Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC
MLS Regular Season
Citrus Bowl – Orlando, Fla.
Aug. 29, 2015
Chicago Fire Head Coach Frank Yallop
On the game and rain delay:
“I think the rain affected both teams. It seemed like at the end of the game we both were kind of on our last legs. I think a draw is fair. We had a good first half. Playing on Wednesday caught up with us a little bit. Orlando had some good chances the second half. We had a goal called offside which would have made it one zero, and then we scored the next goal. But all and all a point away from home was a fair result.”
On moving forward:
“We’ve got a big, big game next Saturday in Montreal. It’s not for all the marbles, but if we can get a win there it keeps us in playoff hunt. So it’s a big game and we’ve got to get ready for that one.”
Chicago Fire’s David Accam (forward)
On the goal:
“From when I got the ball, I thought there was space on his left side so what came into my mind was just shoot first and that’s what I did.”
Heading into international duty:
“My confidence is up. I just need to head into international play, and I’m hopeful moving forward.”
Chicago Fire’s Razvan Cocis (midfield)
On weather delay:
“Well there’s not much you can do about the weather, so we wait for the signal to go out. Both times we were on the field we had about 10 minutes to warm up. Although I felt like second half we were a little bit tired, especially because we had a mid-week game.”
Assist on David Accam’s Goal:
“I get the ball and I know David is usually playing wide. The ball was meant for him, but it was a little low. I remember that Gilberto couldn’t control it, and it just went through but he got it and scored the goal.”
On players leaving for internationals:
“It’s going to be hard with players going away on international teams, but still we need to play. We have to stay focused. We are still hoping and we are still fighting for playoffs so we have to be concentrating on the next game.”
Fire fans will have two opportunities to meet members of the Chicago Fire during the weekend of Aug. 28-30. See complete details below:
Friday, Aug. 28: Ty Harden
AT&T Retail Location
1730 W Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Beginning at 6 p.m., Ty Harden will be signing autographs and giving away a select number of tickets to future Chicago Fire home matches
Sunday, Aug. 30: Adailton
Cermak Fresh Produce
1250 Lake St.
Aurora, IL 60506
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer
On winning the match
“Great result, that’s the big thing for me, good performance too. I think I was very happy with all the guys tonight. We dug deep tonight, got a great result against a good team. I think that was very important for us.”
On the inconsistency of results
“MLS is built on parity, and I think we showed it tonight. We beat Dallas, who were on a five-game winning streak, we handed them a result that wasn’t good for them. We beat Seattle when they were pretty hot too. This league’s even; it’s tiny, little things that make the difference in games, and tonight, we got the bounce of the ball, if you’d like. That’s kind of missing a little bit for us. But I thought we played great; I was really, really happy, especially first half. We could’ve scored four goals; that’s the type of football that I like, the sort of ‘I want to go out and attack teams, and get at teams.’ I thought we really did that. Great attitude, and I thought we did great.”
On the recent form of Michael Stephens
“I think the way Michael’s been, you can’t have him out of the lineup right now. Big thing for me is making sure guys that don’t play or don’t get their minutes…are on board. Mike’s a great guy, always on board, he wants to be part of a winning team that’s playing well. He really works hard in training, and he’s ready to play any time. The last two or three games, he’s done very well. I thought tonight, he was excellent. I thought Razvan and him were good tonight against a very good midfield three that’s difficult to play against. I thought he did great, and I’m very happy for him.”
On Kennedy Igboananike’s two-goal performance
“Any time you score two goals is good. I always say this, and we’ve talked about it a little bit: it takes a while for guys to settle and get their feel. It’s a tough league to come into from the outside. He’s got maybe eight goals [across competitions]…but big thing for me is, he works hard, he wants to do well, he tries his best, and he scores two goals to win us the game. So, very happy for him, he’s a good kid that works hard, and the guys really like him and back him up, and I thought he did great tonight. Getting a winning goal is great.”
