Midfielder Patrick Nyarko is nearing a forgettable one-year anniversary: Oct. 18, 2014, the day he tore his ACL in a road match at D.C. United.
The injury was an unfortunate end to a 2014 campaign that already was laden with injuries, one in which he appeared in exactly half of Chicago's 34 matches with only nine starts. That came on the heels of five straight seasons of 27 or more appearances, with at least 20 starts in all five.
After ultimately re-signing in the offseason with the only MLS club he has called home, Nyarko dedicated himself to rehabbing his injury and, after months of strenuous work, made a triumphant return to the pitch in a U.S. Open Cup match on June 30.
And, while tugging at the reins at times to maintain the proper strength, he's largely been able to return to his playmaking ways of old.
"Everybody comes off an injury differently, some guys take longer," said technical director and interim head coach Brian Bliss. "Patrick was right back at it early on (after returning), despite the long layoff. His contribution, points-wise to minutes played, is pretty fantastic when you look at it. If you'd had him for 28 or 30 games who knows what his numbers could be."
Bliss is on point in his evaluation of Nyarko's injury-shortened season. With four goals and four assists in 18 total MLS and U.S. Open Cup appearances, Nyarko's goals-plus-assists average per 90 minutes stands at 0.70, easily surpassing his previous high set in 2010 (0.46) when he tallied one goal and 10 assists in 28 games played.
Last week, he unlocked the Toronto FC defense with a penetrating pass in the game's first minute to set up Gilberto's first goal, and set in motion his second-half strike when he spun off Michael Bradley and found Mike Magee for a one-timer onto Gilberto. The two assists increased his total to 38 for his MLS career, tying him for third on Chicago's all-time list.
Nyarko left the match at TFC in the 55th minute with a slight knock but was back in full training this week in preparation for Saturday's matchup with New England. With so much of Chicago's offensive success in 2015 stemming from Nyarko and David Accam on the wings, there's reason for Bliss to expect more of the same come next season.
"My guess is, as we (often) see medically, guys get stronger and better the year after an ACL injury," Bliss said. "Hopefully it's the same and even better next year for Patrick."
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Sean Johnson
4650 W North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Harry Shipp
2552 W 75th St.
Naperville, IL 60540
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Sparky
7050 S Cicero Ave.
Bedford Park, IL 60638
Thursday, Oct. 1: Sean Johnson
1508 W 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60609
Chicago Fire 0 – 1 Orlando City SC
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
On the performance of the current roster
"I thought we played well enough to get something out of the match; if not win, at least a tie. Just frustrating. I feel really bad for the guys, they worked hard, they were doing things that I thought, and we feel as a group, that's good enough to get more points on the table. What we're getting is very frustrating right now. You can say whatever you want about it. We seem to find every sort of opportunity to give goals up, and tonight, we obviously couldn't get a great chance on goal to score. In general, I can't fault the guys for effort, at all, I can't do that. They gave it everything they had, just couldn't get it done tonight. But talking about the roster for next year, right now is not the time to do that."
On Orlando's lone goal
"I only saw it live, I haven't seen it on tape yet. It looked like Joevin Jones gets out to shade but doesn't mark the cross. We've been working a lot on that because we've seen a lot of crosses that cause damages here. We've worked on that. A guy running from midfield has a bit of a free run, ricochets a bit, but again I haven't seen it on tape yet. It just seemed a little loose, and you get punished. Tonight, we didn't get too many chances like that, and it seems like we get punished for every half mistake we make, which is difficult to take, but you have to take it in the chin."
On Orlando’s three subs being involved in the goal
"It's a bonus for Orlando if their subs work out. I felt we did enough in the game to get something out of it. I thought we got some good half-looks that we didn't pull the trigger on and hit the target with venom and power, and being precise. Great subs by them if you want to say that, sure; but we have to do better defensively to stop that. Having said that, that would have made it nil-nil anyway, but we need to win the game at home. We didn't have some really clear-cut chances that I thought we needed to have to win the match. We had some decent moments, I think David [Accam] was nearly on the end of really doing something, but didn't really create a ton of chances that were clear-cut for us, which is what I look at. They hit the bar, had the goal; we had some near misses off bad plays, the final pass wasn't there for us. That's the story of the game. I wouldn't say we possessed the ball well, it was even, but I thought we pushed and shoved and looked like we were going to get into the game and win the game from the 60th minute on. Then we get sucker punched in the end, which is difficult to take."
