MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire vs. Orlando City SC
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."
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.
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!
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."
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:
The Chicago Fire's convincing 3-0 victory over Montreal Saturday night drew significant praise from numerous outlets. ESPNFC.com's Major League Soccer Team of the Week featured a remarkable four representatives from the Men In Red: goal-scorers Kennedy Igboananike, Harry Shipp and Jeff Larentowicz as well as defender Joevin Jones all merited inclusion.
Igboananike's first goal in a Fire shirt also landed him on the MLS Team of the Week as named by the league, while Harry Shipp's left-footed blast is one of five nominees for the AT&T MLS Goal of the Week.
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.
Chicago Fire vs. Montreal Impact
MLS Regular Season
May 30, 2015
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
Thoughts on the match:
“A very good home win from our side, I thought in the first half especially, we played some really good stuff in getting the two goals, but it’s always good to get three points out of a game like this where I feel we dominated the match and played well.”
On the man advantage:
“It was three-nil, so pretty good. We had a spell a bit in the second half where it was a bit of a dull game, where we didn’t give them a bunch of chances but we didn’t play like we did the first half. Sometimes that’s normal, we’re trying to protect the lead, they’re trying to get into it a little bit but we stopped them playing at least, which is a change from the New York game when we allowed them to play. I thought we did a great job with everything tonight, just the spirit and will to win. The red card always changes games but I thought we played well in that first half to go 2-0 up, and then maintain that for a good 3-0 home win.”
On Kennedy Igboananike’s performance
“It’s always difficult for anybody to come and settle in any environment and I think he’s probably the last of the three DP’s, if you’d like to name them, to settle in and start to feel comfortable. I thought he played well in Columbus, he played well tonight and could’ve scored three, he had a couple of breaks where he couldn’t lift it over the keeper and the keeper made good saves, but it’s nice to see him score, he’s feeling good about himself. I like his threat in behind, he makes some good runs and keeps the back four honest. He had a good game tonight.”
If this was the most complete performance thus far this season:
“Yeah, I think so. I know they had 10 men, but we limited their chances pretty well, and that’s always a good sign of the team, they didn’t have many looks. They are a dangerous team but the way we played, especially in the first half, I didn’t think they got too much of the ball and it felt pretty comfortable. It’s no disrespect to Montreal, it’s just we played well. I think that it’s a building block and I still feel we have some room for growth, but the best thing is a good home game and now we look forward to Wednesday night and then next Saturday night here against another conference opponent. Things are feeling pretty good, but sometimes you get kicked in the teeth when you think things are going okay. I’m very happy with the guys tonight, really good demeanor and I thought that the subs that came on made a huge difference in the game again, not in the scoring but just with the play. They were all enthusiastic, wanted to get on, wanted to play and I think we are moving in the right direction.“
On the play of Joevin Jones and David Accam on the left side
“I was going to throw a life jacket on that far side in the first half because it was really wet and it looked like water was spraying up. I think Joevin Jones is a real quality player, obviously we picked him up in the offseason and he’s been excellent at left back and just a good player. David is electric, he still has a little bit of an ankle problem, his hamstrings are a bit tight because he hasn’t trained too much and that’s the reason I took him out, to rest him for Wednesday if I decide to play him. They’ve had some good combination between them. I thought Harry played well tonight, not just with the goal but with his overall play. He was sneaky in his little pockets where I like him to play and I think the goal gave him a bit of confidence. JJ and David are very dangerous and we’ve got some decent players who are starting to feel good about themselves, which is always good. “
On the selection of Jon Busch over Sean Johnson
“I decided to play Jon tonight, like I said last week it’s up to me who I pick and play. Jon didn’t have much to do this evening, which is good for the defensive side of things. Again, I’ll decide which goes on the next couple of games and moving forward. I go back to having two really good goalkeepers, obviously Sean is the guy I want to promote and push and make sure is correct and ready to go in his career, so that’s always on my mind, but in the meantime we’ve got a good goalkeeper in Jon that’s done a fantastic job and continues to do that.“
On dealing with Shaun Maloney’s upcoming absences
“I’m not going to give the team away but I think we have enough candidates to come on and play in Shaun’s absence. I thought Shaun played well tonight without maybe getting the last touch again for him, but he’s a driving force, he drives teams on and I feel like he did that for tonight for us. He’s busy, always tricky, picks the right pass, and he’s good. We’ll figure it out. It’s good for Shaun to have a good win for him, not just for him but for us as a club, but he can go away now and enjoy his international duty and try and make the European Championships, which is important to him and his career, and hopefully we can get some wins for when he returns.”
