Blog

MLS Regular Season

08 July 12:27 pm

It had been a long-time coming and put off a bit by Gonzalo Segares' ankle injury earlier this season but the Costa Rican's appearance in the Fire's 1-1 draw at Sporting KC had a ring of history to it. 

With the 90 minute shift, Segares played his 216th regular season game for the club, moving him past goalkeeper Zach Thornton for third all-time on the club's MLS regular season appearance list, joining current Fire assistant coach CJ Brown (1st, 296) and teammate Logan Pause (2nd, 279).

Fire kitman Charles Raycroft worked a little magic and made the trio these jerseys to commemorate the occasion...

Congrats to Gonzalo on joining the club and thanks to all three of you for your 791 regular season matches and 35 years of combined service to the Fire! 

For your reference, here is the club's Top 15 MLS Appearance List:

Rank Player Games Played Years
1 C.J. Brown 296 1998-2010
2 Logan Pause 279* 2003-present
3 Gonzalo Segares 216* 2005-present
4 Zach Thornton 215 1998-2006
5 Chris Armas 214 1998-2007
6 Jesse Marsch 200 1998-2005
7 Chris Rolfe 178 2005-2009, 2012-2014
8 Justin Mapp 174 2003-2010
9 Patrick Nyarko 169* 2008-present
10 Diego Gutierrez 157 1998-2001, 2006-2008
11 Ante Razov 155 1998-2004
12 Jim Curtin 151 1998-2007
13 Sean Johnson 116* 2010-present
14 Peter Nowak 114 1998-2002
15 Marco Pappa 112 2008-2012

See more historical Fire player stats in the TrueCar Player Registry.

06 July 6:19 pm

Chicago Fire at Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Park – Kansas City, Kan.

MLS Regular Season

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop

On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…

“First off, I thought we played well—an even game. I think we moved the ball well. It had been physical in the first 20 minutes of the match. We had a game plan to come in and try to do that and find little pockets and little holes and play in between the lines. I thought we did a great job, we just ran out of steam. We had a couple injuries. Alex was off at halftime, and Jhon (Kennedy Hurtado)’s got dizzy spells. So late in the game, when you want to make your subs make a difference, we couldn’t do that. Credit to Kansas City, they really pushed and in the end could have won it, but I was proud of the way we hung in there. So we could win a few more games, but we can tie them for sure.”

On the impact of the weather…

“It’s huge. The thing for me is that we don’t quit…and we didn’t. We kept going and tried to do the right things and moved the ball well. I thought Harry Ship was good today. He finds the pocket and finds good spaces. But in general, I thought we did OK. We have tied a lot of games and it’s frustrating when that’s probably one of the games that Kansas City probably deserved to win. But a lot of other times we pretty much were on the verge of winning the match. So it’s a close thing for us right now. Today was a good fight and spirit, with injuries and with stuff that went on. To get a point here, as you guys know, it is very difficult.”

Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause

On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…

“This is a tough place to play against a good team with a great crowd. But at the end of the day, not many people can come here and get a draw out of it. It's a good point or us.”

On using U.S. Open Cup results to build momentum…

“We know we have a lot of work to do, but I think we've gotten some good results in the Open Cup that have given us a little momentum and a push. So we are excited to keep that going.”

On Mike Magee's goal…

“When Mike [Magee] gets in those types of situations, he is clinical. He does a fantastic job running off defenders shoulders. It was a fantastic job by Chris Ritter to put him in behind.”

On preparing for another midweek game…

“We are going to have some tired legs, so it will be up to the staff, but hopefully we can take some momentum into Wednesday. We have a big Cup game and then it's back to League play over the weekend.”

Chicago Fire forward Harry Shipp

On a 1-1 draw against Sporting KC…

“It was hot. I think the first half we did a pretty good job defending and countering when they turned it over. In the second half, they were a little better on the ball. In the last 30 minutes they wore us down, running in the heat, and shuttling back and forth took its toll on us. It was tough for us to connect passes in the last 30 minutes.”

On using Open Cup success to build momentum…

“Any time you get a win, especially when we struggle to get wins in the League, it's imperative for us. It hasn't turned into a League victory today, but hopefully in the next couple weeks it will turn into a couple wins.”