On the performance of midfielder David Accam
"We moved him around. He was up front with Kennedy to start, we put him out wide left, put Harry underneath, put him wide right just to try and give him a little bit of scope and room to maneuver. He still had his chances though. Orlando sat back a little bit, which is normal away from home. Didn't quite have the gaps and space that is normal, but I still think he had enough looks with his ability to create something from that. It's not a slight on David at all, it just didn't quite come off tonight; he's our game-winner, he's very good, he's very dangerous. He was pretty close at getting something done but it just wasn't quite his night tonight in the final pass or shot."
On the performance of defenders Ty Harden and Daneil Cyrus
"In general, I think our shape's been okay, we have to look individually. I think Ty's not played a ton of games over the last six months, but he's a solid center back that I think can get the job done. Tonight wasn't his fault for the goal; it looked like he sort of slipped, and let the midfield runner come through. Maybe not the greatest night in New York for Ty, but he sticks to his tasks, and heads the ball out and defends when he needs to. I think Cyrus settled in quite well; doesn't have quite that many minutes with us in training, and obviously in game situations, but I like what I've seen from him. Again, I haven't seen the goal, but it looks like he's on that side, so I don't know what happened, but in general, I think both guys have been okay. We don't give up a ton of chances; they hit the cross bar and scored the goal. Other than that, I think we defended okay, but we got punished for an error we gave up."
On making substitutions late in the game
"I felt we looked like we were going to get something out of the game, most of it. We're driving on, we're getting chances, then we have the flurry of chances right before we made the subs. But, hindsight's easy, I think for us, I felt we were doing okay and getting chances. Kennedy's getting these little sniffs here and there, David's always dangerous; I just felt bringing Mikey out and putting Mike Magee on gave us another chance at a goal. [Jason Johnson] has shown, as a sub especially at home, he's made an impact. It's easy to sit back and say 'we should have done it earlier,' but I felt we were going to get something out of the game before that."
David Accam, Chicago Fire Forward
On the loss
“It’s difficult. I’ve not been in this position before. We keep making the same mistake every game. It’s like, the first 70 minutes we play well and if we don’t score, we concede in the last minute. It’s what happens every game. I can’t really tell what’s wrong with the team. We have good players, we have a good team but still, we don’t get results but it’s difficult to understand what’s happening.”
On the mood of the team
“Everyone is down, it’s difficult but the best thing is that we have a game again in four days so we need to keep ourselves up and go again on Wednesday.”
On if this team needs a reinforced roster
“I think that question is for the coach. We need more help. We keep getting the same result every game, even though we play well, it’s the same result, we don’t get the positive result that we need, so I think maybe we need help, maybe.”
Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On tangling up near goal
"We’re just being aggressive. You're asked to show that, and I feel we've not shown that passion enough. Tonight was a night that we knew was going to be a sold-out crowd. We came out with the energy we needed, we played the right way. A little frustrating we couldn't get the breakthrough, and as it was going towards the end, we tended to lose our concentration and lose our discipline, and they got their goal. That sums our season, really. We've really not been [there] soccer-wise, in terms of playing. The end result has really gone against us, it just seems like it's not turning and the luck has not been on our side. But we're going to keep fighting, there's still games to play, and hopefully we can get some wins."
On keeping focus near the end of the regular season
"We have a relatively young team, but with experience. Some young guys coming out of Europe have played in Europe for a long time, they're professionals, everyone is a professional in here. We owe it to our fans, the club, and the organization, the opportunity that’s been given us to represent this club, we owe it. Regardless of having been in the playoffs way back, or right now, or in a couple games, we just need to go out and try to get some wins and make our fans happy. These guys have supported us all year, even though it's been rocky, and they keep coming out to support us. They need something to cheer about, we have to reward them, that's the least we can do. I think the guys are aware of that."
