of that; that’s what you get with Keane and Donovan. I think we learned from that, and we’ll just keep building up. There’s an important game against Colorado this Wednesday, and we need to go over there and get some points.”
On tying Chris Armas’ mark of 214 appearances for the Fire
“It’s definitely an honor. Chris is a guy that helped me a lot when I came into this league, he’s a Fire legend. It’s definitely an honor to have as many games as him. It’s not easy to stay at one club in MLS, and I’ve been lucky enough and fortunate to have been here for that long.”
Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena
On the match:
“Awful game today. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve told the league when it’s this hot and humid in Chicago in June, we don’t want to play afternoon games. This is not fair for the players. It’s difficult. It’s not fair for the fans. We shouldn’t be playing this game at this time. Difficult, difficult game for the players to deal with.”
On players suffering from the heat:
“Difficult conditions. You can’t play these games this early in the afternoon.”
On Robbie Rogers play:
“Rogers played very well. He did a good job for us.”
On Landon Donovan’s goal:
“Not his best day but he got a goal and he hung in there for 90 minutes so that was good. It was a lousy game today. There’s no other way to put it. I think Chicago played a little bit better than us, but the conditions were difficult for both teams and it made for a not-good game.”
On the penalty kick against LA:
“If a referee doesn’t see it, he shouldn’t call it. If he thinks he saw it, then fair enough. It may have been a foul but it was probably outside the penalty area. I don’t know how they do that without discussing it between the linesman and the referee. And if they did then they got it wrong.”
On getting a point on the road:
“[Happy] we got the point. We’ll take the point and get out of Chicago.”
On Dan Gargan’s condition:
“Just heat issues.”
Los Angeles Galaxy Captain and Forward Robbie Keane
On playing the game in hot conditions:
“I don’t know who makes these f***ing stupid decisions. Play a f***ing game at three o’clock in the afternoon. Who wants to watch that crap? Do you? I don’t want to watch that crap. These people who haven’t got a clue about soccer make these decisions when we play a game. Why not play at eight o’clock? It wasn’t on national television. It’s so stupid. They need to look at these games and use their head and be clever. No player wants to play in that humidity. Everyone was affected by the heat. Why would you want to play at three o’clock in the afternoon? On the hottest day of the year so far here in Chicago, knowing it is going to be that hot. And you can’t blame the Kings-Hawks game because you didn’t know that was going to happen until two days ago. This is absolutely ridiculous. We have to stop. We have to listen to the players instead of listening to people who have never kicked a soccer ball in their whole life.”
Los Angeles Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan:
On his goal:
“I feel great. I feel great helping the team. To get a tie on a day where we didn’t really play well and sometimes during the season you have to games where you don’t do well and you have to find a way to get something out of it. I’m glad to help out.”
On the conditions:
“That’s the way the league is at times. There are games where it is ugly. You play during the day, it’s hot, the field is slow and that kind of stuff happens. You have to have the character and the resolve to find a way to get a result and we did that today.”
On the team battling the conditions:
“It was difficult for both teams. Both teams you could tell couldn’t really get around the ball and press the ball. You couldn’t move efficiently as you wanted so again, it probably doesn’t look great from a spectator standpoint but that’s the way it goes.”
On Robbie Rogers’s assist for his goal:
“I thought he did well. Coming into the game was tough and he hasn’t played in a while so fitness wise it was going to be tough but I thought he defended pretty well. He made a few good plays and the assist was a really good ball.”
Los Angeles Midfielder Robbie Rogers
On looking confident on the field:
“I think just being able to train for three or four weeks and sustaining that kind of workload has really benefited me. I think there’s tons of things I can improve on and today I thought there were things I could have done better but I was happy to provide Landon with that assist and get a point on the road. I really think these are the kind of games that when you get three points, and I think we are a good enough team to do that, but sometimes you just kind of have to grind it out.”
On the heat affecting him:
“For me, not too much. But I could tell it affected the other guys. I only played like 60 minutes or something which is a bit different, and it was hotter in the first 20 minutes of the game and you could tell guys were tired on both teams.”
On a turning point for his comeback:
“It’s one assist in one game. It’s a lot of work that I have ahead of me this season so it’s a positive to contribute in that way and to help defensively but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
On his assist being against Chicago:
“No, it doesn’t mean anything to me. I think maybe this is my third or fourth assist I’ve had playing in Chicago when I was playing for Columbus. I’ve had some success here. I don’t know why. I’ve always enjoyed playing here and the fans are great. It’s a great city. I enjoy it.”