On a demanding July with MLS play and the U.S. Open Cup…

“We have a busy month. We have a mid-week game and a weekend game almost every week. It's important to keep our bodies rested and fresh when we aren't playing.” 

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes

On Sporting KC’s 1-1 draw against Chicago…

“Look, we obviously gave a goal away. And they had one other chance besides that. We lost a ball, a very easy ball right at the beginning of the final third. We lose the ball and we’re a little stretched out and they get an easy tap-in at the end of the day. So we give that up, then obviously we drove the game, in and around their box quite a bit. I like to think that in the second half we made some really, really good opportunities at goal. We had some really good chances (where) we should have scored a second goal, no doubt in my mind. We just didn’t have enough people in the box. I do think that these games, when you play at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, in this kind of weather…it makes for a tough game for both teams. And I think it changes the way the game is played. Its not an excuse…My point is that when you play these games at night in the summertime, they have a different feel for both teams—and they should from their entertainment value. But again, we had enough chances around the goal, and we should have scored a second goal.”

On his decision to use Graham Zusi as a second half substitute but keep Matt Besler out of the matchday squad…

“Zusi felt good to go in and play, and Matt felt he needed a couple more days (to rest). Really simple.”

On Chicago’s first half pressure leading to their equalizing goal…

“I don’t know if they really pressured high up the field. I don’t think they really did. But I thought what really happened was that as we were building out, I don think we were moving the ball quick enough. So it allowed them to just hold their ground. We didn’t expect anything different. I don’t think they were high up the field to be honest with you. I just think that our circulation with the ball in the first half was very slow, and I think the second half was much better. And I also thought that they tried to isolate a couple of our guys with the ball. We made adjustments in the second half and that changed everything.” 

Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber

On returning from a shoulder injury to play his first game in a month…

“I felt pretty good for the most part, but got tired there at the end. It was obviously a tough environment to play in—really hot and humid today. We did some good things and almost got the second goal a couple times in the second half. I thought our second half performance was a lot more composed. We had the ball a lot in their end. Whenever we lost the ball, our transition was good, and we created some decent opportunities. It’s always going to be tough when they put 10 guys behind the ball. Overall, it was a decent game. I just need to keep building endurance game-by-game.”

On splitting the points with a defensive Chicago Fire…

“It’s important to get points throughout the season, so a draw is okay. At the end of the year, every single point is going to count, whether you’re getting them home or away. It’s tough not getting three points at home, but we’ll take this result and focus on next week in Montreal.”

On how Sporting KC’s great fan support makes it tough on Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to decide whether to pursue a move to Europe or stay in MLS…

“There’s no doubt that everyone (on our team) wants to be here, or else Peter (Vermes) wouldn’t keep them here. And it’s easy to see why we want to stay here. I’ve only been in Kansas City for a year and a half, but there’s no place I’d rather be. The fans that are out there every single weekend, the way we play…our entire setup here is fantastic. It’s a class organization. I’m sure Besler and Zusi both have some decisions to make regarding whether they leave or not, but it won’t be an easy one. Sometimes opting to go elsewhere is something you have to do develop your football career, but it’s never an easy decision when you’re leaving a place you really love. They’ll take their time with the decision, and if they decide to stay, we’re going to be thankful.”

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer

On his showy goal celebration in the first half…

“(The celebration) was set up. It was mentioned earlier today before the game, and it sounded like quite a cool idea. It was a good bit of fun, but I got a yellow (card) for it. I was lucky I didn’t get another yellow, or else I would have been in big trouble.”

On whether his first half yellow card changed the way he played the rest of the game…

“It was on my mind after that, but it didn’t change how I played. Obviously I wasn’t going to go hard into a 50-50 (challenge), and luckily that opportunity didn’t come.”

On Sporting KC’s 1-1 draw against Chicago…

“I’d rather have three points, but it’s nice to get on the score sheet. I was more excited that I cleared one off the line, to be honest. I really wanted to keep a clean sheet today and was gutted when we allowed one. I thought we defended well throughout the whole game, so I’m a little disappointed there.”