On a spotty road record
"We're not going to desist from the plan. We go on the road hoping to win games. It's not happened for us, but there's been a few games where we've been in there, we just lose concentration. We just need to correct our mistakes, we make way too many easy, simple mistakes. We just need to correct those, especially on the road, and play with discipline. Hopefully we can come out with a few wins on the road."
On providing a veteran presence
"It's just an average day thing. Us veterans, we need to hammer it into the minds of young kids. It's been a rocky couple of years; the kids that have been here, they've not really experienced winning here. It's just up to us veterans to tell them there's something like that, it gives you confidence, once you get that confidence, everything will come, but it starts with doing the little things right in 90 minute games. Staying in it every single minute of it, it's always going to be hard, there's no easy games in MLS, regardless of who you're playing. Keeping that concentration, there's been games that we go up, but we give up a goal right after, it's all about concentration and making up your mind to not get scored on in certain periods of the game. It's our job, it's the job of the veterans, and hopefully we can impart that into the young guys."
Fire fans will have opportunities to meet five members of the Chicago Fire on Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18. See complete details below:
Thursday, Sept. 17: Lovel Palmer and Matt Watson
3359 Chicago Rd.
South Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Thursday, Sept. 17: Razvan Cocis
Floor & Decor
3300 Oakton St.
Skokie, IL 60076
Friday, Sept. 18: Adaílton and Michael Stephens
1491 W Roosevelt Rd.
West Chicago, IL 60185
Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Yallop
On the match:
Dangerous on the break we were, I thought that we created some good chances especially in the first half. Had a great chance at 2-1 to go 3-1 up on David's [Accam] break. I haven't seen the penalty again, but it seemed a little bit harsh, but that's football.
On Chicago's defense tonight:
If you look at Daneil's [Cyrus] first game was good, I thought Ty Harden did well and I thought Jeff [Larentowicz] stuck with his tasks well so I commend those three guys to sticking with it and making it difficult for the Red Bulls which is what they try to do. They didn't have a ton of clear-cut chances and that's because those three guys defended well.
On the offense clicking:
I think you saw the actual complete ability, especially for the first 60 minutes, David Accam is electric when he plays and creates so many chances, in the first half especially. We just couldn't maintain a good possession, their midfield's very good and Felipe, Dax McCarty, and [Sacha] Kljestan so possession-wise they had more of the ball than we did, but it was kind of the game plan, we wanted to catch them on the break and I think we did that especially for the first 55 minutes.
On the status of Kennedy Igboananike:
He's ok, I think he's got a bang so it was on his ankle. He said he's ok.
On preparing for the next match:
Like normal, prepare for the match. Just make sure that we are mentally, physically ready and go for it. I think we've played well enough to have more wins than we have, but table doesn't lie. We're bottom and we've got to keep going and fighting and keep building as [much as] we can.
Chicago Fire Goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On tonight's match:
It was a match where I thought, early on, we had it under a bit of control. It was very tough to go two up, especially away in a place like this where it is tough to get results, and losing the game 3-2, coming away with nothing, it's really disappointing. As a whole, I thought we did some good things in the match, obviously we need to go back and look at the negatives.
On going up 2-0 to start the match:
At that point I'm thinking personally, 'We've got to do our job-they're going to start throwing numbers forward. They're going to look to win this game. If they win this game, they're going to start moving up in the standings as well.' So for us it was a matter of staying disciplined, that was the main word tonight. That's what we needed and we had a little lack of discipline of the defensive end of the ball, and going forward as well.
On adjusting to two new members of the backline:
I've said before, we have the depth on this team, and guys can step in at any point in time. Obviously, it's a task to get everyone on the same page immediately when getting into a game, but you feel it out. We're up 2-0 so I think that's the best thing that could've happened for them and for us as a team, and I thought they did a good job tonight.
On the growth of the team:
Yes [I think there is growth in the team]. Obviously, over the course of the season when you don't get results, it doesn't show growth, but I think we're starting to learn from our mistakes, and we're taking these and putting them in the memory bank, and we're really starting to build on what we can with six games left in the season.
