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01 July 12:26 am

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

Thoughts on the match: 
"Obviously great to get through into the next round, coming from behind is always important as well. But I probably think the highlight of the game was seeing Patrick and Mike being back on the field and contributing to us. Very happy for the team and those two guys as individuals. It's being a long way back for them. Happy to see them on the field, very proud in the way the team kept going and got the result. I thought Sean Johnson was outstanding also."

On what was said at halftime to change the tempo of the game
"Yeah, I would say the first twenty minutes were edgy, and we didn't really have any confidence, as we know in sports, is everything. We didn't go out with any confidence to start the first half, we looked nervous and edgy. Then we started coming to it towards the end of the first half, and obviously got the first goal. So, I said we just got to up the tempo, I liked from the outset we pushed on. After halftime we kind of allowed them to play and I felt we weren't too bad going forward at the end of the first half. I felt we allowed them to play too much and giving them too much respect on the ball. The demeanor was a lot better the second half but they created some good chances for sure. It was good tonight, we weren't our best against them but thing is here is having your goalkeeper play well. And finish off chances and both boxes have said it enough, we were pretty good in both boxes tonight." 

On Mike Magee's return
"Mike gave everything he had. He still has a little bit of a catch up but I think after he scored the second goal, he went over to our fitness coach Adrian Lamb and gave him hug because he worked very hard to get him back to this point. When you have surgery, you think you're going to get back pretty quickly but you realize it is 9 months and it's a long time. I think he is very appreciative from the work he put in himself and the staff we have here to get him to this point. I'm pleased for him and I think he showed tonight, took three shots and scored two goals. His ratio is pretty good and he's got to keep that up. Its nice to have him back, we obviously got through this game and need to get our team together. I thought Patrick looked outstanding in only 10-15 minutes, you miss guys and when they are on the field, you realize how good they are. It's not in training, it is actually in play, in the proper game. I thought Patrick looked great, I thought, and obviously Mike's goals were great. Very happy for both guys and pleased to have them out there."

On the play of Lovel Palmer
"I wanted Lovel to get himself forward and get back to the old Lovel, where he use to bump forward. Especially last year we kind of free front and I have not played him as right back a lot so maybe it has not been his fault all the time. He is very good going forward and I said go on please, and express yourself and do your thing. Obviously a great long range shot and great ball from Mike for the goal, so he had a good night. Has a little bit of a tight groin but we will see how he is doing but hopefully he is okay. I thought he had a good game tonight."

On missing Joevin Jones and potentially Jeff Larentowicz for the Houston match
"It was a tough turn around, but Houston is playing as well tonight. It is just an injury problem and it does weaken you a little bit. Again, our guys got through this game tonight and do we play particularly well at times? Probably not. But did we do good stuff going forward and were dangerous? Yes we did, and I think and hope this is the turning point. So we can come out with a good result on Friday, it's a tough game, but we will just see how we are tomorrow. We will see how Lovel and Jeff are, and both David and Shaun are definitely out. Lovel is a slight risk with coming off with an injury but it is what it is. It's a squad game and we have lost four in row in our league play, which is not good. So we got to go down there and try to get a result and then look forward to the next few games we have at home."

On facing Orlando City in the next round
"I think the context of it, you're playing against players you don't really know. I felt they came out pretty strong and energetic and did well for 30 minutes. Its always that way, its very easy to sit and say we should win 4-0 because we are a MLS team and they are USL but they beat New England away and they are not bad. They proved that tonight, they had some good chances but we had the better of clear cut chances but it was still a dangerous game. We've just got to get our guys back on the field and look forward to the next game versus Orlando, which I am looking forward to. It's a great tradition of this club to do well in the Open Cup and I am no different to that. I want to do well for the club, the fans, and everyone involved and do well in this competition."

On looking towards the next transfer window
"It is still undecided in how it is going to look, and we are still waiting on the final makeup of how that sort of mechanism is going to work to have players. I  can't really comment on what is going to happen but we are actively looking and it is nice to have Mike and Patrick back, those two spots are covered in the attacking core. So, we will look at it closely and we will have a meeting tomorrow and go over our wants, needs and hopes and the list of players we have targeted in different spots and see what we come up with."