On his assist:
“I just kind of noticed that the guy put his head done when he was passing it to the outside midfielder and it’s a slow field, you can pick things off, so I kind of just read that and when I went to take a touch, I reached for it and I saw Robbie. I also saw Landon coming in the back post so I thought just if I could whip it into the back post he would run on to that. He had an amazing finish. It wasn’t an easy ball to finish. Those are the kind of balls a winger and an outside back has to play and we work on that kind of stuff. It’s not a routine thing but it’s kind of something you do ten, twenty times at training so it was a great finish. You have to give Landon a lot of credit.”
On the differences between the first and second halves:
“I felt like Chicago got a little tired and were playing very direct and launching balls behind us. I thought in the first half they were finding little passes here and there so it made it a little easier for us to predict. I thought we started off the beginning of the second half really well. Chicago got that goal but besides that I thought we were playing pretty well. We finished the game all right. Everyone was dead at the end of the game. We will take that point on the road.”
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On where the breakdown occurred:
“We seemed flat from the first whistle. The guys seemed up for the game, but we weren’t sharp. We had a couple chances here and there. Same as them, but they were sharper in front of the goal but we were poor defensively. For us, we have to address that but it’s difficult. We have a few guys out at the moment, so there’s not a lot we can change. We just have to keep working, and it’s one of those games were Columbus was better than us tonight they deserved to win the match. You have to take the defeat and move on.”
On having five players out:
“You can understand how it’s not just the defense. You have key guys not playing, six or so. It’s not an excuse I never make excuses. I’m not blaming them they haven’t played for a while. Steven Kinney came in and he hasn’t played all season. Grant Ward made his debut and he hasn’t played for four months. Tough night around we kept going to the end but, we were pretty naïve generally all over the pitch, especially defensively. We have to make better decisions where we don’t give chances to the opposition. We left the game mentally flat. Maybe it’s because we came off two wins, and we don’t think we have to earn the right to play a game. We do every game.”
On dealing with Higuain’s ability to spring players:
“He’s pretty close to the best in the League. The game plan was as soon as he got the ball to drop. We couldn’t really figure it out. He does it at the right time and he finds space. He’s a good player, take nothing away from that guy. He’s a very good player. He sees the game well. He sees the game how it should be looked at. Offensively, we couldn’t handle it. It wasn’t just him they had good runners off the ball. We made poor decisions defensively to give them the chances to score.”
On not being able to score:
“That’s kind of us. We looked like we were going to score most games. We went through the game and had some good chances. Quincy [Amarikwa] has gotten some good spots. I just talked to him he’s a little calmer, a little bit picking guys out. I’ve only seen him once but we had chances to score but you can’t keep conceding goals and win matches. At some point you need to shut it down and make it difficult. It’s the whole team; it’s not just one or two guys. The whole team has to do it.”
Chicago Fire Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
On the backline:
“Columbus guys are tricky, they know how to run off your back shoulder, they know how to find time on the ball and it allows guys in the midfield to pick out runners. I think that both goals come off of passes from the midfield with runners off of our back shoulder. They both ended up as goals. They also had other opportunities that were similar that didn’t come off for them.”
On Columbus tactics:
“They overload the midfield so we have to find a way to get pressure on the ball. If we turn the ball over then there is no pressure on the ball and then he can pick his head up and make those passes. Like I said, the forwards and the wingers are tricky enough to run off his shoulder and find that space. It’s dangerous.”
On missing players on the road:
“Every road game in this League is a difficult game. However, every road game is a winnable game if you’re playing right, if you’re turned on at the right moments. Today we weren’t.”
Chicago Fire Goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On new players in new positions:
“I think you can’t really come up with any excuses. You can’t really look to blame a different lineup or different person. We are all on the same team. We all train together on the pitch and prepare ourselves for match day. I think it’s down to what we do when we step on the field. We are more than capable of meshing together for 90 minutes and getting a result.”