On scoring his 12th goal of the season…

“I just stayed calm. I remember the defender got a bad ball and he didn’t take the best touch. He kind of panicked because I was coming at him quick. He kind of stumbled over the ball and I nicked it from him. I was going to shoot across the keeper’s body, but I saw (Sean Johnson) take a little step to the middle. So I hit it early and slid it past him. Normally you’d go around him, but he’s a big goalie. I just saw a little gap and slid it in there.”

On exchanging goals with defending MLS MVP Mike Magee…

“I have huge respect for him. I think he’s a fantastic player and a great guy, too. He’s sent me messages of encouragement and givent me some good advice. He’s a veteran, a very good player and a former MVP of the League. Obviously I’d like to follow in his footsteps. We’re different players, but we both score goals. That’s a good similarity to have.”

On Sunday’s playing conditions…

“It was stupidly hot. A 2 p.m. game is not fun with that weather. I understand it’s T.V. time, but those were very tough conditions. It was bad at the end there, I was cramping up. But that’s part of football.”

06 July 6:12 pm

Select shots from the Fire's draw with SKC presented by MiAllstate

02 July 11:44 pm

Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC
MLS Regular Season
Toyota Park – July 2, 2014

 

Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop

On team's overall performance

“I thought we did enough to win the game. When it is eleven men against ten, we should win the game. We had our chances.  It's frustrating, I've said it a few times; we've tied and maybe deserved to win the game, but we haven't. That's our problem right now: we can't seem to win a game. We haven't lost a ton, but we haven't won many. It's a weird situation, it's frustrating; we can't get over the finish line with a win. The guys are frustrated in there, we are, as a staff, and me as a head coach. It's not from lack of effort, which is important, it's just lapses of concentration at the wrong time. They had one or two chances and scored one goal; we probably had five to six, seven, eight chances and scored one. It's the story of our season so far, so it's been frustrating.”

On issues with low number of shots on goal

“We'll have to look at them again. I thought we had enough chances to hit the target. I'm not out there, I can't remember all the chances we had. I think the one cross that went in, if we just get a nick on it, we score; Joe Bendik made a very good save, he traps it. [We had] one on a good volley; the offside goal, I haven't seen whether it was offside or not, so it was another good chance. You can't always tell if you’re hitting the target is the right thing; if you try to bend it around the keeper and it just goes wide, sometimes that's unlucky too. But we had enough looks in the final third and in their box to get more than one goal; but we didn't, so that's the story of our season if you like, and our theme tonight.”

On the performance of midfielder Harry Shipp

“Good. On a positive note, Harry's starting to blossom into a good player. I think he's starting to play with a lot of confidence, and he knows he's a good player. He's maturing nicely, and I think that it's no surprise that he does well. He's in a lot of the good stuff that we do going forward. So, very happy with his development. Good goal again; I think he's at six goals already, a great tally for any player, let alone a rookie coming into a brand new, professional league. He's done fantastically well.”

On the performance of forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Mike Magee

“It was difficult. I thought the two center backs were physical and strong, and I spoke to the boys to play a little quicker and try to separate them a little bit. I think, in the second half, we did a better job creating chances. I know it's against ten men, but still, the same back four, or back eight if you like, they got one up front in Jermaine Defoe. I think we created enough opportunities to do better with what we had, and I haven't spoken to either guy yet, but both of them had pretty good looks tonight; just that final, last, little piece was just missing. But I'm not going to fault them for effort, I think that they worked well. They tried to do the right things, moved the ball pretty sharply for us, passed it well. Again, it's a little easier against ten men, but I still think we did the right things to create enough chances, but we just didn't get our final touch.”

On the second center midfield position

“We're looking. It's a spot where Alex has been injured a lot this season; I don't know how many games he's played, it's not been many, he's not played a league game for a good nine weeks or so. Once they went to ten men, I felt we needed something more offensive, and Alex obviously has more of an offensive mind than Chris [Ritter]; Chris had a pretty good bang on his eye, so I think it was a smart move to do that. If you look at the game as a whole, with Alex in there, we did create enough chances to get something out of it. Whether he played really well himself, he didn't play for a while, so he was going to be a little rusty. But I think that the formation was fine, and it gave us enough chances to get into the game or win the game.”