On the play of Patrick Nyarko and David Accam on the wings
“Tonight was a game that I felt, watching New York, they’re very narrow defensively, which is a good thing at times; but other times, when we have pace out wide, you can expose that. I felt that I just wanted to play Patrick and David out in wide positions because, if you could switch it out to them, I think they could get out one-on-one and create stuff. I think the tactics were very good tonight, they worked pretty well. Obviously, the goals we conceded…I’ve seen them. The first one, I’m not sure of, but I can see it. The second one is, you can only touch the ball once to play the ball, and Kljestan touches it three times, and then Zubar walks in with the ball, so that was hard to take. But from that, we come back and we won the game. So I was very pleased with everybody’s performance tonight, and the fighting spirit of the team, which is important.”
On building for a tough stretch of road games
“It’s difficult. It’s not been a great season, obviously. We’re bottom of the league, we’re not sure in points now, but I feel we’ve performed better than the points have shown. That’s always a building block for me. I think that circumstances in the season have cost us points, individual errors, guys not being healthy, all those things come into it. I think you saw our team tonight, it was pretty good. We’re showing a lot on the field. I was excited when we got the ball going forward, it was good to see. So I’m forever optimistic, obviously we have a big, big hill to climb to make the playoffs but we have to keep going, keep moving up. I think that we can’t worry about playing away or home, but we have to maintain our focus, and make sure that we try to play the right way. I think tonight was a good example of a good-spirited win, we played some good stuff. We had, what, twenty shots, eight on target? All that stuff is good stats, good momentum for a tough run coming up.”
On Joevin Jones’ late exit from the match
“He had a slight groin tightness and issue. We asked him and he said, ‘yeah, I need to come off.’ We’ll see how he is, and he could be doubtful for the weekend. But yes, it wasn’t tactical.”
Gilberto, Chicago Fire Forward
Thoughts on the game
“Soccer is all about having fun. There’s a professionalism but if the team is not having fun, then it’s not worth it. The team was having fun, I was having fun, so the performance was great.”
On how this performance helps as the team searches for the first road win
“The biggest thing, this is definitely going to be a hard game against Orlando. We have two games to think about it but like I said, the biggest thing is to have fun, make sure everyone is having fun, be professional and it’s naturally going to be a big performance.”
On the transition to Chicago
“I love the city, have transitioned really well. I have long-term goals and want to stay here for many years, so I’ll do my best to make sure the team wants me here for a long time.”
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
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
Libertyville Soccer Complex
30080 Technology Way
Sunday, Aug. 16: Matt Watson
Libertyville Soccer Complex
30080 Technology Way
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Frank Yallop, Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Scocer
Thoughts on the match
“I’m smiling, that is my opening statement. It was good to win.”
On the importance of the win
“Massive, I think I have said long enough to guys on the field that we are pretty good. I think that showed tonight, we had the difference makers out there. Obviously, Kennedy with his two goals, when he gets the service he can finish. David has world class sprinting speed along with great skills and was electric out there. I thought Shaun was excellent in the game too. He and David have not played much but Shaun wasn’t playing for five weeks, and to put that performance in, wonderful. I will say they are the three but the whole team was excellent tonight. I was really proud with the way we played and we kind of got guys out of position, Polster and people like that. I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game, for sure. That was very pleasing.”
On how a performance such as tonight helps Kennedy gain momentum
“Yeah, I think any time you have a chance to get on the score sheet as a striker, that is the most important thing you are there for. You can play brilliant football and keep the ball and do other things but you are there to score. You are the focal point of the team and you are the striker, we need you to score goals. It was obviously a great finish off the post from David’s run and shouldn’t miss it but when confidence is not high you might do so. Good finish on the first run and the second one is a typical Kennedy goal, where he can do that and he can break away and finish things off. So that is very happy for him a good kid and he is trying hard and has not quite gone the way everyone has expected and wanted. But you scored four goals for us but I don’t know how many starts and any competition, that is still a MLS team we played there. I was very happy for him.”