“Higuain is a class player. He’s not just been doing that for our game, he didn’t really come out of anywhere, he’s been doing it all season. We’ve got to do a better job of being aware of the kind of things he likes to do. He’s a crafty player, very good on the ball. I think just putting ourselves in better spots. It’s not any surprise to us that Higuain is capable of threading those passes and putting himself in those spots. It’s just up to us to deal with those things better.”
“On the first one I put him out wide and I think it was still an angle where he had a difficult finish. It could’ve been saved, possibly. The second one was in no man’s land and I came out to close the angle and he did well to put it past me.”
COLUMBUS CREW SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER
On needing a win:
The starting point is it is always better to win then to lose or draw. We’re happy. I think we’ve been frustrated that we’ve been playing well and not getting the results. We’re still trying to focus on the product we’re creating and how we’re playing. It’s nice when you get results. From that standpoint were happy. I think it was a good effort. Obviously we’re missing some guys but we did a great job.
On Ethan Finlay’s first start of the season:
He was excellent. This game isn’t something that comes out of the blue. If we look at what he’s been doing these last couple of weeks, he’s been leading up to this. I’m most happy with the fact that he was a guy that isn’t a starter, he works his way to the 18, he works his way to the starting lineup, then he performs like this. You can see the progression and he makes other guys believe there’s a chance. He makes other guys believe that if they work hard and train hard that they will get an opportunity.
Chicago hasn’t been shut-out yet this season I think that speaks for itself. The guys did it with determination. Guys like Eric [Gehrig], Tyson [Wahl], Hector [Jimenez]. I mean I thought Chad Barson was great as well with his defensive responsibilities. Steve Clark was very secure today. On crosses, he didn’t give up any rebounds today and that’s what you want from a goalkeeper. I think these guys really responded. You can see some of the guys that played last week and played again this week they are getting a rhythm and they are getting a lot more comfortable.
On Michael Parkhurst and importance of getting him in the game:
I think the fans were spectacular to give him that ovation and really cheer him on. He’s been through a lot these last couple of days and it’s nice for him to feel that everyone supports him. It’s the team, the fans and the community supports him. He had a tough session on Thursday, followed by a weight session followed by a red-eye across the country. It was too much for him, he wanted to play but I didn’t think it was worth the risk of an injury after all of that travel and training.
On replacing Federico Higuain:
You don’t replace Federico, simple as that. We get someone on the field that can play their game and we’re not going to ask someone to come in and play like Federico that would be foolish of us. We’re going to ask someone to come in and play to the best of their ability. I’m confident that we are going to be able to get that out of someone.
COLUMBUS CREW GOALKEEPER STEVE CLARK
On tonight’s game:
We had a fantastic game. We knew that there were a lot of players on this team that could play and Eric [Gehrig] obviously stepped up tonight. The thing about Eric is that he is a gamer, the whistle blows and we don’t have a problem.
On second shutout of the season:
For me it’s more important to win and I knew that if I continued to play the way that I play every game then shutouts are going to come and a lot of them. For me it’s about process not results all the time, especially in the goal keeping you have to keep your head and blinders on from distractions. Shut outs come and they go.
On Chicago’s playing before first goal:
You have to give credit to Ethan Finlay for figuring that out, he had a fantastic run. He is a very intelligent kid and a very intelligent soccer player. He spotted that and he was in behind.
On Crew’s teamwork tonight:
I think that our backline had a good game but I can’t tell you compared to their backline. We didn’t give them a goal and they gave up two but I thought that we played very well.
COLUMBUS CREW DEFENDER MICHAEL PARKHURST
On playing tonight:
It’s nice to be back home. It’s a few weeks earlier than I participated or that I wanted but it’s really good to be home. And it was a really nice motivation when I came on the field and I heard everybody. I was really appreciative of that and the support that everyone has given me here.
On the last 48 hours since being cut from the final U.S. Men’s National Team roster:
It’s tough. We didn’t know that the cuts were going to come in that day so no expectations there. It’s difficult of course, I just lost my dream. You have to bounce back and be professional. Now my whole propose is the Crew.
On leaving with his “best foot forward”:
Yeah I think so, I don’t think that there is anything else I could have done. I don’t think that there was anything negative that was on my part that made them not choose me. I think that’s just how it was set up. It makes it a little easier for me to swallow knowing that I had done my best.
On moving on from the roster announcement:
Absolutely, it’s great to be back around the guys. I wanted to come back here and get back to business as quick as possible to get my mind off of it.