On going for it by substituting forward Juan Luis Anangono for defender Greg Cochrane

“I tend to think, for me, if we're tying, we need to win games. If we had lost 2-1, it didn't really change too much (the points) so we're trying to get three points. We went to three in the back, but it didn't quite work, so I put Jeff [Larentowicz] back. So we were going to go with Jeff, Baky [Soumare], and Patrick [Ianni], but we decided to just go with four and just push Lovel [Palmer] and [Grant] Ward, playing right back, he's really a right wing, forward. We possessed the ball enough, did enough to get something out of it, so we were definitely going for it to try and get a win.”

Chicago Fire Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

On the break:

“It’s disappointing.  We talk about the little things.  There’s one chance in this game for the other team and they took it. We were second best.”

On the team’s reaction Yallop’s comments at training:

“What he said was taken in by everybody. There’s time left, however.  We can’t hope to hang our hat on ties at the end of year, especially home games and conference games.  We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

On the substitutions:

“In other games, earlier in the year, Frank has shown he wants to win and puts on players that are going to make a difference. Last week Juan [Luis Anangano] did that for us in the game.”

On the difference between ties and losses:

“There’s always a difference. However, when you have so many ties that feel like losses, it’s tough.”

Chicago Fire Midfielder Harry Shipp

On his goal:

“I think someone played it out to Mike [Magee] off a corner kick, and I was actually jogging over to take the corner when I saw it go out and I sort of slipped along the endline. I think Mike made the pass, I took a few touches then took the shot and scored.”

On not being able to get the win playing a man up:

“It’s really frustrating, it sucks and it feels like a loss.  We should have scored about four goals in the second half.  I think we all need to figure out how and what we can do better to not fall behind in the game, that’s the key I think.  We started getting into the game, up a man, they scored a goal and that kind of killed us going into halftime.”

On the possibility of Rookie of Year Honors:

“It’s not even on my mind.  When you’re on a team like this with two wins all year, you’re focusing everyday on trying to go in and get a win and to learn how to get better.  I’d rather not score a goal all year and be on a winning team than score however many goals I score and be on a losing team.  So, Rookie of the Year is not really on my mind.”

On the substitutions:

“We had the ball pretty much the entire second half.  Being up a man obviously helps that, but we can’t afford to tie at home.  We came in to this game knowing that we needed a win, we kind of billed it as a game to turn our season around, which hopefully gives us momentum heading into the second half of the year.  It didn’t happen, so we have to look toward Kansas City on Sunday.”

Toronto FC Head Coach Ryan Nelson

On surviving with a point on the road:

“Yeah, any point on the road is a very good point, especially when you go down to ten men.  The guys were absolutely fantastic.  Really in control of the game, up until the decision, and even then I thought we looked like we were going to get one on the break.  They [Chicago] did very well in the second half, as they would, Frank’s a very good coach, and pushed us high and we kind of sat back and we didn’t have the confidence to maybe press a little higher, and force them into making mistakes.  They kind of trapped us in a wee bit, but we had to defend.  We defended very well.  When you’re down to ten men, you need a lot of organization and a lot of character and a lot of strength, and I think the boys showed that in abundance.”

On Jackson’s goal:

“We worked on that potentially but our wide guys would have a lot of influence running in behind their defenders and it just happened to be that he got himself into that position and it was a perfect cross.  Really good finish.”

On the team holding its defensive shape for the duration of the second half:

“They had every excuse to lose it. Away from home, and Chicago desperate for a win, absolutely desperate for a win, and Frank’s done a great job with them, they are a great team.  Obviously with then me, we had to sharpen our steel; this point is very valuable.  It proves now that at six unbeaten that when we are away from home, and being down to ten men twice, we’ve managed to get something out of the game.  That’s extremely important.”

Toronto FC Defender Nick Hagglund

On fighting through being down to ten men for over 60 minutes:

“I was pretty proud of the guys and how we responded with that red card.  A lot of times, people go down, especially when you go early in the game, you’re down and out.  Usually a red card towards the end of the game is a little different, and you push a little bit more.  I thought we being zero-zero, I thought we did well.”

