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28 August 3:14 pm

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
6-7:30 p.m.
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
12-1:30 p.m.

26 August 11:15 pm

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.”

 

23 August 12:04 am

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.”

 

20 August 5:19 pm

Collin Fernandez

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
6-7:30 p.m.
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
Jewel-Osco
5320 S. Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60632
1-2:30 p.m.

16 August 10:39 pm

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.”

 

13 August 11:49 am

Greg Cochrane

 

While you’re out and about in Chicagoland this weekend, find time to stop by and say hello to members of the Men In Red at the following Chicago Fire player appearances:

Saturday, Aug. 15: Greg Cochrane
AT&T Retail Location
3735 W 26th St.
Chicago, IL 60623
2:30-4 p.m.
Beginning at 2:30 p.m., Greg will be signing autographs and giving away a select number of tickets to upcoming Chicago Fire home matches

Saturday, Aug. 15: Chris Ritter
Quaker Invitational
Libertyville Soccer Complex
30080 Technology Way
Libertyville, IL
2-3:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 16: Matt Watson
Quaker Invitational
Libertyville Soccer Complex
30080 Technology Way
Libertyville, IL
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

 

12 August 11:12 pm

CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP

General thoughts on the game:
“It was very disappointing. Aside from a couple spells in the first half and spaced out through the game, we were outplayed tonight; which is alarming. We needed to get up for the game. Our training has been good and we talked about [winning this game]. You’ve got to go out and perform and give everything you have and it didn’t seem like we did that. To put in a performance like that in a semifinal is not good.”

On team’s performance:
“It seems that we pick and choose when we want to play. When we’re on it, we’re not bad. But tonight, after the first five minutes we didn’t really … we couldn’t string two passes together. If you have that type of performance, then you won’t get much out of it.”

On the Union:
“I thought we were lucky to be nil-nil at halftime. We were outplayed in the first half and lucky to be nil-nil. I was expecting us to kick-on in the second half and get back into the game, get some chances, but it wasn’t to be and that’s very disappointing.”

On Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal:
“When you lose a sub within 20 minutes – especially in a Cup game like this where you want to use your three subs to make a difference [in the game] – you don’t want to have to make a substitution for an injury. I don’t really think that made a huge difference in the game, though – we just didn’t play very well tonight.”

On looking ahead to Sunday’s game:
“Our guys are devastated with the result, but we need to get ourselves ready for Sunday. Sunday’s going to come quickly so we need to get ready for that and pick the bones out of this one, because it wasn’t good.”

CHICAGO FIRE MIDFIELDER SHAUN MALONEY

General thoughts on the game:
“I don’t think there was to much [in the game]. If I’m being honest, I think [the Union] were slightly better than us. It was very disappointing to be knocked out of the semifinal.”

On collective effort:
“In my opinion, every player tried and gave his all. That’s been the case all season. I think there were times where we were disjointed and disorganized. That’s what it felt like out there. Perhaps from the side it looked like a lack of effort, but I can assure you that was not the case.”

On moving forward:
“Right at this precise moment, it’s obviously a disappointing time. We’ve been speaking for awhile now about being in touching distance from the playoffs. We need to stop talking about it and actually do it. We’re at a stage now where we’re pretty close to being caught adrift if we don’t start winning games and that’s the crux of the matter – we need to win games or our season’s over."

 

08 August 6:46 am

Portland Timbers FC vs. Chicago Fire
Aug. 7, 2015 – Providence Park (Portland, Ore.)
Final: Timbers 1, Chicago Fire 0

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop

On the overall match…
“I think we deserved to at least get a tie tonight. I thought we created enough chances, we pushed on in the second half. [I’m] just disappointed to come away with no points but that’s the way our luck sort of seems to be going away from home. I thought our general play was pretty good without the final touch which was lacking I think for us. For us, we’re usually pretty good around the box just that final pass and finish was not quite there tonight.”

On if there is an injury update for Fire forward David Accam…
“No. A tight hamstring so I don’t know how he’s feeling but we’ll know probably more tomorrow.”