Chicago Forward David Accam:
On the performance:
As a team, especially in the second half, I don't think we played really well as a team. Even though we really showed some qualities, but for me we didn't fight to the end and for me they wanted it more than us.
On attacking partnership with Kennedy Igboananike and ability as goal threats:
It does, but soccer is a team sport. Even though us two score goals, it doesn't matter if we keep conceding and I think it's good that me and Kennedy are playing really well, but we need to play as a team and we need to start defending really well and be strong everywhere on the pitch.
Fire fans will have two opportunities to meet members of the Chicago Fire during the weekend of Aug. 28-30. See complete details below:
Friday, Aug. 28: Ty Harden
AT&T Retail Location
1730 W Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Beginning at 6 p.m., Ty Harden will be signing autographs and giving away a select number of tickets to future Chicago Fire home matches
Sunday, Aug. 30: Adailton
Cermak Fresh Produce
1250 Lake St.
Aurora, IL 60506
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
On winning the match
“Great result, that’s the big thing for me, good performance too. I think I was very happy with all the guys tonight. We dug deep tonight, got a great result against a good team. I think that was very important for us.”
On the inconsistency of results
“MLS is built on parity, and I think we showed it tonight. We beat Dallas, who were on a five-game winning streak, we handed them a result that wasn’t good for them. We beat Seattle when they were pretty hot too. This league’s even; it’s tiny, little things that make the difference in games, and tonight, we got the bounce of the ball, if you’d like. That’s kind of missing a little bit for us. But I thought we played great; I was really, really happy, especially first half. We could’ve scored four goals; that’s the type of football that I like, the sort of ‘I want to go out and attack teams, and get at teams.’ I thought we really did that. Great attitude, and I thought we did great.”
On the recent form of Michael Stephens
“I think the way Michael’s been, you can’t have him out of the lineup right now. Big thing for me is making sure guys that don’t play or don’t get their minutes…are on board. Mike’s a great guy, always on board, he wants to be part of a winning team that’s playing well. He really works hard in training, and he’s ready to play any time. The last two or three games, he’s done very well. I thought tonight, he was excellent. I thought Razvan and him were good tonight against a very good midfield three that’s difficult to play against. I thought he did great, and I’m very happy for him.”
On Kennedy Igboananike’s two-goal performance
“Any time you score two goals is good. I always say this, and we’ve talked about it a little bit: it takes a while for guys to settle and get their feel. It’s a tough league to come into from the outside. He’s got maybe eight goals [across competitions]…but big thing for me is, he works hard, he wants to do well, he tries his best, and he scores two goals to win us the game. So, very happy for him, he’s a good kid that works hard, and the guys really like him and back him up, and I thought he did great tonight. Getting a winning goal is great.”
On the play of Patrick Nyarko and David Accam on the wings
“Tonight was a game that I felt, watching New York, they’re very narrow defensively, which is a good thing at times; but other times, when we have pace out wide, you can expose that. I felt that I just wanted to play Patrick and David out in wide positions because, if you could switch it out to them, I think they could get out one-on-one and create stuff. I think the tactics were very good tonight, they worked pretty well. Obviously, the goals we conceded…I’ve seen them. The first one, I’m not sure of, but I can see it. The second one is, you can only touch the ball once to play the ball, and Kljestan touches it three times, and then Zubar walks in with the ball, so that was hard to take. But from that, we come back and we won the game. So I was very pleased with everybody’s performance tonight, and the fighting spirit of the team, which is important.”
On building for a tough stretch of road games
“It’s difficult. It’s not been a great season, obviously. We’re bottom of the league, we’re not sure in points now, but I feel we’ve performed better than the points have shown. That’s always a building block for me. I think that circumstances in the season have cost us points, individual errors, guys not being healthy, all those things come into it. I think you saw our team tonight, it was pretty good. We’re showing a lot on the field. I was excited when we got the ball going forward, it was good to see. So I’m forever optimistic, obviously we have a big, big hill to climb to make the playoffs but we have to keep going, keep moving up. I think that we can’t worry about playing away or home, but we have to maintain our focus, and make sure that we try to play the right way. I think tonight was a good example of a good-spirited win, we played some good stuff. We had, what, twenty shots, eight on target? All that stuff is good stats, good momentum for a tough run coming up.”
