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Chicago Fire

30 June 11:00 pm

Patrick Nyarko expected to be pretty good in his debut appearance in the 2015 season. Just “not quite that good,” he said.

After an absence of over eight months while recovering from a knee injury, the 29-year-old Ghanaian winger came on as a 77th-minute substitute Tuesday in U.S. Open Cup action against Charlotte Independence. It was the 201st appearance in a Fire shirt across all competitions for Nyarko -- the longest tenured player on the current roster -- and it's likely one that will feature prominently in his memory whenever his professional playing days are over.

About five minutes after stepping onto the field, he made his first touch one to remember, splitting two defenders before setting up Mike Magee perfectly for Magee's second goal of the game.

With that moment came the rush of emotions typical of a long process now nearing completion. He harbors a great deal of gratitude for the coaching staff, the supporters and the club as a whole for sticking by him through it all. Though Nyarko is still not back to full fitness, the tallest mountain has been climbed. He had come full circle since posting an assist in his last previous appearance on Oct. 18, 2014.

“All the tough days waking up and trying to get back,” he said, “you appreciate the patience of the club waiting up on me, being patient with me to take as long as I can to come back and come back stronger.”

He and Magee had talked about this moment. They had both returned from lengthy injury absences and wanted to make their mark. The plan was for Nyarko to set up Magee for a goal, and that plan came to fruition.

The celebration, on the other hand, didn’t go as scripted. Magee was supposed to tackle Nyarko, who would then get up and take off for the tunnel. Instead, Magee picked his counterpart up and carried him about 10 yards before teammates mobbed them.

Close enough. It didn’t take away from the beauty of Nyarko’s return. And it seemed like a fair reward for months of hard work just to get back on the pitch.

“It feels good,” Nyarko said. “It’s been a long road.”

—Luke Srodulski

29 June 4:13 pm

“We’re forever looking.”

When asked about potential roster moves, that tends to be the go-to response for Chicago Fire head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop. He and his staff are always on the search players who may make for proper additions to the club, now or sometime down the line.

He feels like he (re)discovered one Friday in the acquisition of defender Ty Harden from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for forward Quincy Amarikwa. Yallop was responsible for drafting Harden to the LA Galaxy in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft (23rd overall), and also worked with the defender in San Jose in 2013 before Yallop’s move to the Windy City.

       Open Cup Preview | Read: Open Cup Opportunity

“Ty’s a centerback; I felt we needed another centerback,” Yallop said. “I just felt that the timing was OK for us. Quincy’s been here a while, so it’s never nice losing anyone like that. But it’s sports, and like I said to the group and to Quincy himself, sometimes you’ve got to change things to try to spark or make a difference –- and just a small difference –- in our fortunes and our setup. I thought it was a move we needed to make, so it was done.”

Apart from the on-field tactics of the move, Yallop also wanted to create cap space to be used during the league’s secondary transfer window (which goes from July 8 to August 6) or at some other point. No specific positional needs were noted, but he said “it gives us more room and more money to get a higher quality individual.”

The Fire have filled their three allotted Designated Player spots with David Accam, Kennedy Igboananike and Shaun Maloney, about whom Yallop said, “We’re committed to those guys.” Apart from that, he’s open to any possibilities.

“We’d be interested in any player that’s got quality,” Yallop said, adding that, “We’re forever looking.”

LISTEN: Frank Yallop on Transfer Window Targets

29 June 9:01 am

The annual Chicago Pride Parade is always one of the most celebratory and festive events of the year, but the 2015 edition took on extra meaning following Friday's landmark Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Just four days after hosting Pride Night at Toyota Park, representatives from the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Section 8 Chicago were on hand Sunday to join the estimated one million revelers on the city's North Side. A big thank you to all the supporters who contributed to a day (and week) to remember!

 

 

 

Photo: Alfredo Gomez
 
Photo: Alfredo Gomez
 
Photo: Alfredo Gomez

Happy Pride Parade Day!