On what Coach Nelson said at halftime:

“He said just to stay organized.  We knew that they were going into halftime, they were going to change their plan a little bit more and figure us out with ten men versus eleven men, but I thought we made sure we were tight and made it difficult for them to score.”

On coming away with a point:

“I think in the locker room we were pretty disappointed.  I think the goal was soft.  Could have been deflected.  Joe got a hand on it.  I think everyone here is disappointed that we didn’t get the three points, because we were up.  I think it’s a step in the right direction.  To be disappointed with getting a tie and not three points [especially on the road].”

On going into the three game home stand coming off the World Cup break:

“We are pretty excited to get Mike [Bradley] back in the lineup.  Being at home, we are tough at home.  That is where we thrive.  We still have two or three games in hand on most teams so there’s an opportunity for us to jump up standings.”

Toronto FC Midfielder Jackson

On earning a hard fought point:

“We weren’t expecting to play with ten men.  However, this team is a strong team, and we fought through it.  As a whole we played really together and we got that point that we needed.”

On his goal:

“At training we talk a lot and we practice it and we communicate constantly.  Fortunately, I was at the right spot at the right time.  We continued to fight and continued to be a team as whole and get ahead.”

On taking advantage of the space on the flanks to utilize on counterattacks:

“I was fully aware of the space I had so I was just waiting for that one spot, that one time, and I got it with myself and Dom [Oduro].  Unfortunately, the goalkeeper got a hand on it and I was happy with that touch but I want to reiterate again that we have to continue working strong as a team, whether we have ten men or eleven men.”

02 July 10:30 pm

Select shots from the Fire's draw with Toronto FC presented by MiAllstate.

08 June 12:04 am

Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop

 

On general feeling of the team heading into the World Cup break

 

“Points-wise, not great. Spirit-wise, I thought tonight was good. Difficult circumstances with the red card and all the stuff that went on tonight. What I liked about the team tonight: we fought, and we stuck up for each other. That's the positive out of it. The negative: we didn't get a result at home, obviously. Frustration is probably the word I would say right now.”

 

On if he had saw the reason for Obafemi Martins' sending-off

 

“No, I didn't, I haven't looked at a replay. I haven't seen it yet.”

 

On expecting officiating controversies

 

“I don't know. I thought both teams came out to try and win the game, which is important. Some decisions for us didn't go the right way, and you get frustrated with all that stuff; it spills over to your play a little bit. I'm not going to fault the effort of our players at all; we're not quite able to figure it out yet. We have good moments; we have patterns of play that are good, we look like we're a good side, and then we falter and get punished. It's frustrating. I hate to use the word, I keep saying it, but the balance is not quite there yet. No excuses with the three games in the week, but it's never easy. But I thought we kept going until the end; we could have gotten something out of the game. Obviously that third goal killed the game a little bit. Quincy [Amarikwa] had a great chance I think at 2-1, and then Juan [Luis Anangono] had a good chance at 3-2. That's football. That's the tough part about it. And I'm sitting there just frustrated, and you guys are fans of us, as frustrated as you are; I'm sitting there going, ‘why can't we get it sorted out?’ But signs are good, young guys are doing okay. Harry [Shipp] did good tonight, so hopefully we can turn the corner.”

 

On creating chances and goals in play

 

“We created some good chances. If you look at the experience on their team, it's a pretty experienced team; and we're a little bit younger and naive, and all the guys we have out...there's no excuses. But I'm not going to fault my guys; I thought they fought right to the end, tried to get something out of the game, but just couldn't quite get something out of it. I'm not going to turn to the excuse of ‘we got guys out,’ because, I thought the players that played tonight played well for us. Big, important thing is, take the punishment, if you like, and move on. You have to. We have an Open Cup game next, hopefully we can get through that round; I think there's another round of Open Cup, and then we get to get back into MLS. So we're still in the picture, which is always good; although we have to start winning games, obviously. But the progression of the team playing-wise, I thought, showed some fight tonight, which is important.”