Kennedy Igboananike, Chicago Fire Forward
On improving every game:
“I think I’m coming into the system, trying to get better every training, every game, and I think I’m coming into the system now.”
If this was his best game yet:
“I don’t know yet, I never played my best game yet. I think more is about to come, so just starting to get used to the players and getting used to everything around me so I think I’m getting better and better every day.”
On the relief of getting on the score sheet:
“Yeah, at least now it has broken the yolk, so I think more is going to come. Just need to keep working hard and practicing and I’ll get better.”
On any impatience when he wasn’t starting:
“Of course, you have to be a professional, so that is what I am. Any time they give me the opportunity to play, I go in and do my best. The coaches decided best who goes on the pitch and play, so anytime they give me the chance, I’ll play.”
Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On the team putting together a complete performance
"I think, in the second half, our goal was just to keep the ball. If they're not creating chances, they're not going to score goals. For us, we did a good job kind of preventing them. Obviously the red card helps, makes it a little easier to play the ball around; but even before they got the red card, I think we did a pretty good job moving around and finding spaces in behind."
On breaking a scoring drought
"I think the last couple games, I got kind of caught in the routine of being outside and just being aware of defensive responsibilities, and kind of blindly running up and down the right side. I think, this week, I really wanted to focus on going back to getting all over the field. I think you saw that in the first half: when the ball was in the left side, I came across and got the ball in the middle, because I'd much rather have the ball in the middle of the field near the goal than on the outside. So I think I did a better job of just finding little spaces to receive the ball."
On Kennedy Igboananike's performance
"His best thing he did today was probably pressure and work hard. You saw that on the goal I scored: he won the ball off Baky [Soumare] and played it in. He's an unselfish guy, and I'm happy to see him get a goal; it was long overdue and well deserved...I think we were playing all right without him, but having him is another weapon going forward. I think if you can get him and David [Accam] and myself and Shaun [Maloney] clicking on the same page, we'll hopefully be pretty hard for a front four to stop."
On his chemistry with Shaun Maloney
"I'm not looking forward to having him gone. I like playing with Shaun; I think we read the game similarly, he always shows in pockets. But with him gone, definitely, we need to look to pick up a little more pressure in the middle of the field and hopefully spring guys through like Kennedy [Igboananike] and David [Accam] in behind another team's back fours."
Montreal Impact Head Coach Frank Klopas
On justifying starting certain players with performances like tonight:
“Justify my performance? Why didn’t you ask other performance? Since you asked me about this game. All players can have a bad game. Did you see the last game we played? Maybe it’s in your eyes, that the guy is slow. But in his performance tonight, if you point him out, you point the whole team out. Or point me out. I am the coach, it’s my responsibility. But the other games, you didn’t talk about Donadel. He’s a very good player. All players can have off games. All teams can have off games.”
On replacing Jack McInerney at halftime after the red card in the first half to get him time to get ready for the next match
“I think all that. We were thinking either him or Piatti, I could have taken Piatti off too. The way the game was going, the field conditions…I just felt that he could have helped us a little bit more with holding the ball. I think issues in the midfield, not that we couldn’t hold the ball, we turned the ball over a lot. I think that those turnovers turned in to opportunities for them in the open field.”
On the team’s defensive performance:
“We gave up three goals. There’s not much to say. We played short-handed for most of the game, our overall team performance was poor.”
On Nigel Reo-Coker playing a deeper position:
“They had a fast player on that side. For sure we could have done better. I think there were moments where we turned the ball over a lot in the midfield, we weren’t sharp, whether the field condition was wet, whatever, I think we turned the ball over with our mistakes, and then they got opportunities in the open field, and I think we all could have done a lot better. Overall as a team we could have done better.”
On having two great games at home and coming to Chicago and starting flat:
“Yes, yes, disappointing. For sure. It’s one of the those nights we have to take a hard look at everything and move on.”
On the short turn around to the next game:
“It’s always good, no matter whether it’s good or bad. You have to put it behind you and focus on the next game because it’s coming quick.”