Posted by Section 8 Chicago on Sunday, 28 June 2015

 

24 June 11:18 pm

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

Thoughts on the match
“Obviously not a good result for us. I think the guys gave everything they had, that is an important thing for me. The quality in the end and the final third wasn’t quite there. And we got done with it, with a terrific goal. Not a loss for words but that one hurt again but our guys tried their best. I don’t make excuses but I thought we did enough to at least get a tie or a win but we didn’t. We didn’t have a final touch that is what cost us. Obviously a great goal by Doyle.”

On why it’s been difficult to win in this stretch of games
“I don’t know, I mean we are putting all our efforts into it. I think maybe having a few guys out in a time we kind of need them the most, I think hurts a little bit. Maybe if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be. I don’t know, I am trying my best to turn it around. We have added some really talented players. Again I will go back to the work ethic, maybe it wasn’t there some of the games and we have let our foot off the gas in this season. We should be good enough to win games. We work hard in the training field, the guys are committed it seems, you don’t know if it really is real deep within them, but I think it is. I have been around awhile, I kind of feel for the guys right now. They are trying their best and I though tonight was a good effort. With endeavor and triumph and you can live with that. If it is just a lack of quality here, not quality but lack of final third play. I thought we defended pretty well most of the night and get with a wonder strike if you like. I don’t know, I have only been here for a year and half and you guys have been here for a little bit. We got to keep going and I feel like we have enough talent on the roster to get it going, once we get everyone healthy and feel better. If, buts, and maybes don’t get is done.”

On pulling Joevin Jones at halftime
“No, he was ill. So he was ill before the game and he said at halftime he couldn’t finish the game. So we had to pull him out, which another good player was coming out of the lineup. Maybe he didn’t play particular well the first half, usually kind of gets himself going but he was ill.”

On not using all three substitutions
“I just felt we were getting close to scoring to be honest.  I thought we were going to get something out of the game. I wanted to leave the momentum and leaving Guly back, he did a decent job with his passing. He definitely tried very hard tonight in that spot and Mike looked dangerous and I thought that was good. I thought Kennedy was doing well and so sometimes you don’t want to throw all the forwards on. I felt like we were going to get something out of the game and it wasn’t to be tonight, obviously. Again, it wasn’t a lack of effort from our guys. The coaching staff is trying their best to right the ship obviously. We are doing the best we can with what we have but I think we still could have gotten something out of the game tonight. It was just disappointing for our group.”

On the challenges of his position
“The results are showing that. No, I mean, I like a challenge. I think that this is certainly a challenge. I feel that it is not only changing certain players in and out. It is trying to get a team to work together and gel and really do well. I think that is the hardest thing. For example, D.C. is a group that sort of grinds through everything, they got some talent obviously but don’t get flustered with whatever happens in the match. I think they had one header and the goal. I don’t know what the stats were and they didn’t have a ton of chances but that didn’t really matter to them. Our group seems like they need a lot of the chances to get one goal. I think we didn’t create enough to get that one goal tonight. But I think it is just a matter of building a group that can win no matter what. That is the hardest thing in sports, is getting the right chemistry and the right balance. I feel like the group we have right now, and maybe adding a few pieces to it is going to be good. But obviously time runs out in the season and we need to start to win and I will be under pressure if we don’t win. But I don’t give up and I keep going and in the end I usually get the group to go in the right direction. I am very determined to do that here because I feel for the fans first and foremost and the people who work for the club, and the owner. He wants to do well and has given everything in his resources to help me. It was a shame we didn’t have our guys on the field tonight but hopeful we will get healthy soon. And will start to put on the team I felt that is going to do pretty well in the league. Again, the game just slipped them by and in this league it is hard to catch up. But it won’t be from lack of trying from our players and the coaching staff and the staff.”

On teams scoring off set plays or off rebounds
“It seems to fall to their guys but you got to give them credit in that spot, to hit that shot. Sometimes your fortunate sometime you’re not. We have worked on set plays for a while and I thought Eric did a great block on the shot that got deflected on. And it goes to straight to one of their players which is Doyle and he is a great striker and anticipating where it is going to end up is the hardest part in soccer. You try to think about where it is going to end up, but it ends up in a good spot, rolling back to a fellow who can strike a good ball and goes in. It’s probably the best goal he is going to score and I think tonight that was one of the better goals we have seen here. It is just frustrating when that happens, it would be nice for one of those to go in for us. Then we can get the ball rolling and the effort from the group tonight was there. We didn’t want to lose the game, the fellows gave me everything they have, they give themselves and the team, the club, and the fans a right good go trying to win the game. We might not have the final touch and final bit of play in the final third to win the match but that happens sometimes. Especially when you have a loss of confidence, we have lost four in a row now before this game is was three in a row. You get down on yourself for a little bit but again the guys did shrug all the emotion of from losing three and gave everything they have. Things happen to you when you are down there, it doesn’t seem to go your way. We will keep fighting and keep going; hopefully we can get some wins in and climb up the table pretty soon.”

Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire Defender and Captain

On the match
"Certainly, the one goal did us in. I think the performance was good, I thought that for large parts of the game we were the better team. I thought we had more of the ball; I think we created more chances, I'm not sure if that's true, but it felt that way. It's about taking one chance, and they did that."

On the team’s morale
"It's difficult, but that's the job. We're 15 games into the year, and that means we have 19 left. There's plenty of time to turn things around, and everyone has to work. I think that, more than anything, we feel like we deserved something tonight. It's not a game where you get beaten down 3-0, and you just feel like you need go home with your tail between your legs. It's kind of, maybe we're on to something, but we're just not getting it all the way there."

On D.C. United’s goal
"The last two weeks, we've had some pretty good goals scored on us. But like I said, in that moment, they take it. That's skill, that's talent. Good goal, and you can't say anything more than that, they took a chance."

On the play of D.C. United
"DC is an organized team, for sure. They've been together for a couple years now, having success doing what they do. I think they have a group of guys that compete, very smart, organized tactically. When they feel pressure, they're able to stand up to it. Late on in the game, they bring another forward on as well to try and win the game, but they end up winning on a rebound and restart. They're a good team, they're at the top of the league for a reason, and I think you can see why."

On reaching a turning point in the season
"I don't think it's ever too late. You look at 2013, things turn around, it's possible. The Revolution went to the final last year losing seven straight, I think, at one point. So you have to find a way to keep the morale up. I think that having good players in the lineup is good; however, I think that we had good performances tonight and didn't get the result."

On the trajectory of the season
"It is surprising. At 3-3, we felt like we were in a pretty good spot. We're competing with teams in the league that are good teams. I thought that we've been playing well at home. That's kind of turned a bit; losing a couple at home, still not finding a way to win on the road, that's going to hurt you in the long run. We have to get tougher on the road, and obviously take advantage of home games."

 

24 June 1:02 pm

The Chicago Fire Academy U-18 squad made it two wins in two to open Group F play at this week’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs in Westfield, Ind.

The U-18 squad, seeded No. 15 in the USSDA playoffs as the champions of the Central Conference’s Mid-America Division, opened play Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Sporting KC, receiving goals from a tandem of U.S. youth internationals. The Fire seized a late lead with an 86th-minute goal by Mauricio Pineda and iced the win when Cameron Lindley tallied four minutes later.

The U-18s were right back to action Wednesday morning and posted a 1-0 win over New York City-based BW Gottschee Academy. Djordje Mihalovic provided the match-winner in the 43rd minute.

The Fire round out group play Friday at 8 a.m. CT against the New York Red Bulls, the No. 4 overall seed in the event and the first-place team out of the East Conference’s Atlantic Division. The Red Bulls defeated BW Gottschee, 4-0, in its first game, before falling to Sporting KC, 1-0, Wednesday afternoon.

The Chicago Fire Academy team is among 32 clubs competing in the U-18 age group playoffs this week in Westfield. The top team from each of eight groups move on to a single-game knockout round held July 7-8 at the higher-seed’s home facility. From there, four winners move on to the Academy Championship games July 16-18 in Carson, Calif. 

Also on Tuesday, the Chicago Fire U-16 squad scored a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rush, bouncing back from a defeat by the same score Monday against Montreal Impact FC. Vitalis Takawira Jr.’s goal in the ninth minute stood up against the Rush, giving the Fire a split of their two matches at the National Showcase.

The Chicago Fire U-14s participated in the inaugural U.S. Soccer-sponsored National Showcase at that age level over the weekend, falling in a trio of matches against Chivas USA, Orlando City SC and FC Dallas Academies. 