On if he had spoken to Didier Drogba in recent days
“We will expect an answer in the next 48 hours, that is basically it and we can go over everything we talked about already, we are just waiting for a decision from their side and which way he wants to go. He has choices; he feels like we have put a good pitch in and is very happy with what we have done. But again it is up to the person to choose and we will see.”
On if having Matt Polster as a right back is a permanent move or a temporary fix
“I think Matt is the type of player who has been around the game for a long time and I think Matt is the sort of player who can play anywhere. Maybe not striker, but I think you could play him in a lot of positions and he will find a way to get it done. He is very athletic and he has good clean feet, he listens to the coaches and wants to learn any position he is in. I think that was a good position for him because he likes to get forward and he’s got pretty strong crossing and finishing when he gets the chance to get in there and he is very fit. That position needs it and I think it was good to have Joevin Jones back tonight as well. It was nice to have him back but he looked a little tired, but good to have him back with us and we can sort of start to build the team going into the second half of the season.”
On the play of Matthew Watson, whose performance flew under the radar
“Matt, I have been up and down with Matt and we go way back. Matt will give you everything he’s got if he is comfortable and knows his role and I think his role was that. He loves chasing the ball down, he likes to be physical, when he gets it, he likes to drive with it. We spoke for the game, I said, ‘just play your game,’ which I don’t want to give him too much information because it brings some guys down, and Matt is one of those guys. He just learns and gets on with it, he is pretty good and I thought he was great tonight. I thought he was good in Columbus but I thought he had an excellent performance. Trying to start the half off with Raz, Matty, and Shaun limited their chances. I think the first shot on goal was a goal, if I am not mistaken. They’re a good team, very proud with the way we defended and worked. They are going to have chances on their good side. I was happy with Matt, not only Matt, but the whole midfield there.”
On the decision to start Jon Busch in goal
“I wanted to play Jon, give him a game, not give him a game but play him. Jon was fine and I think he got an assist didn’t he? Not bad at all, he’s not supposed to get an assist but he did. It was good to get him a game and he did well. Sean had something wrong with his toe during the week, that wasn’t the reason I didn’t play him. But it gives him a chance to rest that and he should be fine.”
On the congested schedule around the semifinal match
“I haven’t even thought about it until it comes up, like I said to our guys. You just need to look for the next game and can’t look ahead because you will forget the game coming up. We have a game coming up this Saturday and a massive game next Sunday. Hopefully this win, although it was in the Open Cup, it was against a good contender and hope it lifts our spirits and have a great performance on the weekend and win. Lifts us all and go on a good run and make the playoffs. That is the plan to do very well in the Cup, I think we have done well to get to this stage and we have had a couple tricky ties at home, forget the opposition. If you look at the results in our league and in the Cup a lot of teams go through lower in league. We got through, big game tonight, and we got through and I thought we did well.”
On going through highs and lows this season
“Do you know why? Because certain players weren’t on the field, it is very difficult when you don’t have your team and try to explain why you aren’t very good.”
On preparing now for New England
“They will be a little fresher but I still think we will get the players’ bodies ready and their minds are fresh and strong. They want to play on the weekend obviously and I think we are looking forward to the game instead of dreading it now. We will be fine, and we’ll come in tomorrow and will get ready and pick a team for Saturday, hopefully we can perform pretty close to that and hopefully to win and that is what we are trying to do.”
Kennedy Igboananike, Chicago Fire Forward
On how speed factored into his two goals
I’m very happy we won the game and think it was a great energy to come in and make everybody happy.”
On his first goal, the game winner
”I didn’t even know if the ball was going to come, I just had to follow the rebound and keep believing that it would come to me. As soon as I saw it, I just had to put it in.”
On playing with David Accam again
“He’s like a brother to me. Everyone is like family here so for me, it doesn’t matter. We just have been a little bit unfortunate to not win games but I think we just have to keep going and keep believing that we can do it so that’s most important for now.”