On Joevin Jones’ late exit from the match
“He had a slight groin tightness and issue. We asked him and he said, ‘yeah, I need to come off.’ We’ll see how he is, and he could be doubtful for the weekend. But yes, it wasn’t tactical.”
Gilberto, Chicago Fire Forward
Thoughts on the game
“Soccer is all about having fun. There’s a professionalism but if the team is not having fun, then it’s not worth it. The team was having fun, I was having fun, so the performance was great.”
On how this performance helps as the team searches for the first road win
“The biggest thing, this is definitely going to be a hard game against Orlando. We have two games to think about it but like I said, the biggest thing is to have fun, make sure everyone is having fun, be professional and it’s naturally going to be a big performance.”
On the transition to Chicago
“I love the city, have transitioned really well. I have long-term goals and want to stay here for many years, so I’ll do my best to make sure the team wants me here for a long time.”
Chicago Fire vs. Colorado Rapids
Toyota Park – Bridgeview, IL
Aug. 22, 2015
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
Thoughts on the match
“I think obviously not a good result but performance wise I can’t fault our guys for the effort put in tonight. We just couldn’t get the goal we probably deserved but giving up an early goal like that is never good for any team especially our own where we are desperate to win the match so, again I thought the guys gave everything they had and they couldn’t get it done tonight.”
On what getting one point in two matches means about the side
“That we haven’t given a good result in the last two games, or last three games if you like. Yeah it is what it is; we are trying to do the right things we are trying to create chances and trying to score goals. Seems like every team that plays against us has not as many chances as we create or get and seems to score goals, so we’ve looked at it, we working on it, we talk about it the whole time. I’ve been in this game a long time and sometimes you keep trying to put your finger on it and you can’t kind of figure it out, not from a lack of trying. I thought the guys tried tonight and did the right things. You know the Philly game we came back and at least we got a point out of that game, but you know there’s a lot of a chances against us in that match and tonight we probably had two or three against us and they scored one so, not sure you know. That’s the hard part and when you’re losing, you don’t look at everything and you want to say well done guys it’s great but maybe there’s stuff missing when you are winning too. Obviously we are not winning, that’s tough.”
Colorado only had two shots on goal, on how that epitomizes the season thus far
“The percentage of chances that go in against us for shots created or on target I think it’s 40% the other team against us, and I think we are at below 20% so either our finishing is not great or the other team is creating better chances to get better strikes on goal. We’ve looked at all the goals and we missed a couple of good chances. I thought Patrick’s chance in the first half, he’s got to hit the target and score, I think Gilberto does well to get his toe on it but obviously hits the post. I think Patrick hit the post in the first half also but just didn’t go in tonight not again but when you needed it too. I think if we would’ve scored one we probably would’ve gotten another one but we got to defend the ball and give us a couple of chances that we didn’t take, and that was the story tonight.”
On Harry Shipp slotting into the spot that Shaun Maloney held for a good portion of the season
“Well Harry I think is a natural position for him really; you try to get the guys you think are going to well for you on the field in certain spots. He can play that wide left spot Harry, but pretty much his natural position is that underneath forward, you know you got to be productive in that spot, it’s never easy if your forwards are not finishing the chances or we are not creating as many chances as you want to. I just felt that playing a lot of those players a lot of minutes, ,Razvan didn’t start tonight, I felt that both looked a little jaded in the last game that they played so I wanted to play one of them right back and then Mikey Stephens I thought had a good game in Philadelphia, he deserved to play the next game and Matt Watson was fresh but I don’t think the team selection was the problem, us missing chances and obviously giving up a goal early was the problem.”
On the mood in the locker room
“I saw a few of them , they’re slowly coming in they got some duties after the game and signing stuff but they’re obviously dejected, you know again, I cannot fault them for the effort tonight at all, and that was important for all of us. You know if you can’t quite win a match, so be it. If you don’t try and you get beat then it’s not good. Tonight, at least we gave everything we had, wasn’t good enough to get the three points that we desperately needed. Again it’s difficult times, again you just got to keep going back and battling through.”