Complete results and schedules from this week’s action in Westfield are online at USSDA.Demosphere.com, with a breakdown of this week's competitors available at MLSsoccer.com

Chicago Fire Academy at USSDA Playoffs/National Showcase
U-18s
Tuesday, June 23 -- Chicago Fire 2:0 Sporting KC
Wednesday, June 24 -- Chicago Fire 1:0 BW Gottschee Academy
Friday, June 26 -- Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls (8 a.m. CT)

U-16s
Monday, June 22 -- Chicago Fire 0:1 Montreal Impact FC
Tuesday, June 23 -- Chicago Fire 1:0 Colorado Rush

U-14s
Friday, June 19 -- Chicago Fire 1:5 Chivas USA
Saturday, June 20 -- Chicago Fire 0:2 Orlando City SC
Monday, June 22 -- Chicago Fire 1:3 FC Dallas

 

17 June 12:20 am

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

On the status of Shaun Maloney
“He had slight back spasms. Probably didn’t want to play him tonight but with the lack of guys we had available, we weren’t playing particularly well and didn’t look dangerous. But obviously with the trip he had, he had a long trip and I hope it is just spasms. When he settles down he should be okay.”

On the match
“I think Quincy had a great look first half. I think we pressed the fellow in the back and he coughed it up straight to Quincy, should have scored. I think it makes a difference in the match then but doesn’t. So from that, he has a few more chances, I think and doesn’t really bury them. But I will say one thing he kept going. He got his goal in the end, and that wasn’t pretty. When you play everyone who doesn’t play a lot of minutes and you put it all together. This doesn’t always come out well, we kept going. We won the game and we are into the next round. I’ve got to take the positive and that was, we kept going, we kept fighting, we kept pushing. I know the team we are playing against is a lower league team but I think with the guys we had missing and what we did on Saturday, it was a hard match for us and I think we obviously did enough to win.”

On league standings influencing Open Cup performance
“We want to do well in both tournaments, both the league and the cup. We’ve just got to sort out our league, play out. We are in 9th position but we are three points behind. We know we have a bit to do to catch up but I think the Orlando game is what really hurt us, as a club. Going to New England without a few guys, is always a tough game. I think the Orlando one is the one I am more disappointed with and didn’t win. Just need to stay in the pack and once everyone gets back from international duties. Hopefully we can straight to re gel as team. Obviously learn to win and be better, that’s the plan.”

On utilizing Matt Polster as a centerback
“He was good. Yeah, I think he was solid and we only played against one striker, Matt Fondy, who played very well and he runs hard. I thought he handled it well. They had some good situations and we could have a final ball better, that wasn’t to be. But I think Matt did fine, he thought he did adequate after playing on the weekend. I think he did okay.”

On the play of Quincy Amarikwa
“Great, I said to him as he was lying on the field getting work done, ‘you know you kept going but you missed some chances, but you kept going and you got the goal to win it for us.’ I was proud of him and I think he did great. I challenged him at half time. I didn’t think our first half was up to standards for a team trying to win the cup. This is round one but you trying to win a trophy. And I thought we were sleep walking through it and not applying ourselves. And I told him that. I think a saw a response, not in our general play but in our desire. It showed in the end, we did keep going. We did get the goal, is what we wanted in the end now. The result is all that matters.”

On taking the positives from the match and looking ahead
“I mean, getting all our players back and healthy. Getting them all on the field together. I wouldn’t judge us, we have six guys out; Mike and Patrick haven’t seen a lot of the field yet. So I am excited when we get everyone healthy and what were are going to look like. I think we obviously problems at the back, when I say the back I mean defending. It is not just the defenders it is everybody. It was nice to get a clean sheet tonight; forget the opposition. I am excited about the prospect of this team, it is an exciting team. I talked before; we wanted to make it a team that was good to watch. I don’t think you can judge us on that tonight, a lot of guys out, a lot of exciting players out. Shaun coming back not ready to go but we need to pick up point in the league.”

On Sean Johnson’s return to goal
“I thought he was good tonight, he was solid and focused. He look assured of himself in goal. I will obviously analyze it and make a decision. I thought Sean did well tonight.”

