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14 June 8:23 am

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop

On the result:
“It seems it’s the story of the season, where we play well enough to be in the game, do the right things, mainly. Getting chances and not taken them. Then having a spell of lax play when we’re soft and we’re off people and they are letting them play and then the team punishes us, it’s happen actually all season to be honest, more than a couple of games. It’s a real difficult one to put your finger on because it’s a whole team thing but we got to be a lot stronger and braver in both boxes, and that’s where the game is won and lost.”

On the period right after halftime when New England scored:
“Halftime shouldn’t make a difference in the performance, we’re professional, they have been playing the game a long time, doesn’t make a difference, you got to be ready whatever they throw at you and you’ll be clued in and tuned in and we weren’t and when you give a team with the fire power like New England, obviously have good players, they are going to punish you and they did. It was a set play again, good finish, but we have guys running sort of away from the danger area when they shouldn’t be and leaving a guy like that at the edge of the box, pre-strike, he’s going to hit the target and he did, but we got to hand it to their finishers, pretty good what they did tonight and ours were poor.”

On his team playing to the end of the game despite being down two goals:
“The game was kind of, I wouldn’t say it was dead, if we would’ve scored one to get it back, pretty close to it. JJ had a couple of good chances, Jason Johnson. Guly had one I think. I think the one that was really good was Harry (Shipp) headed at the start of the game. If we score that, it makes a bit of a difference obviously, but still, we have not had a nil nil game this year. Forget scoring, we can’t defend. We have conceded I think seven or eight goals in three matches. I know the league is an attacking league but that doesn’t mean anything, so we got to figure that out for sure.”

On how his club will move forward:
“We get all our guys that are away back, still they are attacking guys they’re not defensive type players so it makes a difference to the other team. Again we just didn’t defend well at the right times and got punished.” 

Chicago Fire forward Jason Johnson

On his opportunities as a substitute:
“Pretty much unfortunate. It’s never a good sign when you try, try and keeper made good saves or unfortunate to just—for the ball to just go outside the post. Dreaded for the loss but we got to stay focused, stick together and get ready for the next game, you know?”

On whether the bye week and upcoming U.S. Open Cup game may help the team regroup:
“I think the Open Cup game coming up is a good opportunity to get back the winning way cycle. That would be good to get the momentum going even in the bye week, for the guys to get ready for the next game.”

Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp

On the result:
“It was a tough one I thought overall they did a better job than we did at controlling tempo.  I think a lot of the game was played in our own defensive half which eventually you’re going probably give up goals if that’s the case and we created a couple of chances, could have snuck away with a tie but all in all we were outplayed.”

On missing some key players:
“It’s tough when you’re missing guys but we’re confident in the guys we have and that’s no excuse.  I think you expect, you’ve got a team of 26, 27 guys you expect whosever here to be able to step in and do the roles just as well as the guys who are gone so no it’s no excuse for us.”

On the team moving forward:
“It’s tough I think it’s three losses in a row now for us so it’s been tough, it’s a tough stretch, you know it’s a long season so you’re probably going to have a few stretches where you’re winless for a few games but it’s how you snap out of it and gain some confidence because right now we’re probably a little low on that.”

 

12 June 10:24 pm

A nationwide movement swept through the City of Chicago Friday -- one with a close connection to the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.

For the first time ever, Special Olympics is orchestrating a coast-to-coast relay of the Flame of Hope in preparation for the upcoming Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 in Los Angeles (July 25-Aug. 2). In fact, the torch is traversing a trio of routes across the continental U.S., following Northern, Central and Southern passages, crossing through all 50 states over 46 days with the help of thousands of local torchbearers along the way.

As the Northern Route makes its way through the Midwest, Chicago Fire COO Atul Khosla -- flanked by Sparky, the Chicago Fire mascot -- was fortunate enough Friday to cover a half-mile leg of the journey that wound through McCormick Place and west along Cermak Road.

On Saturday, Special Olympics will host a Unified Relay Community Celebration at Navy Pier from 1-3 p.m., before continuing north to Wisconsin and on to Minnesota. Additionally, area residents wishing to support Special Olympics in a direct manner can attend this weekend's Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games at Illinois State University in Normal and Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Competition began Friday and continues Saturday (7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.) through Sunday (7:30 a.m.-Noon).

The Chicago Fire and Chicago Fire Foundation have long partnered with Special Olympics for initiatives throughout the area, but AK's involvement in the inaugural Unified Relay carried a bit of extra significance thanks to the ongoing Chicago Fire Unified Soccer Team initiative. The team, which pairs teens with and without intellectual disabilities, is part of a cornerstone program for Special Olympics as the organization seeks to break down stereotypes and foster fun, empowering athletic settings. The Fire's Unified Soccer Team is currently in training for an August match in Portland that coincides with the Chicago Fire First Team's road match against the Portland Timbers. 