On hopes for the playoffs
“We’ve got to keep hoping for sure yeah, got too.”
On what to expect with ten games remaining in the season
“Well, I mean, you know we’ve only won 6 or so, is it 6 games? So we got to win at least 7 now, so can we do it? Yes. Is it likely but it’s going to be tough but we can’t stop believing until it’s over. Tonight was a big game for us that if we could’ve won this one it would’ve helped us and obviously not winning it. I haven’t seen all the results but I know that Philadelphia won in Montreal, so some of the results didn’t go well. Again it’s about us, we got to keep going and keep battling on through. It’s nice to see some of our guys on the field; Gilberto and I think Kennedy looked sharp tonight, but obviously we just didn’t get that goal we needed.”
Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On a tough loss
“It’s tough. From everyone that was on the field, the effort was there. I think giving up the goal in the first minute obviously didn’t help, and allowed them to kind of sit and stay organized. They crowded the midfield, so they made it hard to play through the middle, but we were able to get the ball wide and get crosses in the box, which were probably our most effective plays tonight. Unfortunately, we didn’t score the goals like we wanted to. It’s tough, but we have to take the positives, we were passing the ball, we were patient. In other games this year, when we’re down, we start pressing and making a lot of unforced errors and you’re pressing too much; I think we were able to stay patient tonight but unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a goal.”
On his return to a central attacking position
“It was good to be back there. Like I said, it was hard to play against a team like that, because they crowd the middle so much, so for me, it was going side to side and getting the ball into pockets out wide. I’m trying to create overloads on both the right and left side. I’m just trying to connect and get the ball to guys in good spots; I know I’m doing well if I know guys are able to create on the outside and guys are getting the ball running towards goal and able to create shots. I can always do a better job of that, and hopefully I get even more chances to prove that.”
On giving up goals on few chances
“We can’t give up the goal, they got the one chance early, and like I said, it’s unacceptable from our part. We wanted to come out fast and press them, and we got caught high up the field, and that’s not acceptable. I thought the rest of the game, the last 89 minutes, we responded very well, we limited their chances, we kept the ball not just in our defensive half, we kept it in their defensive half, which is something we’ve been trying to work on. We got the ball wide, we got overloaded 2-on-1 on both sides, we were able to serve some pretty good balls in the box. The way that we’ve played this year, we don’t necessarily deserve to have any luck, but tonight, there were some times I thought we were a little bit unlucky.”
Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On the performance of the team
“I think, in general, play has gotten better, but we haven’t gotten the results to go with it. We’re still confident, we need to win a couple games in a row, and then that’s not out of reach. We can do that with how we’ve started to play in the last few weeks, but we just have to do it. Games are running out, and we keep saying we have a chance and stuff like that, but we have to keep doing it. Tonight, I thought we played excellent, we just got unlucky on defense, we created a few chances, but it’s got to be done…that’s where we need to take advantage of the chances we create. I thought the general performance was great, we were patient, we gave up a really early goal and that kind of settled us a little bit, but we got into the game and created a ton of chances. We have to make them count, but we also need to guard ourselves so we don’t go down that early. But I thought the guys did good today besides the results, obviously, but at this point, the results are critical and we need to pick ourselves up and come back Wednesday and start a run.”
Fire fans will have two opportunities to meet members of the Chicago Fire on Friday, August 21. See complete details below:
Friday, Aug. 21: Collin Fernandez
AT&T Retail Location
4413 E New York St.
Aurora, IL 60504
Beginning at 6 p.m., Collin will be signing autographs and giving away a select number of tickets to upcoming Chicago Fire home matches
Friday, Aug. 21: Eric Gehrig
5320 S. Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60632
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP
General thoughts on the game:
“It was certainly an open game. There were a lot of chances for both teams but mainly Philadelphia had some good looks at goal. I thought Sean Johnson was outstanding tonight, but I liked our response. We go up and go down in the game, equalize, go down again and then get another equalizer. [It was a topsy-turvy game, but] We got a point out of it. I thought we were going to go on and actually get the next goal [when the game was 2-2] but, it wasn’t to be and Philadelphia kept pushing and had their chances, but again, we’ll take the point.”