Quincy Amarikwa, Chicago Fire Forward

On the mentality during a long match
"We knew they would come to grind out a result, we knew they were going to be in it for the long haul. That's what happens in these Open Cup games. They're scrappy, the other team is looking for something to prove, and it just makes it hard to break down. We knew all we really had to do was keep going, and eventually, we'd break through. You're confident in your own abilities, you're confident in your teammates, you know what you're capable of doing. You keep doing the right things, and eventually you're going to break through. That's how we felt about it, and we knew that it would just be a matter of time before we got through, and we would end it."

On the win
"Anytime you can win, it's a positive. That's what you're trying to do every time you step on the field, regardless of if it's a league game, or a cup game, exhibition, practice; every win matters, and every win contributes to confidence for players individually, and for your team. I think we're happy to get away with a win here, and we're looking forward to carrying the momentum into the next match."

On building confidence
"That's what goals do: goals give you confidence. Winning games gives you confidence. What you try to do is take that confidence in that next game and build upon it. Learn from the mistakes throughout the game, and see how you can improve come next week."

On Coach Frank Yallop's advice during halftime 
"He thought we could be doing better in pushing the envelope a bit more. I think as a team, we were being calculating; we didn't want to throw everything at them too early, and then struggle to find answers later in the game. As a team, we buckled in and continued doing what we were doing in the first half, but looked a little bit more to get in behind."

On match fitness
"That was my first 120-minute game in a long time, and my first 90-minute game in a month and a half or two months. No matter how much you run in training or how much you train, it's not the same as match fitness. I did the best to run as much as I could to gain as much match fitness as I could today, and I'm hoping that translates into more minutes down the road."

On scoring his first competitive goal of the season
"That's the name of the game: you create enough chances, and you take enough shots on goal, eventually you'll score. That was the mentality going into the game. I've been looking to break through for a while now, and it's nice to get the monkey off your back. It's just a matter of continuing to not let the misses keep you from taking your next chance."

 

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

09 June 10:22 am

Chicago Fire Academy 

The Chicago Fire U-18 and U-16 sides concluded U.S. Soccer Development Academy play over the weekend.

The U-18s defeated Crew SC Academy Wolves 2-0 on Saturday morning with goals from Ben Rhoder and Peter Schropp, and on Sunday topped Vardar, 2-0, courtesy of goals from Cameron Lindley and Ben Rhoder. The U-18s finished the regular season first in the Mid-America Division with a 14-4-9 record.

The U-16s fell 3-1 to Crew SC Academy Wolves on Saturday and defeated Vardar by a score of 3-2 behind a Vitalis Takawira Jr. strike and a Todor Atlija brace on Sunday. The U-16s finish the season with an 11-9-7 record, just out of a spot in the playoffs.

Chicago Fire PDL 

The Chicago Fire PDL side defeated the St. Louis Lions 3-1 on Sunday evening at Toyota Park, led by a Joey Calistri brace in the 20th and 55th minutes and an 89th minute strike from Fletcher Ekern.     

With a 2-0-2 record, the Fire sit in second place in the Heartland Division of the Central Conference, just one point behind the Springfield Synergy FC, who have played seven matches.

Next up the Fire host the Des Moines Menace on the Toyota Park Turf Field on Tuesday, June 9 at 10 a.m. CT.

06 June 11:44 pm

MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC
Toyota Park
June 6, 2015 

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

Thoughts on the match:
“Obviously kind of stunned and shocked with the result. It felt like pretty similar to last year to be honest. At 2-1, I thought we were going go see the game out but we self destructed. And it was a tough thing to take to be honest. A tough one”.  

On how to bounce back from the tough week:
“Well, we know we have to. I mean we had enough chances tonight to score more goals but we’ve conceded six goals in two matches. And at any level that is not good enough of. It is a collective thing, it’s not just one person doing it, and it’s the team. And for whatever reason, we talk about, we watch a lot of clips, work a lot in training, and sometimes in soccer it’s not about pretty play it’s about digging deep and making sure the opposition doesn’t get a chance. And I think that is kind of missing right now in the last two matches. We saw it against Montreal and I thought it was good. In the last two games, in certain important moments in the game we didn’t collectively defend at all. I wouldn’t call it mistakes it’s just a catalog of errors that cost us. I haven’t obviously watched the whole game back but seeing the goal doesn’t look good to be honest. But we just got to keep going, keep playing on. Some of our players are quite bright going forward but that doesn’t matter in the end. If you concede three goals at home, I’m not sure you deserve to win. And we didn’t.”