 

On the penalty call and ensuing red card against Fire defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado

 

“Anytime you go with two feet, it alarms referees for some reason. I think that Jhon had no other opportunity to block the ball, and to go with his feet sort of showing. It didn't catch the player; give a penalty kick, but don't give a sending-off. Or give a sending-off, but no penalty kick, whatever you want to do, but I just think the double thing was just, for me, not a great decision. I haven't seen it, but it looked like Jhon was just trying to block the ball; it wasn't malicious, it was low, and it looked like he was trying to get his feet sorted out. But, again, the rules are what they are, so I can't really argue with it. But I struggled a little bit all night with the officiating. I thought it was a little bit one-way, but that's my opinion.”

 

On the World Cup break serving as a chance to get healthy

 

“You have two main guys out, Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee are out at the moment, so you have to help them get ready for play coming in the next couple of weeks. We have the Open Cup, which is in our break. Alex is not 100%; obviously played a little bit tonight, but he's not close to what he can play like at the moment. So we have a little bit of time to get our guys healthy and hopefully start the next MLS game out with a win, because we need to start winning, obviously, to have any chance to do well this year. But I think the emergence of the young players is my focus, and I think they're doing okay. We're not wishing the season away at all; I make sure that we're ready to play each game and ready to go. I thought again, we didn't flop and buckle under in this game, which we could have done against a good side. Each game we've played, other than maybe a couple, we've been right there, right in the match, right and ready to go; but the naiveté of our team, and it's not a slight on them, it's just reality, we can't figure it out quite yet. It's frustrating as a coach, and the players are frustrated. I think that for us, it's making sure that we build on it, and make sure we get positive with it.”

 

Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire Midfielder

 

On tonight’s loss:

 

“This may be the toughest so far.  You might want to put it up there with the Real Salt Lake game, but they came at us – Seattle didn’t.  They were content with their lead waiting for us, but somehow they still got the better of us which is difficult.”

 

On where the team goes from here heading into the break:

 

“We have to decide.  Everyone has to go home this week and figure out if they’re content with where we are, think about if they’re content coming in after games saying, ‘Oh well, we did alright – we didn’t score or we didn’t finish that chance,’ or they can make a difference, they can make a change. I don’t know what happened around the league, but we’re at the bottom of the conference – we have to make a move and we have to stop being content with half chances and one goal losses at home.”

 

On the team’s effort:

 

“It’s not the effort, it’s not the effort.  It’s critical moments in the game when players make a difference or don’t make a difference, and at the moment we’re not making that difference.

 

On how to make that difference:

 

“We can’t be content.  We can’t come in and say, ‘We did alright.’  There’s no attendance award, we have to come and we have to do something.”

 

On the goals for the remainder of the season:

 

“I think the goal is always to make the playoffs.  We can’t come in and say we’re going to be the MLS champs - we have to work for it, we have to fight for it.  We have to fight to get into the playoffs period.  Then you can move on and rewrite your goals.  At the moment - sure we’ve hung with teams, sure we’ve played well against top competition, but we haven’t gotten over that hump.  Like I said it’s not about sprinting harder, running faster or jumping higher, it’s not about that because we do that.  It’s about the critical moments when we have to make a difference, that’s what we have to focus on.”

 

On the Open Cup as an opportunity to turn things around:

 

“Winning is contagious, I think.  You catch it and you want it.  We haven’t won, it’s almost like we enjoy coming in and being content with what’s going on.  So, sure we win the first round and we play another game before we play a MLS game, so sure we can get the wheels moving, we can get guys healthy and can start pushing on.  But you can see we’re in games.  It’s not about personnel; it’s just about those little things.  Against different competition in the Open Cup maybe we can sharpen those edges.”

 

Quincy Amarikwa, Chicago Fire Forward

 

On the chemistry with Harry Shipp:

 

“I think Harry and I are building good chemistry up-top. It’s translating on the field and it’s turning into goals.  We just need to figure it out as a team now, making sure we can prevent teams from scoring multiple goals on us so we can come away with three points.  Tonight we can build from it, learn from it and move on.”