Montreal Impact Midfielder Calum Mallace
On the defensive matchups:
“We were a little slow to react in the middle there, obviously I think some of the match ups out wide, you know they have some pace, so it was difficult. They’re a very fast team. Obviously with just the red card, and two goals in the first half, and how bad the conditions were, it was just a tough game overall.”
On why the team started flat:
“I don’t really know how to explain it. It is just one of those games, we had two good wins in a row, and we’re trying to build off of that. It wasn’t the start we wanted, sometimes that happens and we have to learn how to play through it. If maybe we didn’t give up a goal so early, we would have grinded it out a bit and figured out how to play.”
On the fluctuating lineup due to injuries:
“It’s very difficult. Injuries are never a good thing, and we’ve had so many this year. It’s so difficult to really get a starting 11 out there that really gels together. As we’ve said in the past, we have confidence in every player that does come up and come through, and when they get the chance, we have confidence in them. We are just going to keep grinding through it. And try to get guys back healthy and keep them healthy.”
Montreal Impact Goalkeeper Evan Bush
On the match
"I don't know that we saved ourselves from any embarrassment; I mean 3-0 is still 3-0. Just overall...we started off poorly, for one, we had a lot of pressure in the first 15 minutes, gave up the first goal which was a fantastic strike, I thought; I actually thought when it went past me, it was going to go a little bit far, but looking back at the replay, top corner is a fantastic strike. After that, we get a red card and then a penalty; the red card is probably the right call, but the penalty, I don't know, I have to look at it again, but from what happened, I don't know if I necessarily agreed with it. But that's how it is. And then you get down 2-0 playing with 10 guys, and it's an uphill battle; basically, at that point you're just hoping to hang on and kind of keep it close, and maybe pull one back, and we weren't able to do that. But, we look forward to Wednesday now."
Saturday is sure to stir fond memories for Chicago Fire midfielder Shaun Maloney.
Premier League sides Aston Villa (where Maloney plied his trade for the better part of 2007 and 2008) and Arsenal are set to contest the final of England's FA Cup, the oldest association football competition in the world (11:30 a.m. CT, FOX).
Two years ago, the Scotsman played a leading role in an FA Cup final for the history books, wherein Maloney's little-heralded Wigan Athletic side embarked on a memorable march to domestic glory. With iconic Wembley Stadium in London as the setting, Maloney scored the first goal of Wigan's 2-0 semifinal defeat of Millwall, launching the Latics into a championship matchup with heavily favored Manchester City. The affair pitted that season's Premier League runners-up against a Wigan club that was destined for relegation.
But the FA Cup delivered the dramatic underdog ending that so often defines it, with Maloney assisting on the game's only goal to help secure Wigan's improbable upset over its fellow Manchester-based club.
Watch the video above for Maloney's thoughts on Saturday's Arsenal-Aston Villa matchup or revisit the MLS Insider piece below for an in-depth look at Maloney's raising of the FA Cup. Now, whether or not Maloney's FA Cup success will translate to his new club when the Fire begin U.S. Open Cup play on June 16 is a question that remains to be answered.
Late-game tension. Poise under pressure. Right-place-at-the-right-time positioning and the technical ability to snap home a crucial header.
Yes, Jason Johnson’s 94th-minute equalizer against Columbus Crew SC had all of that. But so too did the effort of Andrew Shaw earlier this week as he attempted to put his Chicago Blackhawks in the win column in Game 2 of the NHL’s Western Conference final vs. the Anaheim Ducks.
With the game already in its second overtime period, Shaw saw a chance to end it when a deflected puck was sent airborne in front of the net. Rather than wait for it to find his stick, Shaw -- who is already notorious for his soccer-like "Sewerball" skills -- went after it with his head and with all the gusto of a target No. 9 striker.
The goal would be disallowed by the officiating crew, allowing the game to enter a third OT where Marcus Kruger would play the hero for the Blackhawks. Still, the Chicago Fire and soccer fans everywhere were impressed by Shaw’s creativity in front of the goal -- and curious about his potential to similarly finish in the penalty area.
We can't say for certain that the members of the Men In Red took any direct inspiration from Shaw's headsmarts, but both David Accam and Jason Johnson tallied off headers in the Fire's dramatic draw on Friday night.
Regardless, should Shaw ever feel the urge to test his mettle on the soccer pitch, he now has the gear and a standing invitation from the Chicago Fire to give it a go:
— Andrew Shaw (@shawz15er) May 23, 2015