On the up and down season and if this helps his confidence
“Absolutely. For me, the first season is always like this. You need to get things around you and know everything about yourself and the team. It’s been unfortunate for the team, things haven’t been going good for us but we just have to keep our head up because we’re professionals.”
If this performance will help him fight for a starting spot
“For me, absolutely. I have no strikes and the coach decides who to play. Everybody is a good player, so whenever you get the opportunity to play you just have to be ready to jump in and make a difference. I think everybody is ready to play.”
CHICAGO FIRE HEAD COACH FRANK YALLOP
On tonight’s performance
"Well, obviously, result-wise – not very good, but I thought we played pretty well. Up until the phantom red card, I don’t see it. I thought it was a penalty kick."
On what Chicago is looking to improve upon going into next week’s match against New England
"Results. It’s hard enough coming here to get a result, let alone not getting any help at all from certain individuals. It’s very tough. I thought that the calls didn’t go our way tonight, that’s for sure."
On Chicago’s level of play in the first half
"I thought the game was an even game up until the red card, and then it’s very tough, which I didn’t think it was a red card. It’s tough to lose, but I thought it was a poor game from us call-wise and in the end it costs you."
On injured players returning for Chicago
"Well we’re starting to get guys healthy now. [Chicago Fire midfielder] Shaun Maloney is back in, he should be playing. I thought David [Accam] played well today. We had to take him off because he only played 20 minutes the other night, and to play him 90 minutes right now and expect him to play Wednesday will be tough. The fact that we’re slowly getting guys back, we’re looking more like ourselves. Defensively, I thought we didn’t do a good job tonight, but it is what it is. Columbus were decent in their attacking stuff, but I thought we created enough chances to at least tie the game."
CHICAGO FIRE FORWARD DAVID ACCAM
On his return from injury
"I felt good. I was happy to be on the pitch. Even though I didn’t feel 100 percent, I was happy with my movement, everything was good. I was happy to be on the pitch playing."
On tonight’s match
"I think we gifted them two easy goals, but for me, the performance from everyone [was good]. Everyone worked really hard. On another day, we might get a good result because we worked so hard, even though we gave them two easy goals. I’m really proud of the team because they did really well."
On if Chicago can bounce back in its next League match against New England
"Yeah, for sure. We play at home and will go all out for the three points, so yeah, we can get three points as the outcome against New England."
On making his Chicago Fire debut
"The feelings are unexplainable, it was a tremendous feeling. I couldn’t have imagined it. I have been dreaming about [making his debut] ever since I was a little kid playing for the Fire, but I am happy to have made my debut for the Chicago Fire tonight. Tough result, but we are going to bounce back on Wednesday in the Open Cup."
On tonight’s match
"I thought the team worked well, I thought there were a couple of errors defensively. We need to work on it, we need to pick it up. The refs didn’t treat us to well in the game, but we can’t blame them [for the loss]. We just got to keep working hard and looking forward to the next game."
On if Chicago can bounce back in its next League match against New England
"I think so. I think the team is really looking forward to it. Our first focus is the Open Cup and [the New England match] is our second focus. We will be ready to go."
Frank Yallop has a vision.
The Chicago Fire head coach wants to play an attacking-minded style. He wants goals. That’s why he brought in the likes of David Accam, Shaun Maloney, Kennedy Igboananike, Joevin Jones
and Guly do Prado in the offseason and Jason Johnson in April. And despite having a tough time getting everyone fit at the time same, Yallop’s mindset hasn’t changed.
“When we’ve got everyone on the field, for sure,” Yallop said when asked if he still envisions his side as a consistent attacking threat. “We’ve got some real dangerous attacking-style players that haven’t played in the last three or four weeks. That’s been a little frustrating. We created enough chances in [the Seattle] game to score more than one goal. Seattle had their moments, but just for us, we missed some good chances. Getting to those moments or those spots is part of it, and the really tough part is finishing the play off.”