 

Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire Forward

 

On play leading up to the goal, scoring and the result:

 

“I was trying to show up in places to find the ball, but it was hard.  I was getting frustrated, I think everyone was getting frustrated, with our lack of keeping it.  Right before the first goal I started feeling a little more comfortable, kind of feeling the touch, and then I hit a good shot.  After that the momentum switched and I think we were back in the game.  In the second half we gave up that third goal, which killed us, but I think that besides that we really kept the ball, we possessed the ball.  We did things we know we can do. We had a chance to tie it up at 2-2 and to make it 3-3, but unfortunately it didn’t go in. I scored two goals, but I’m not going to be happy unless I score two more and we win 4-3.  That’s the difference in this feeling and difference in New York when we won 5-4.”

 

On the chippy play during the game:

 

“I think we have to keep our focus. There was a lot of extracurricular stuff going on after every tackle, there were people complaining, but I think you just have to keep your head and focus.  I think we did a good job in the second half of just moving the ball and playing simple – keeping the ball and interchanging especially through the midfield.  It was hard for them to keep the ball.  I think if we had done that all 90 minutes it might be a different story.”

 

Seattle Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid

 

On the match:

 

“You know, I thought we made the game harder than we needed to make it.  Obviously we are in a good position with a two goal lead playing a man up, and then we get a man thrown out.  At that point, we gave up a goal, you know, I think Shipp took both his goals really well, he finished them well, one left footed, one right footed,  and they were good finishes, but they were plays we should have stopped a bit earlier.  Hats off to him and his finishes, so it made the game tight.  Kept it tight all the way through.”

 

What changed when the Fire scored, making it two to one:

 

“It picked up their spirit.  They are obviously playing at home so they want to make a good impression in front of their fans and they want to do well.  We’ve had a good run, played well, and we have a few guys that are banged up out there and so guys are just thinking of making it through.  Now we have a 5 day break.  Maybe they were thinking of that.”

 

Seattle Sounders Midfielder Marco Pappa

 

On the physical match:

 

“I am pretty happy with the group.  We were good tonight.  We played a strong game.  Red cards and many fouls but at the end of the day we have the three points.  We are pretty happy about that.”

 

On his return to Chicago:

 

“I was excited to see to see old faces, old friends, old fans.  It was for sure a lot of feelings on the pitch but Chicago has been a big part of my career.”

 

Seattle Sounders Midfielder Lamar Neagle

 

On his game winning shot:

 

“It has been something I’ve been trying to do a little bit more, have some composure in the box, that kind of show.  When it was coming down, I did want to hit it first time but it wasn’t bouncing right.  I didn’t want to rush it.  Got it down and then tried to curl it in the back.”

 

On the funny bounce it took before he struck the ball:

 

“I was trying not to panic.  It took a long time to come down the first time, then it bounced weird, and just took it off my knee and tried to settle it as much as I could before I took a shot.”

 

On the Fire goalkeeper being screened:

 

“Yes, I think he was screened.  It was definitely behind the defender so he wouldn’t have been, or he didn’t see it before it was going in.  Sean Johnson is a great goalkeeper so luckily the defender was there to block his view.”

07 June 11:02 pm

Select shots from the Fire's loss to the Sounders presented by MiAllstate.

 

06 June 3:39 pm

As the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders clash Saturday at Toyota Park, more than a few players will be lining up against their former teammates. A photographic trip down memory lane...

Drafted by the Chicago Fire in 2005, Chad Barrett made 82 Regular Season appearances for the Fire before being traded to Toronto FC in exchange for the rights to Brian McBride in mid-2008. Barrett has bounced around the league, playing with TFC, LA Galaxy and New England Revolution before settling in Seattle this season.

The former Fire first round draft pick has performed well in Clint Dempsey's USMNT absence, scoring a goal in each of the last two games for Seattle. 

Marco Pappa makes his first return to Toyota Park since being sold to Dutch Eredivisie side Hereenveen in August 2012. Things didn't work out for Pappa in Holland and he returned to MLS this season where Seattle grabbed him via allocation (though the Fire did make inquiries into bringing him back to Chicago). Pappa sits tied with Piotr Nowak for fourth on the club's all-time goal list (26) and is best remembered for some absolutely highlight reel strikes during his time in Chicago, one of which won the 2010 MLS Goal of the Year.