On if there should have been penalty kick for Igboananike and if the MLS should have instant replay…
“I’d like to see it again to be honest. I thought Kennedy [Igboananike] got clipped for the penalty kick but I haven’t seen it again. I would probably have thrown a flag on that play, just to see it again. I think it’s a good idea because it’s a crucial moment in the game. If that’s a penalty kick and he doesn’t call it but the video helps him make the decision, we probably score and get something out of the match but we don’t. I haven’t seen it again and everyone is going to drive home and nobody knows if it’s a penalty until they see it tomorrow.”

On if he has thoughts on how instant replay should be implemented…
“I haven’t thought about it. I think video evidence needs to be in the game because again crucial moments in the match wins or loses you the game. I think tonight is not a bad start with it if we could have done it but again I don’t really have deep thoughts on it right now.”

On the defensive effort of the team tonight…
“I thought our shape was good, our demeanor was great. We had one play where [Diego] Valeri shoots and Sean [Johnson] makes the save and then it goes into [Fanendo] Adi and goes in the net. It’s kind of one of those plays, I think everyone is in pretty good spots and it just kind of ricocheted straight to them and it just hits him and goes in. Kennedy had a great header that just whistled by, the penalty kick, I thought Sean had a good effort going on goal. Our final pass just wasn’t quite there but in general I thought we defended well against a team that’s difficult to play against, especially on this surface at home.”

On what he is looking forward to when his team plays in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday….
“Winning. Hopefully, we can win. I mean we’re in the semifinal of a cup. We got one more hurdle to get through to be in the final and there is no better time to go now and on a Wednesday night to go and try to do that. We’re excited. We have to let this one go because I spoke to the guys today and they gave me everything they had. I thought the effort was fantastic. I thought we tried hard and gave 100 percent, we just didn’t quite get it done tonight but we’re going to now focus on Wednesday and try to get a result there.” 

Chicago Fire defender Eric Gehrig

On the defensive performance of the team…
“I think one of things we’ve been stressing over the last couple weeks and one of the things that’s made us pretty successful is the team shape, not only the back four but the four in front of us and the strikers. I think we’re moving together. We’re holding the line. We’re keeping a good line going with each other. Everyone is fighting for each other [and] battling for each other. When guys go up for first balls there’s guys waiting to win the second balls. There’s just a lot of communication right now so, like you said, it’s unfortunate. [It was] kind of a bang-bang goal. You work your butt off [and] you take pride in keeping a clean sheet back there and to lose it on a goal like that is pretty heartbreaking. We’ll take our medicine and we have to bounce right back because we have a big game on Wednesday.”

On playing in the atmosphere of Portland…
“I always love coming to Portland. It’s one of the best places to play in the league. Unfortunately its turf but it is what it is and we’re not used to it. They’re playing on it too so it’s OK. [The stadium is] right down town. Kind of a historical stadium and the fans do it right. It’s very electric. It’s always, always loud, it’s never quiet and it’s a players dream really.”

On how the team bounces back going into the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday…
“I think everyone is a little pissed off right now. I think that’ll motivate us going into the game Wednesday and I think there is a little bit more to be had in tonight’s game. I think everyone in that locker room will tell you we can’t wait to get back out there Wednesday. [It] can’t come soon enough. We’re going to watch some film on this game and also look forward to Philadelphia and hopefully get it right and put in a good effort on Wednesday because it’s a huge opportunity for the club.”

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson

On the overall performance…
“I thought we were extremely unfortunate to not come out of here with a result, or a point. It was a well fought game. I thought we possessed the ball well, especially in a tough place to play. Really, really unfortunate, I thought, with the goal. [There were] a lot of bodies in but [Diego] Valeri takes a shot, it deflects, I get a touch on it, it’s going, probably out the six, but Eric [Gehrig] and [Fanendo] Adi are standing there. Eric tries to clear [the ball], it comes off Adi and goes in the back of the net. [It’s] just unlucky. I don’t think you can really do much more. These things happen in the game of soccer. Could we be a bit better on the end of the ball? Yes. Could we be a bit better defensively? I think so. Do we play it well enough to get a result tonight? 100 percent. The guys fought hard over 90 minutes and really [I’m] gutted personally and for the team to not come out here with at least a draw tonight.”