For more on the Special Olympics Unified Relay and to follow its journey, visit UnifiedRelay.org

06 June 3:03 pm

2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Kaká is slated to feature for Orlando City SC in tonight's match vs. the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park (7:30 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago). With that in mind, the broadcast duo of Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan have asked Chicago Fire fans for their opinions on today's matchday poll question: 

Who is the greatest player to show in a match played at Toyota Park? Choose from the answers below and tune into the CSN Chicago pregame show at 7 p.m. CT to watch Dan and Kevin debate the question. 

 

05 June 10:38 am

The weather forecast for the Chicago Fire's Saturday night matchup with Orlando City SC (7:30 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, ESPN Deportes 97.5 FM Chicago) calls for clear skies and warm, June-like temperatures. 

The outlook for the following morning? Not as promising. 

As a result of predicted rain and severe weather, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Friday that the annual Meet The Team event for the club's Season Ticket Holders, originally scheduled for Sunday (June 7), has been postponed to Sunday, July 26. The event, which allows Season Ticket Holders to meet and mingle with Chicago Fire First Team players and coaches at Toyota Park, will run from 12-2 p.m.

Season ticket holders with further questions should contact their dedicated account representative or call 888-MLS-FIRE for more information.

See you Saturday night!

03 June 10:27 pm

Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Yallop

On what he saw in the first half:
"If you look at the way we played it was very good and basically at half time it’s more of the same. I knew they were going to change the game with putting players on. Espindola comes on and makes a difference but we seemed to stop playing. You’ve got to credit D.C. for the forceful play but we’ve got to do better at defending and handling situations. I said they’re going to change it up and get at you so we better be ready for it and we’ve got to adjust our game and play quicker or whatever it is and when we get a chance to punish them on the break, best do it so it’s disappointing were 1-0 up and lose 3-1 away from home. You know it’s never a good feeling at all."

On the team’s first goal:
"It was a great goal for us. Good early ball by Harry, great run by Quincy, good early ball by Quincy and a good finish by David but that wasn’t the issue. For whatever reason we stopped playing in a certain part in the game and started trying to soak up pressure when we can’t do that. We were naïve a little bit tonight I think in the big picture and D.C. United kept going and were stronger than us. The set play goal was awful to concede. I haven’t seen the goals, so I have to look at them again on tape but it’s never good to concede three goals at home or away but especially when you’re away and one goal up."

On the midweek road games and the challenges that brings:
"Yeah, there are no excuses though, we’re professionals, for 45 minutes we were fine. I thought we played probably our best stuff away from home. It was good, it was clean. Without getting the second goal, Jeff missed penalty kick but obviously it maybe wouldn’t have mattered because right afterwards we scored anyway. For us conceding three goals in any match is not good so we’ve got to look at it again, dig deep and get ready for Saturday’s game because it’s a big game for us."

On what he takes away from this game heading in to Saturday:
"We’ve got to take away decent play in the first half, good goal by us but we’ve got to look at the tape and figure out what went wrong in the second half. It was forty minutes, three goals conceded which is not good. I think one of them was a bit of a ricochet but it doesn’t matter, we’ve got to be able to clear the ball. We’ve got to defend a lot better than that. I made some changes to the lineup but I don’t think that made a difference to the result and I think we should have done better than that to get a result."

Chicago Fire Goalkeeper Jon Busch

On his impressions on the game:
"The first half they didn’t have too many looks. They were organized defensively and had some good chances on the offensive side. They had the one early shot and that was about it. Second half they stepped it up a gear and unfortunately we couldn’t keep up with it. They took over the second half and we couldn’t deal with it."

On what he took away from the game:
"It’s the same thing we’ve been saying all season, we have halves that are good and we have halves that aren’t good. The first half was a real positive. Second half we weren’t sharp, we weren’t keeping the ball when we should and we weren’t dynamic enough. We got a little lackadaisical in the back and good teams will punish you. D.C. United is a good team, they’re at the top of the table for a reason and they showed it tonight."

On the difficulties of the midweek game:
"There’s no excuses. Everybody’s got to play midweek games at some point in the season. We came out with the right mentality just didn’t do it for 90 minutes and we’ve got to pick ourselves up now and get ready for Saturday. This is how the league goes and you just get on with it. You have midweek games, you’ve got bunches where you’ve got to pick up points."

Chicago Fire Forward David Accam

On the overall reaction to the game:
"For me, I think we played a good team today. So far this season this is the best team we played and it showed in that second half. Even though we were much better in the first half, we didn’t keep the tempo up and they were much better than us in the second half."