The Fire continue to lead the league in shots per game (14.7) but would like to have converted on more than 19 of those opportunities. Even the side's most clinical finishers have had moments they'd like to have back, including a Mike Magee header Saturday that the Fire striker lost in the lights.
“I almost jumped off the seat expecting to see it hit the back of the net,” Yallop said. “Mike doesn’t miss those.”
Yallop remains hopeful that his vision will come together when the roster comes together as well. Shaun Maloney remains out with a back injury, though Monday marked “his first day with the ball with his boots on,” Yallop said. David Accam continues to recover from a hamstring injury, and Guly do Prado suffered a slight knock to his ankle against Seattle, but both are hopeful to be available for selection Wednesday. Joevin Jones, meanwhile, remains on international duty having helped his Trinidad & Tobago side earn a spot in the Gold Cup knockout rounds.
The return of Magee and Patrick Nyarko has helped, but Yallop continues to be cautious when working them back into the lineup. Both got their first MLS starts since coming back from injury, but Nyarko came off after 65 minutes and Magee after 70. Putting too much on them too soon remains a concern for the technical staff.
“We’ve got to make sure that we don’t send these guys back to the treatment table, because it is a vigorous, tough, hard spot,” Yallop said. “It’s a lot running. It takes a lot out of your body. It takes you a while to recover from a 90-minute match.”
With four games in the next two weeks, off days are less about training and more about regeneration and rejuvenation. The list of options remains shorter than Yallop would like, so everyone has to be ready to contribute.
It shows in someone like Jason Johnson, who struggled for playing time with Houston only to arrive in Chicago and score two goals in 187 minutes on the pitch. Regardless of who is in the match, Yallop wants to see an attacking mentality and a finishing ability that puts the crowd on its feet, like Johnson did Saturday.
"I see the team as a team that the fans want to come watch,” Yallop said. “Once we get everyone on the field, it will be that.”
Head Coach Frank Yallop
On the match
"Obviously great to get three points. I thought we played well enough to get three points tonight. Although late, much needed goal and very good to get three points at home. Looking forward obviously to our home stretch we got coming up. Very pleased."
On the importance of the fresh legs
"It was very important, if you look at the two guys Patrick and Mike, guys that are still not at hundred percent. It is important for our subs to come on and make a difference. And I think JJ and Mikey combined greatly for the goal. Terrific finish and obviously won us the game. I have been pleased with the spirit of the squad and we have been through some rough patches in the last few weeks. But we stuck together and are looking forward to our next game. We are looking forward to the Open Cup game coming up as well, so tonight was a very important three points. We spoke after the game on the field and I said to the guys, 'this is the feeling you want to have. You know, you worked hard to get this very important part. We have put our bodies through turmoil and fight, knocks, bumps, and bruises and you come out victorious.' I thought we deserved to win tonight, we fought hard, we tried to win the match and we were lucky, which is important."
On the play of Patrick Doody
"I am happy for Patrick and it was a solid good performance. If you look at Seattle obviously they are a good side and top of the West for a reason. And it is not just having both Dempsey and Martins out. They are tough to play against, they are good defensively. I thought we did great stuff early in the first half. In the first thirty minutes I thought we dominated and should have scored but we didn't, that was disappointing. But we kept going, we scored but a little late but we scored, that's important."
On the health of Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee
"Mike got a knee to the back, he's a little sore, so I guess one good thing is we haven't run him into the ground for Wednesday, that's good news. Patrick looked like he got a knock but then he had a play afterwards where he didn't look too bad, dribbling the ball and playing. I have to see the medical staff and see how he is feeling and doing. But I thought both guys did well, after all it is just a long layoff for them to spark all the time is tough. They did a great job tonight, held it 0-0 and end up playing well the first half to maybe get ahead in the match. But again, we saved minutes for them which are important for Wednesday night."