On what positives to take from the results:
“Again, I think we have some exciting players and I think that we still are growing but at some point we have to put a line in the sand and say we’ve got to be a team that wins games. We’ve lost seven matches and we’ve lost last year and it’s getting closer to that. We weren’t very good last year, so it’s a weird thing where we’ve a pretty exciting team going forward but we not a team that can concede games out or win them like you should win games. At 2-1 we should have won the game. I’ll give them the goal by Larin, it was a great finish. A great finish. And maybe you can expect that it was a terrific finish. I think we still should have clear it. Adi had a chance twice to clear and we didn’t, but a good finish.  But to go and loss the match after that and give the conference opponent three points and we get none. So that’s not good. So that was a tough one”.

On bringing Mike Magee in to the game
“Me and Mike spoke yesterday. And twenty minutes was maximum, from probably around 15 to 10 minutes, something like that. That was the idea and I think again they equalized right when we bring Mike in. And again you know, it’s good to have him back on the field. Obviously he has been out a while and to expect miracles from Mike right now would be tough but we will slowly but surely bring him back to health and hopefully he can help us out. Attacking-wise we created some chances and not finishing them but it is just the overall mentality the defending has been, especially the last two matches have been quite poor.”

On conceding two own goals
“I’m not sure that I have seen that with many teams I have coached or played on, but I mean, the first was kind of a deflection of Jon onto Adi’s knee and goes in. Obviously the second one more of it just rolls over the line and JJ tries to clear it. But I haven’t seen it. Just disappointed. At least we should have cleared the ball before and we lose the header at the back post. Jon saves it and it goes and hits Adi. The second one is preventable and so in the end it goes in the net and it doesn’t matter who scores it. They scored three goals and we got two.”

Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Midfielder

On the match
“It’s pretty frustrating, reminds me of what happened last year in a lot of games. Came out second half, I thought we played pretty well and got the goal and then stopped playing. You look at a team like Barcelona where no matter what the score they keep playing the same way, they have that identity and for us there is so much fluctuation between playing long and keeping the ball. Anytime you switch up in the course of the game it’s probably not going to bode well for you. Unfortunately for us in the last twenty five minutes we weren’t able to keep the ball as much as we wanted to.“

On giving up late goals
“It’s tough. It’s a combination of natural goals and avoidable mistakes and stupid little things that we aren’t doing great. Like I said we’re being forced to absorb pressure because we decide to stop keeping the ball and that’s a combination of people from back to front, kind of gone stagnant the last twenty minutes of the game and that’s something that you can’t have happen to you.”

On switching formations and positions
“I think it’s tough being our third game in seven days, and with Shaun out. We knew coming into the game that guys would be moving around, be it in the starting lineup or over the course of the game. It’s not an excuse; we’ve got smart enough soccer players in this team to be able to play multiple positions and move around during the course of the game. That’s something about soccer is that it’s not really a coach’s game as the game is going on, it’s up to the players to figure it out and we didn’t do the best job of that tonight. “

On maintaining focus throughout the game
“You have to focus so much on it mentally, and at times when you’re exhausted and on your third game in seven days it’s easy to squeeze up and kick it long and I think that if we’re really going to be a good team that mental will to keep playing and keep passing and moving maybe when your legs and body are tired is something that we haven’t got to yet. Hopefully at some point in the course of the season we’ll be able to do that.”

On moving forward
“This league is about streaks. I think that every team is going to have positive and negative streaks and it’s how you shorten the negative ones. Luckily we’ve got another game next weekend, it’s tough, it’s definitely going to hurt this week and everybody is going to have to go back and figure out what they can do in the last twenty minutes to keep that lead, because it’s unacceptable to blow that.”