Mike Magee, Chicago Fire Forward

On scoring twice upon his first start of the season
"The first goal was great, and tying the game in the first half is not all that glorious. But in the second half, I'm ten times happier to see Pat on the field, first of all. Then, for him to give me a lay-up, it feels pretty similar to how it was two years ago, when we had that great run. He's brilliant over there, and for some reason, he always seems to give me the easy goal. So, thanks, Pat Nyarko."

On playing a full 90 minutes
"That was huge. Adrian Lamb, our fitness guy, many people haven't seen the work we've done together, and more importantly, the work he made me do. Probably half the time, if I was trying to quit, or trying to give him a better idea of what I thought I should do, which was half of what he had planned for me...if it weren't for him, I probably wouldn't be playing tonight, let alone finishing 90 and playing well."

On being named captain for the match
"When you wear the captain's armband, you feel a sense of pride that's kind of hard to describe. Jeff's an incredible captain, so I'm in good company when I put it on, but it's a surreal feeling, especially for your hometown club."

On the victory serving as spark for the rest of the season
"I hope so. There was definitely something a little different in the group tonight, the way we got after it. We kind of had the sense after the game, and even before the game, that we were ready to fight for each other. First of all, we need to get everyone healthy and on the field; once that happens, I truly believe the sky's the limit."

Patrick Nyarko, Chicago Fire Midfielder

On returning from injury
"It feels good. It's been a long road. All the rehab, all the tough days waking up and trying to get back. Once again, I appreciate the patience of the club, waiting up on me, being patient with me to take as long as I can to come back stronger. I still think I have a little bit to go to get in tip-top shape, but it's a good start. I think the guys worked their ass off today to get us the win, and I'm glad to win."

On his first touch leading to goal
"I'm not quite that good, but surprisingly, me and Mike [Magee] had talked about it; the celebration was going to be, he was just going to tackle me, and I was just going to run off, out of the tunnel, but I think it didn't come to that yet. But we definitely talked about me coming in and setting him up for a goal, for sure."

On his and Mike Magee's return serving as a spark
"Surprisingly, I think we've been okay. It hasn't been as bad as the results or the positioning in the league table seem to suggest. We've been in games, we've been in leads, we've given up leads and stuff like that. I think we just have that edge to win games, and everyone needs to learn how to win games, it becomes a habit. I think the results haven't been there, but I believe in us. As you guys might know, we've had some slow starts here in the past, and besides last year, we've actually kind of picked it up towards the middle of the season, towards the end of the season. So, I'm hoping for that. Obviously, Mike was a huge loss, and now he's back; look at what he did today. I think we're going to count on him, he's delivered for us, and he will keep delivering for us."

On the emotional meaning of his return from injury
"Like I said, I just appreciate the patience the club and the fans have had. They deserve better for all the support they've given us even in the bad times. Mike is a huge part of the club, he's going to lift us big time; I'm going to chip in and do the work I do, and hopefully it turns around. I think all the guys are on the right path; it's just that little bit, the young guys learning how to win in this league, it'll be a huge boost in the second part of this season."

 

30 June 11:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Luke Srodulski

29 June 4:13 pm

“We’re forever looking.”

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

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

       Open Cup Preview | Read: Open Cup Opportunity

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

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

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

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

LISTEN: Frank Yallop on Transfer Window Targets

29 June 9:01 am

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

 

 

 

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

Happy Pride Parade Day!

Posted by Section 8 Chicago on Sunday, 28 June 2015

 

24 June 11:18 pm

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire Defender and Captain

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

24 June 1:02 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

17 June 12:20 am

Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quincy Amarikwa, Chicago Fire Forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

14 June 8:23 am

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop

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

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

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

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

Chicago Fire forward Jason Johnson

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

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

Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp

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

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

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

 

12 June 10:24 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

09 June 10:22 am

Chicago Fire Academy 

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

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

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

Chicago Fire PDL 

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

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

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