On the importance of getting a late goal
"I think, I have been around this game a long time and you talk about different parts of the game, late goals scored and blame. To be honest it is the same type of thing if they score early. If you score late it changes for us all the time. We talk about not conceding late goals but we seem to do it quite regularly and early in the season. I think for us throughout the season but tonight was a good example; they have a few little sniffs and a little chance but didn't score. I feel Larin's goal against us was a word class goal. And if you look at the D.C. goal, I mean you don't see a better goal then that. Those two goals are what really hurt us and we lost because of it. So good to get through this defensively and it gives you confidence going into the next match. I thought we put our bodies on the line tonight and I was really proud with how the boys fought and dug in and got the goal and then didn't let it go. I thought it was good."
On the central partnerships in midfield and defense
"I thought Razvan especially was outstanding tonight, he covered so much ground. He is really coming into his own now, playing like the great professional we know he is, he is playing very well. And Polster is obviously a young kid that is learning and his enthusiasm I love, and he gets kind of caught up in that position once in a while but I'd rather him do that and learn from it then being timid and not getting himself out around the field. So very happy with those two in the middle and I thought both Adi coming off injured in the game in Houston and he worked very hard to get himself ready for this game. He is probably still sore here and there but I thought him and Eric were outstanding again. They fought; they battled and didn't want to give anything up. I think that is important and I talked to the guys and when we had a video meeting after the Houston game and I showed a ton of clips where we out fought Houston and we didn't win the game. I thought we fought tonight and didn't allow them to bully us and I thought that is important enough in our league and for us moving forward. Forget the players that are playing and if you don't want to fight, it is bad for your teammate and yourself. Often you are in the wrong spot and the last little spill. In the last couple games we have had there was desire to win the match and that is important."
On what was said to Jason Johnson before he entered the match
"Yeah, I said, 'get on the right wing, cut in and shoot in the far corner.' No, I didn't I just said make a difference. Just get up and down wherever you're playing. We do tend to mix it up a little bit, we were going to go three in the back but we decided to put JJ up front. Just get dangerous, we need a goal so whatever you need to do to get it onto to your left foot and get a strike off, please does it. It's not really one instruction it is more be forceful, be positive, get your shots off, and get your crosses off because that is what we need in this game. He was on for 15 minutes, give everything you have and close them down when they have it. And when you get a chance to goal go at them, get your shots and crosses off and he did that. It was a wonderful goal; I haven't seen a better goal this season. Well I have seen a few against us but for us this season this is a great goal. I am very happy for him and a good kid as well."
Patrick Doody, Chicago Fire Defender
On making his MLS debut
"As a Homegrown guy, it's something that I've thought about for quite some time. So to make my first appearance at home, with my family here, and obviously, more importantly with the win, in that type of fashion, it was a really special night, something I won't forget."
On the match
"It was awesome. Even though it came late, I'm not lying, we really thought it would come, and we kept at it defensively, didn't really give them much. It was a special play, special moment, and I think it was just a fun night for the Fire, fun night for the fans and just a really big team night."
Jason Johnson, Chicago Fire Forward
On the goal
"It was quite simple. It was a good ball from Mikey Stephens. Good counter attack and I just had one thing on my mind, to shoot. That's pretty much it. No doubt. Even before the ball was played, my mind was set to the option I did. Sometimes it goes on the other side of the post but I'm thankful that it went in tonight. It was great for the team."
On the recent struggle to get goals
"I don't think the team has been struggling to get goals. What does it do for the team? I think it was great. It was a great team effort tonight to get a win and get us back on track for the next couple of games. Good momentum for the team to get a couple more wins in the next few weeks."
Michael Stephens, Chicago Fire Midfielder
On the match
"I think it started in Houston more than tonight. Houston was a good effort, I think tonight we just continued on what we did there. But I think that was a big game for us, things were more positive in training this week and then we continued into the game, but I think Houston was a big turning point for this team."