Orlando City SC Head Coach Adrian Heath
 

On the team's winning performance
"I thought some of our football was very, very good at times. We gave them the start, switched off from a corner, we spoke about [how] they've done this before, but we weren't switched on and we paid dearly for it. But I thought, in between the goals, I thought we were far and away the best team in terms of football this evening, I really did."

On rallying to tie and win the match
"I said last week, I feel as if the group is coming together a little bit more. There's a little bit more camaraderie in the group, they're getting to know each other a little bit more, it's a really happy dressing room. As I said to them tonight, nothing comes easy; anything that is worth fighting for is hard. They dug in tonight, I thought they were excellent, I thought there were some really good performances."

On the performance from the youth
"That's what we've got to get more out of it, running in behind people, because that's his [Carlos Rivas] strength. He's as quick as anybody in this country playing football. We have to get him running in behind people, we have to use him a little bit, it's a perfect example of what we've been trying to do in training: running behind the last man, sliding balls down the side at people. There will be benefit from that, it'll be a confidence-booster for him, but great finish from Cyle. But I thought, overall, we deserved to win, and we had some really good performances."

On the general direction of the team.
"It's four games without defeat, two wins, two draws. I'm pleased with the way we're heading at the moment. As I said, we're still a work in progress, I'm still not as pleased with what we are. I think there's an awful lot of work to go, but as I've said before, I think there's an awful lot more growth in this team, because certainly, a few players are starting to grasp what we're looking for."

Orlando City SC Forward Cyle Larin
 

On the importance of a road victory
"I think it's important that we move up in the table. I think we fought back and were on them the whole game, we needed to get the ball then, then you saw it when we came back, we started playing, and we started scoring."

On having a sense of urgency
"When we do that, when we have a sense of urgency, we're able to score. You saw it today, when I came on and then [Carlos] Rivas came on, we started to get at them, and that's when he [Adrian Heath] told us from the bench, just get at them and we'll come back."

On turning around the game
"I think when we really believe in each other, we'll come back. We're a really good team, and I think once we believe in each other, and play with a sense of urgency, we'll be fine."

Orlando City SC Midfielder Kaka

On capping off a four-game streak without a loss
"Not perfect. Amazing win today, congratulations to our team, we played a very good game. Now that we are in a good way, we know that we need to keep playing like this, because now it's four games without a loss, and that's a very good thing for us. Now we have a game at home, in front of supporters, and await the opportunity to keep winning."

On explaining a comeback victory
"It's difficult to explain what happened, because it was a very tough game. But I think, every game, this team is getting better, we are revealing our character every game, so this is a very good thing for us, and we are very happy. Now we can celebrate this amazing win."

On maintaining a winning streak [note: in Portuguese]
"As I said in interviews previous to the game, it's very important to maintain a winning streak, especially away from home. It was a very exciting game, a game that showed me the character of the team. We were losing on two occasions, but we found a way to win. Now we have an upcoming match at home, which is an excellent opportunity to maintain a winning streak."

Orlando City SC Midfielder Lewis Neal
 

On the importance of this victory
"It's a massive three points. Any three points in this league, home or away, are big. We played pretty open, exciting football as you say. There were some times we were a little bit exposed the way we were going forward at times, but that's the way we play, and that's the way we like to try [to win]. Tonight, we came away with three points. I thought, to be honest, we were a little bit sloppy in possession at times, but in general, I thought we were the better team for most of the night. They have some decent chances after the pace that they had, which was to be expected, and guys with pace that they got in their team, they're going to hurt anybody. It's something you have to ride your luck with a little bit at times, but overall, I thought we deserved the three points."

On the team's character coming back to win
"I think we've shown that on a few occasions this season, how we've come back. We've been down at home on a few occasions, we've come back and nix a point at home. But I think we've shown that we're slowly getting there as a team, we're starting to believe in what we're trying to do and where we're trying to go with the team. Hopefully it's started to show on the field, and hopefully it continues to show."

On returning from injury
"For me personally, it was obviously really exciting just to be out there. It's been eight, nine weeks since I last played, so it was certainly time. My legs were a little bit worse for wear, but it was certainly nice to be out there. I was little bit rusty at times, but that's to be expected when you haven't played for so long. But it was pleasing to get out there, and to come away with the three points is the main thing."