On the differences in the second half:
"I think they wanted it more than us in the second half and that’s the only difference. You can see the pressure they gave us and they were hungry to win the game."

On his goal:
"For me, I know whenever the ball is out wide then I need to get in the box. Quincy was smart enough to see me, to give me the first time pass to score."

On what he takes in to the next game against Orlando:
"How we played in the first half. There was so much positive in the first half and we have to forget about the scores today and concentrate on the next game on Saturday. We should play the way we played in the first half and we should win on Saturday."

 

03 June 4:07 pm

The CSN Chicago announcing duo of Dan Kelly and Kevin Egan are asking fans for their help prior to tonight's Chicago Fire match at DC United. 

     MORE: Match Preview

Cast your vote in the survey below and watch Dan and Kevin discuss your responses on the Chicago Fire Pregame show at 5:30 p.m. CT on CSN Chicago Plus: 

 

01 June 9:50 am

The next big Major League Soccer star may one day look back and remember the Chicago Fire as the club that offered a springboard to his pro soccer career.

A national search for undiscovered youth soccer talent that began with 1,200 total entrants across three tryout locations (Chicago, Orlando and Los Angeles) has been narrowed to four final honorees. Remarkably, three of the four were among those that emerged as winners of the Chicago-based tryout hosted in conjunction with the Chicago Fire on May 16-17.

The four finalists were announced Sunday at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles -- where the 18 total winners from each regional tryout lived and trained as professionals for one week -- during a live broadcast on Univision's Republica Deportiva.

Eduardo Munoz, a Lafayette, Ind. native who emerged from the Chicago tryout, claimed the Portero Allstate honor as the top goalkeeper in the competition. He'll head to the Sueño MLS final in Miami next week along with three finalists from among the field players: Baltazar Duran of Cicero, Ill., Miguel Acosta of San Diego, and Isaac Arellano of Las Vegas, who came through the Chicago-area tryout.

On the line in Miami will be one spot in a Major League Soccer Academy program and a veritable path to an MLS First Team.

For more on the Sueño MLS program and each of the four finalists, visit MLSsoccer.com/Sueño.

 

 

 

22 May 10:55 pm

CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP

On getting a draw on the road against Columbus Crew SC
"Any time you can come back in a game like this is huge, against a very good team too. So, you got something out of the game and you come back, and I think the boys are really happy. I felt we, to be honest, we could’ve won it. We had the chances I thought late, but Columbus had a few as well so it was a pretty even game. But I feel that the general play for us was good. Just the first half, I just said to the boys, we just in the final third weren’t as crisp as we should be, but that’s been our problem kind of all year. And obviously you have a couple of chances and you score one goal. So what I liked about it, we had a good chat about it at halftime, the guys came out in the second half and really went to town, tried hard even going two [goals] down, and came right back into it and did okay. It was a good result."

         Match Highlights | Match Recap 

On the second half adjustments made by Chicago Fire
"We pressed a little bit higher. I thought we did a really good job of denying [Federico] Higuain space in the first half. As soon as you go down, you got to push on them and then he really starts to come into the game a little bit. So it was kind of cat-and-mouse, and I thought we did a good job defensively on him, and the whole team actually, Columbus, I thought. They didn’t have that many chances in the first half. But then the game opens up at two-nil and then he starts to come into it. So what I liked about us, we kept going, we got the goal in the end that we deserved and that was a big moment for us."

On the performance of Chicago’s substitutions
"[I’m] very happy. You put them on for a reason. You want to change the game or you see something, we need a little more pace with [Joevin Jones] wide, let Guly come on the field. I think Quincy [Amarikwa] obviously had a great twenty minutes or whatever it was. He was excellent. I said to the guys, well done to the team that started, but well done to the subs. They really made a difference in the match, seeing them sort through and could’ve won the game. So very happy with the all-around squad today."

On starting goalkeeper Jon Busch over Sean Johnson
"I just think Jon [Busch] needs games. I always think you’re not dropping off a level when you play Jon Busch, so I just felt it was time to give him a game and see how he does. Sean has got a couple of little things he’s nursing, but I don’t need to say what they are, but I just felt I wanted to play Jon in this game and he played great."

On Jon Busch’s 300th MLS appearance
"Anybody who’s played in that amount of games at any level, especially this highest level in this country, is fantastic. And Jon is a great pro, he’s a good teammate to the players in there, and he works very, very hard and I think that he’s a winner. He wants to win. It was a great pickup for us to bring Jon in, someone with his experience, and obviously 300 games is a wonderful milestone to get to."

CHICAGO FIRE FORWARD JASON JOHNSON

On his thoughts on his first goal of the year
"Not much. I’m just getting ready for the next game. We are still in the season, it is not like we won a trophy tonight, but it is great to get a tie on the road. I’ll enjoy the little goal I had tonight, but I am focused on the next game."