On the team’s defensive effort tonight…
“I think our defensive line was great. I think we knew that [Fanendo] Adi is a big, strong guy that puts himself in good spots. [They’re] great at holding the ball up but once you keep them in front of you and then get compact against Portland, keep them going out wide I think it’s great. We just stuck with our game plan. I thought the back line played great, like I said, just unfortunate tonight.”

On how the team bounces back going into the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday…
“I don’t think we really get too hard on ourselves after a game like this. Obviously, disappointing not to get a point but we have to be happy with the way we played tonight, with the fight that we showed and the ability to possess the ball away from home. [To take] it to a team like Portland, here, at their home ground which is one of the top three toughest places to play in my book. I don’t think we get down on ourselves. I think we keep chugging along, heads stay high that’ll be the message I’ll deliver. We just got to keep going and Wednesday’s is an important match. [It’s] a completely different game to what tonight will be and I think we’ll go out there and we got to get a job done. Got to get a win and got to get in that cup final.”

On what it would mean to make it to the U.S. Open Cup final…
“I think it would mean the world. Being in a position now where we’re one game away from the final I think everyone needs to understand the importance of this match on Wednesday. It’s going to be a battle but I think the tradition and history of our club is one that is used to winning in championships, especially Open Cups, dating back to the start of the club. We’ve got to uphold that tradition and come out and really go at them over the course of 90 minutes and win that game.”

 

07 August 11:09 am

Chris Ritter

Chicago Fire fans have three opportunities to meet and mingle with members of the Men In Red this weekend, with midfielders Chris Ritter and Matt Watson each making appearances at locations in and around Chicago. Also, be on the lookout for Sparky at the Chicago History Museum's Chicago Hot Dog Fest in Lincoln Park! Stop by the locations at the day and times listed below and say hi to Chris, Matt or Sparky!

Saturday, August 8
Chris Ritter
Retro on Roscoe Street Fest (Roscoe and Damen Ave.)
12:30-2 p.m.
(Quaker Tent)

Saturday, August 8
Matt Watson
Walmart (3320 S. Cicero Ave., Cicero, IL)
12-1:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 8
Sparky
Chicago History Museum Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Clark Street and LaSalle Drive
12:30-1:30 p.m.
ChicagoHotDogFest.com

Sunday, August 9
Matt Watson
Pete’s Fresh Market (4343 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL)
12-1:30 p.m.

 

02 August 11:29 pm

In the 85th minute, with the wind whipping against his back, Chicago Fire midfielder Shaun Maloney stepped up and placed his penalty kick into the inside of the left side netting. FC Dallas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy dove the correct way, but there was no stopping a shot that well-placed. It was the second clinical PK conversion in as many matches for the Scotsman. 

Afterward, Maloney jogged toward the end line at Toyota Park, then turned toward his teammates and made a calming hand gesture to his teammates as if to discourage celebration. Before he had taken the shot, FC Dallas right back Atiba Harris was in his ear. “You just don’t need this,” Maloney recounted him saying.

“But we really did,” Maloney added. “It was a lot of relief when that penalty went in rather than any real great joy. It was nice to get that second goal.”

          WATCH: Shaun Maloney Postmatch Reaction

The Fire couldn’t be content with a one-goal advantage. Too many times, this team had been burned by late equalizers or game-winners. Even in their most recent outing, they had victory and the full three points snatched from their grasp when a defensive lapse led to a tap-in goal for the New England Revolution.

They knew what had to be done in this one. “If we get a shutout, we’ll win the game,” was the message Frank Yallop conveyed to his club at halftime, as relayed to the media by Jeff Larentowicz. It’s one the head coach had shared many times throughout the season, but this was against an FC Dallas side that had won five straight matches, scoring at least twice on all five occasions.

It was a nervy second half. A straight red card issued to substitute Matt Watson in the 79th minute made it even more so. But the back line, anchored by the return of Larentowicz and a strong performance by Sean Johnson, held firm, and the late penalty was the clincher Chicago so desperately needed.

“Closing out a game like that, pushing at the end, having a shutout, [there were] a lot of good things,” Larentowicz said.

Maybe that penalty wasn’t cause for a celebratory backflip or dance, but it did allow Yallop and his team to breathe a little easier. Having not held a multi-goal lead in a regular-season game since May 30, that feeling was more than enough.

—Luke Srodulski