On Kennedy Igboananike’s performance:
“I thought he played very well tonight. His all-around game was good and sharp. [He made] dangerous runs into the box, had two good finishes, played a great ball in for Patrick Nyarko to score, so he had a good night.”
On their mentality and if he saw some fight in the team:
“I thought we played well for a half an hour, and then we’re 2-1 down at halftime so that’s tough. We got back into it and go down again, so I was pleased with the response once Philly did score their goals, but we have to defend better than we did tonight. I thought they gave us chances and looks. We scored three goals and they scored three so, again, I think for the neutral they would have enjoyed watching that game, but as a coach I wasn’t happy with the chances we gave up.”
On how getting this result can help them going forward:
“Well three points are vital at this point in the season, but you take what you get and I think to be honest, I think that a point was good for us to get with the chances that Philadelphia had. It’s a tough place to come after a disappointing game Wednesday night. That was very tough and our guys dug deep and got something out of the match in the end. Now we have two home games in-a-row, and we need to try to get maximum points out of them and go from there.”
On Sean Johnson’s performance:
“Sean’s a good goalkeeper, and when the ball is there to be saved he can make the saves so it’s not surprising when he makes those saves. He saved us on a number of occasions. I think some of the ricochets that went straight to the Philadelphia players were a little fortunate, but that’s football and he was there to make the save and did a good job.”
CHICAGO FIRE GOALKEEPER SEAN JOHNSON
General thoughts on the game:
“I thought it was a pretty crazy game considering we went one up, went down 2-1, came back and tied 2-2, went down 3-2, [and then] came back and tied it. There were plenty of lead changes, a lot of exciting stuff for fans, but for us I think it’s something to build on coming off a loss, playing in a tough place. I think on the night there were obviously things we could have done better, but I think as a team, just the resiliency that we showed through the 90 minutes was the most important thing and the never say die attitude, never giving up on the plays and we’re able to come away with a point tonight.”
On the attacking prowess of the team tonight:
“That was big time from Kennedy [Igboananike]. He did a fantastic job of putting the ball on frame, and had an unbelievable finish to tie the game to bring us back at 3-3. I’m happy for him. I think the confidence that that pumps into those guys, especially going forward in this last stretch, we really need to press. We have two home games coming up that are big for us and we’ll need those guys to step up. And not just them, but across the pitch. Everybody has another gear, including myself, and we can really push ourselves to get to that point and really make these last 11 games meaningful for our club.”
On significance of upcoming home games:
“Games at home are extremely important. I think you look across the league in past years and teams that have been successful at home give themselves the best opportunity to go on and make a run into the playoffs and ultimately win championships. I think protecting your home turf is the most important thing in this league. For us, we haven’t had the results that we wanted. We’ve won a few games at home, but not enough on the year so this is a big opportunity for us to go home and play in front of our fans and come out with a revitalized attitude towards the last little bit of our season here and I think we can do something special if we all commit to it.”
CHICAGO FIRE FORWARD KENNEDY IGBOANANIKE
On what the result means to the club:
“I think this result means a lot for us. It’s difficult to get results in away games. We haven’t been winning [on the road] for a long time, so I think this is a great result for us. We did our best, we did everything, just a couple of mistakes.”
On his performance:
“I I feel very great. Getting the [two goals] felt great. I know that Patrick Nyarko is a very good player and he’s going to bring it to the box, so on my first goal I just wanted to be in the right spot and get the right touch. The last goal was very important and I was fortunate to again be in a good spot after Mike [Magee] passed the ball.”
On the fight the team showed:
“Like we said [before the game], it is very difficult to be at the bottom of the table. We have been doing our best, but since things are not working well, we just have to believe, keep our head up, keep fighting. Heads up everybody. It doesn’t matter if we are down with goals, we just have to keep fighting until we get what we wanted. I think we have a lot of energy today. We didn’t give up, so that is a good spirit.”
On what the home games mean in the quest for the playoffs:
“It means a lot for us. I think what we do is we have to take one step at a time, because we still have chances to make it to the playoffs. If we get a win next weekend, I think we are going to be more confident again to win the other one, so that is what I can say for now.”