On the adjustments made
"Credit to the coaches and how they handled the game and the players as well, David Accam to be exact. [He] took us back in the game after we were down two-nil. It was a very important goal. A couple minutes after [Crew SC’s] goal, to get a header from a Kennedy [Igboananike] cross, that kind of gave life and motivation for the players. I was happy the coaches called my name and I am happy to have gotten a point for this team."

On what he can build off of tonight’s performance
"Just keep working hard. There is no area of my game [in particular] that I think I need to improve, because every day you think you can get better, so I’m just working hard at everything I do in training and just focus."

CHICAGO FIRE DEFENDER ERIC GEHRIG

On if this game was redemption after last week’s result
"It’s tough, we were a little unhappy with the past couple of weeks. But at the end of the day, you just have to keep going. Week after week, we play good teams and we knew it was a good opportunity to come here. Obviously Columbus is a great team at home and we knew they were looking to win after last week’s loss, but we have a good team as well. Unfortunately we gave up two but we were able to get back two and I think that both teams deserve a point."

On what it was like to play against former teammate/roommate Justin Meram
"I lived with Justin for three years and I know he is a great player. In my mind I think he is one of the best players in the league. He’s a dangerous player and he can hurt you in a lot of ways but it was a good total team effort tonight. Definitely special seeing Justin on the other side and we talked about trading jerseys. He’s a good guy and he asked me to be in his wedding yesterday, so it’s been a pretty cool weekend."

On acknowledging the fans in the Nordecke at the end of the match
[Crew SC] gave me a chance and I came here as an undrafted rookie and they probably didn’t even know who I was to be honest, but it didn’t matter. They showed me love the last four years and  I’ve had some good memories here. I was away from home and they kind of took me in. It was definitely a special moment and they are good to me still, its special."

 

26 August 10:35 am

Every season I like to take in a few away matches as a fan and with a Toronto away date finally coming on a weekend again, I did so on Saturday.

The ups and downs of that match are easily memorable and even though the team didn't walk away with three points, the fighting spirit displayed to earn a point at a bolstered TFC side gave positive feelings as we walked away from BMO Field.

During that maze of an exit through the carnival going on at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Section 8 Chicago chairman Pattrick Stanton pointed out to me that both Robert Earnshaw and Quincy Amarikwa scored against their former side Toronto FC and said, "That has to be the first time two players have ever done that for the Fire."

While I fancy myself a "stat man", i honestly couldn't rifle through the previous 520 matches in my head to confirm. With the help of a small bit of free time, I can confirm that Pattrick is right.... sort of, with an asterisk*

Technically on August 25, 2001 Ante Razov -AND- DaMarcus Beasley scored in a 3-1 victory over the LA Galaxy at The Rose Bowl. The reason this stat was asterisk worthy was because while Beasley, who scored a second half brace in that match was originally allocated to the LA Galaxy in 1999, he never played for the side that year.

Instead the Fort Wayne, Ind. native played a couple games with the Project-40 team (a precursor to Generation adidas) and the bulk of his time that year with the U.S. U-17 National Team that finished fourth at the World Championships in New Zealand. At that tournament, DMB was awarded the Silver Ball, as second best player of the competition behind teammate Landon Donovan.

In other words, while Beasley was part of the Galaxy, a lot of his time was spent away from LA before being traded to the Fire for the club's natural first round SuperDraft selections in 2000 and 2001... HISTORY SIDE BAR: The Galaxy selected Danny Califf (2000) and Isaias Bardales, Jr. (2001) with those picks. 

So with that in mind I'll make up a new stat...

Saturday's goals from Earnshaw and Amarikwa were the first from Fire players in the same game who actually played for the former team they scored against. A mouth full for sure, but certainly noteworthy.

In my research, I also found three instances where a player scored a brace against his former side. All of these are listed below. 

Date Game/Result Goal Scorer(s)
May 22, 1999 3-1 W vs. Kansas City Diego Gutierrez 27' 75'
August 25, 2001 4-1 W at LA Galaxy Ante Razov 5', DaMarcus Beasley 64, 93'+
June 12, 2004 2-3 L at LA Galaxy Ante Razov 28', 67'
October 12, 2008 2-2 D vs. Columbus Crew Brian McBride 13', 79'
August 23, 2014 2-2 D at Toronto FC Robert Earnshaw 70', Quincy Amarikwa 90'

 

28 July 3:29 pm

Prior to Saturday's friendly vs. Tottenham Hotspur, Fire players Patrick Ianni and Matt Fondy joined Spurs counterparts Zeki Fryers and Tom Carroll to pay visits to patients at the University of Illinois Children's Hospital. 

A look at some of their stops: