Blog

jeff crandall

27 March 4:35 pm

We gave Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa free reign over our official Twitter account Thursday afternoon for an #AskQuincy session... Here were the results: 

27 March 8:17 am

I've spent some time this week on Twitter pondering whether or not New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill would receive any additional suspension for a swing he took on reigning 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee in the waning moments of Sunday's home opener.

The thoughts crossed my mind after seeing the two game suspension that Fire defender Lovel Palmer received the previous week for a foul that didn't look nearly as egregious as the one Cahill committed on Magee. My suspicions were only heightened when the play didn't make it into MLSsoccer.com's weekly "Instant Replay" feature earlier this week.

Watch it again below:

The MLS Disciplinary Committee decided Wednesday that the foul Cahill committed was only deserving of the yellow card that referee Drew Fischer showed to the Australian international and that no further disciplinary action would be necessary.

Admittedly I'm a homer and I'm sure there has at some point in the 19-year history of MLS there have been more egregious plays that have gone unpunished but it was hard not to feel like Lovel Palmer, who will be suspended again for Saturday's game at D.C. United, was the one losing out in this whole situation.

As I learned Wednesday night, clearly I should have just called on the services of young Keira Magee, who with the help of her father, quite plainly put the whole situation in perspective better than multiple tweets from the club's Team Writer ever could:

Anyways, it may be time to get the below hashtag some love on Twitter...

26 March 9:07 am

It's Opening Day on Sunday and I'm making my normal pre-game rounds at the Section 8 Chicago tailgate. As I parade through the gaggle of the club's most vocal supporters, I stop and welcome back familiar faces from Ultras Red Side, one of the bigger groups inside of Section 8.  

As we chat about our hopes for the game and what kind of spirits are keeping us warm, one Antwon Galante reveals a fresh tattoo he had done the night before. 

"I had it planned for a while now but I wanted to get it for the new season -- fresh ink and a fresh start for 2014," Galante told me by phone on Wednesday.

The new tattoo features a large Fire logo on his right wrist and above it, an illustration of "The Harlem End" where Section 8 Chicago is based in Toyota Park. 

"Obviously I wanted to pay homage to the Fire but also pay tribute to Section 8 and The Harlem End," he said. "It's a special part of our stadium and it's been like a second home to me."

While the tattoo was still obviously raw (and a little painful for Antwon), I quickly took out my iPhone and threw it up on the @ChicagoFire Instagram account. Shortly after @MLS did a #regram of it and Antwon was famous in the #MLSInk world.

You come into work on Wednesday and see the whole #cf97Ink hashtag has started to be populated on Twitter by others that have made that life-long decision to have some type of Chicago Fire-related art adorn their body. 

A few more... 

Have #cf97Ink? Join the party by tweeting photos of your Chicago Fire-related tattoos to us @ChicagoFire using #cf97Ink. We'll post them in this blog throughout the day! 

Extra credit goes to the person that doesn't have #cf97Ink but goes and gets it by the end of the day... 

25 March 2:46 pm

On Tuesday I wrote about Fire newbie Greg Cochrane filling in admirably for veteran left back Gonzalo Segares during his club debut in Sunday's 1-1 draw with New York. You can't always fit every good quote into a story so without just throwing them all away, I decided to include them here...  

JC: How has getting time in the CONCACAF Champions League with LA Galaxy so early in your career helped you?

GC: When you’re going down to other countries  you’re playing in hostile environments where the fans throw stuff at you. From that point of view, I also got to see a lot of different styles – Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador – every country has their own flavor and I was able to pick up a lot of different stuff from those games, try to get better and keep improving

JC: When Mike Magee joined the Fire last year, he said playing with the likes of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and David Beckham everyday gave him a certain confidence. Would you agree?

GC: Definitely. Training with those guys every day, Robbie and Landon and Omar Gonzalez are on national teams. They’re the best in their countries and are top class players. You learn so much from them and so when you come to other teams, it gives you confidence to keep doing what you’re doing.

JC: As a left back, who do you model your game after most?

GC: Right now my two favorites are Leighton Baines for Everton and Jordi Alba for Barcelona. They’re not the biggest of guys and neither am I but when you see guys like that succeeding at the highest level, you know you can do it too. Jordi at Barcelona is busing all over the field and Baines is one of the best left foots in the world serving a ball. I try to emulate both of them.

JC: How difficult would you describe the past few weeks, joining a new team and having to move to a new city all while trying to earn your spot in the team? 

GC: It’s been a fun experience. I try to take eeverything and put it in a good light. It was nice that the Fire were coming out to LA the first week so I didn’t have to rush to put anything into storage. It gave me a couple days to process the fact that I was traded and meet up with the team. Here, you’re in the hotels and you don’t have a permanent residence yet – that’s part is frustrating. It’s fun, I’ve enjoyed it so far – all the guys are real welcoming. It’s good to feel welcomed right away – it makes you feel like you can play like yourself and be yourself. 

22 March 1:12 pm

The vital information on your 2014 Chicago Fire ahead of Sunday's home opener vs. New York Red Bulls...

 Tickets still available for Opening Day, Sunday at 2pm CT vs. New York! Click here!

17 March 2:39 pm

How is it that Quincy Amarikwa doesn’t have a neutral gear? What super power would he like to possess? Also, what exactly is #QuincyTime?

Answers to all these questions in Both Sides of the Badge, presented by Quaker:

13 March 10:31 am

Quincy Amarikwa has become somewhat of a statistical phenomenon in his time with the Chicago Fire.

Throughout his six seasons in MLS, Amarikwa has collected his paycheck in a super-sub role, bringing that extra bit of energy to go at defenders when his team is looking for a goal. Amarikwa has just 14 starts in 82 MLS appearances, nearly half of which (6) came with Toronto FC in 2012.

While he could always help generate some offense, Amarikwa’s stat line wasn’t anything too special during his first four MLS seasons, tallying four goals and four assists in 67 regular season games for San Jose, Colorado and Toronto FC between 2009-2012.

Flash forward to last year the way he earned his spot with the Fire. in a preseason friendly against San Jose in Santa Barbara, Calif. Amarikwa, who joined the team at their preseason training base earlier that day, ended up coming in for the final 15 minutes of a 0-0 deadlock.

Amarikwa made the most of his short time on the field, earning  a penalty that was eventually converted by Jeff Larentowicz to give the team a 1-0 victory over the Quakes.

Those 15 minutes earned him a contract with the club and were the start of what has become dubbed as “Quincy Time”, i.e., the short amount of time Amarikwa has to work with in order to produce offense.

This bore out over the course of last season when the veteran MLS forward racked up the best goals to minutes ratio in MLS, tallying three in just 299 minutes or .90 goals per 90 minutes.

With his goal in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Chivas USA, his scoring rate with the Fire actually increased to 1.08 per 90 minutes. Meaning in theory, statistically, Amarikwa is good for at least a goal a game.

In 332 minutes with the Fire, Amarikwa has matched the goal total he racked up playing 1958 minutes over his previous four MLS seasons.

So what’s the craziest part of all this?

He’s never started a match for the Fire, making 15 MLS appearances in just over a year. After consulting the TrueCar Player Registry, aside from newbie Benji Joya, Amarikwa is the only player in club history to score a goal without having started an MLS match.

Furthermore, Amarikwa has never even played a full half for the Men in Red – the most minutes logged in one game has been 43, which came in the 4-1 destruction of D.C. United on July 20 last season. Even though he didn’t score in that game, he did earn the penalty kick that Mike Magee converted for Fire goal number four.

He’s also scored each of his last three appearances for the Fire, dating back to a 3-0 win last October at D.C. United.

Amarikwa has surely done well enough in his short minutes with the Fire to earn more playing time and perhaps even his first start. Surely it’ll come at some point this season and when it does, his impressive goals to minutes ratio will inevitably drop.

Still, it’s hard to argue against seeing more “Quincy Time”.

WATCH: Quincy Amarikwa’s body of work for the Chicago Fire

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09 March 8:18 am

It's MATCHDAY and if you're anything like @ChicagoFire on Twitter, you woke up doing this, this morning:

We here at Chicago-Fire.com want to see how excited you are for today's game. Tweet or Instagram photos and videos of how you're getting ready for the season opener vs. Chivas USA and we'll post some of the best ones here throughout the day. One random submission will also win a brand new primary kit!

Tweet/Instagram your photos and to @ChicagoFire using #cf97 or #cf97Selfies!

06 March 5:59 pm

Chicago Fire forward Quincy Amarikwa proved rather effective in what time he got on the field last year (he scored three goals in 299 minutes). In his time off of it, he also proved to be perhaps the top MLS player in the league's Fantasy Manager game.

With the start of the 2014 MLS season just two days away, he's presenting a challenge: #BeatQuincy at MLS Fantasy Manager... See below:

Join the "#BeatQuincy Challenge" League on the MLS Fantasy Manager and you could win a signed-Quincy Amarikwa jersey along with other prizes!

Sign-up for Quincy's League using code: 17933-3213

Once you join, feel free to #TrashTalkQuincy on Twitter & Instagram @QuincyAmarikwa!

05 March 8:17 pm

Chicago Fire acquire midfielder Matt Watson on March 5, 2014

(Photo courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps)

When asked about finalizing his roster before the start of the 2014 season Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop said on a conference call last week that he and his staff were "looking at other possibilities with other teams about maybe trading. We’re forever on the lookout.”

The options have become clearer as Yallop and his staff have pulled the trigger on two trades in three days.

On Monday, the team acquired left back Greg Cochrane from the LA Galaxy while the team acquired midfielder Matt Watson (above) from Vancouver in exchange for an international roster spot.

Neither player is brought in with a view of starting but it seems likely Yallop and his staff will look to both to provide depth. Cochrane played 12 matches for LA during his rookie season in 2013, filling in mostly for veteran Todd Dunivant. 

Watson, who's known for a high work ethic and steady, consistent performances, played a more regular role with the Whitecaps over the past two seasons, appearing in 21 matches in 2013. 

The acquisitions mean that the team roster sits at 29 players four days out from the season opener vs. Chivas USA. While MLS rosters can accomodate 30 players, Yallop has said he expects to start the season with 28, likely using the open two spots to earn allocation money from the league to help with the team's tight salary situation.

With the team admitting they're working towards a loan deal with Tottenham Hotspur's Grant Ward, it seems likely more moves could be imminent.  

Stay tuned.