On recovering from his injury earlier in the season
"I was out longer than I would have expected, I was out for four weeks, that takes a toll on you, obviously you lose some fitness. I've been back for the last three or four weeks training hard, trying to get back into the team so hopefully tonight helps me get more minutes."
On what the coaching staff has said about his role in the next four to five games
"Not as much as far as what my role is in the next four, five games, but we've been in communication about things they want to see me doing. We have an open dialogue. These are coaches that are honest and communicate with the players well, so I've had good conversations with them and haven't felt like I've been out of the team fully, so I've just been biding my time and waiting for my opportunity."
On the goal
"I saw that I was on a break and knew that I wasn't going to beat the guy with my speed. I saw Jason coming around my shoulder and I thought, 'the chances of him beating this guy with his pace are a lot better than mine,' so I let him go. It was a central midfielder caught in a left back position. Playing central midfield, you're not used to being in that position so I just round-footed him a little bit. He thought I'd go outside and the inside would open, but he's not used to being in that position."
Chicago Fire midfielder and defender Joevin Jones is away from the club on international duty, but he won’t be far off for his opening match.
Jones’ Trinidad and Tobago side open their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign Thursday against Guatemala at Soldier Field, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. CT. The Soca Warriors, who trained locally at the campus of UIC, will then head to University of Phoenix Stadium to face Cuba at 5:30 p.m. on July 12, before concluding group play at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium against Mexico on July 15 (5 p.m.). All three matches will be televised on Fox Sports 2 and Univision Deportes Network (UDN).
Jones, who owns 38 career national team caps, is competing in his second straight Gold Cup after helping his side advance to the knockout stages of the 2013 tournament, where they were ousted by Mexico, 1-0. He has scored one goal and added one assist in his debut MLS campaign, starting all 14 matches in which he's played.
Click here for the complete 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup TV and streaming schedule.
Prior to the start of the Fire’s 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo Friday, the club announced that captain and centerback Jeff Larentowicz would miss the match and an estimated two weeks with a herniated disc. On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop provided a bit more insight into the situation, explaining that Larentowicz has been dealing with recurring pain in his neck since at least the June 24 match vs. D.C. United and would meet Tuesday with a specialist to better gauge the extent of the injury.
“I’m not sure the signs are great right now,” head coach Frank Yallop said Monday via teleconference, “but there’s hope that he’ll be OK to train soon. Right now, it’s up in the air what time he’s going to be back. We’re just waiting to hear tomorrow afternoon.”
Even with the rash of injuries that have befallen the Fire of late, the news of Larentowicz’ impending absence from the lineup still came as a surprise because of his well-earned reputation as an MLS iron man.
Since establishing himself as a full-time starter for the New England Revolution by his third year in MLS, the 31-year-old has been nearly impossible to keep off the field. Larentowicz hasn’t been held out of more than two MLS regular season matches since 2006, his second year in the league, and was in the Starting XI for all but two of those appearances. In the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Colorado Rapids, he played in every regular-season game on the schedule.
Per Yallop, Larentowicz battled through his recent neck pain and lingering groin issues for some time but, regardless of the outcome of further evaluation, is already on the verge of missing more match action than he's grown accustomed to.
The injury, coupled with a nagging groin strain felt by fellow centerback Adailton, means the recent acquisition via trade of Ty Harden from the San Jose Earthquakes is likely to pay immediate dividends for Yallop, even factoring in Harden's own recent hamstring issues. The newcomer has not played in an MLS match since scoring for the Quakes against the Fire on March 22 in San Jose.
Still, in the event Adailton is held out of the team, Harden could see his Fire debut come as soon as Saturday vs. Seattle in a centerback pairing with Eric Gehrig, who capably assumed Larentowicz' spot in Houston.
“[Harden] hasn’t been full training yet, it’s been a lot of running,” Yallop said, "but he’ll be ready to go on the weekend I’m sure."