The Fire's first round selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Anibaba was a starter nearly his entire time in Chicago, appearing in 96 MLS matches over the course of three seasons. The defender was traded to Seattle the night before this year's MLS SuperDraft but has appeared in just five matches for the Sounders so far this season. 

Though he's a Sounder now, we will always remember his 2011 Chicago Fire Goal of the Year strike, "THROUGH THE GUISE OF SMOKE!"

Prior to being one piece of the deal that came to Chicago in the Anibaba trade, Patrick Ianni spent five seasons in Seattle after being acquired from the Houston Dynamo in 2009. The UCLA product made 83 MLS appearances and won three straight U.S. Open Cup titles with Seattle prior to January's swap. Ianni has provided depth for the Fire in defense this season and likely would have a few more appearances if not for a bout of sickness this past week.

The other piece to the Anibaba trade, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is the only Fire player other than Sean Johnson to play every minute of every game and has likely been the best on the back line in 2014. Like Ianni, Hurtado joined Seattle in 2009, appearing in 108 matches, helping the Sounders to three straight Open Cup titles -- he even played 90 minutes in Seattle's 2-0 defeat of the Fire in the 2011 final. 

"I'm excited to play against my former team," Hurtado told Chicago-Fire.com Friday. "I have only words of gratitude to the people at the Sounders, the fans, my friends back there. I spent five happy years there, my boys were born in Seattle, so it is a special place. Tomorrow is a new change. I'm here in Chicago, I play for the people here, the fans that live and die with us and we have an important game against Seattle before the World Cup."

06 June 8:15 am

After picking up a second draw in four days, the Fire head back from Denver with their heads held high after collecting a good road point. The last match before the World Cup break will offer a considerable challenge as league-leading Seattle Sounders, a team in good spirits after a 4-0 drubbing of RSL last weekend, come to Toyota Park Saturday night (LIVE on My50 at 7:30pm CT). Here are some things to keep an eye on from a tactical perspective…

Limiting the involvement of Chad Barrett – stopping the supply to the former Fire striker

In the absence of Clint Dempsey, former Fire striker Chad Barrett has stepped up and performed extremely well for the Sounders. Despite his size and the fact the club have Kenny Cooper in their ranks, coach Sigi Schmid has deployed Barrett as a target striker in recent matches to great effect.

Barrett seems to have modeled his new found role after San Jose Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart, often using his head or chest to cushion the ball in the direction of his fellow attackers such as Obi Martins and Lamar Nagle. Barrett has also chipped in with two goals in his last two matches for the Sounders.

Barrett is deceptively good in the air too, and with players like Brad Evans and Marco Pappa putting in crosses, the Fire need to be aware of where Barrett is on the field at all times. Against RSL last week, Barrett often found space by peeling off and making runs to the back post undetected. He was almost found a number of occasions and but for some better crosses/through balls, he might have a lot more than one goal.

Similar to players like Marco Pappa and Justin Mapp, the Fire fan base is openly divided about Barrett’s contributions as a Fire player. One thing’s for sure, he would like nothing more than contributing to the Fire’s downfall on Saturday night.

Limiting the Sounders set piece opportunities – not allowing Pineda and Pappa to put in dangerous deliveries

Though the Fire have improved greatly at defending set pieces, the Sounders will give them a stern test on Saturday evening.

With the twin threats of Gonzalo Pineda and Marco Pappa, Seattle posses two of the best dead ball takers in MLS. The Fire will also need to deal with players like Brad Evans, Zack Scott and Chad Marshall, defenders who are very good in the air.

On set pieces, the Sounders usually have two routines. The first is to whip the ball into the box and look for someone like Marshall or Barrett to get a head on it. The second is to float the ball into the box and look to attack the second ball after a Sounders player heads it back across the box in the direction of where the free kick came from.

The Fire gave up 13 fouls in Colorado and were very aggressive against Robbie Keane last Saturday at Toyota Park. The Men in Red have made a number of mental mistakes on set pieces this season so limiting the number of fouls in the Fire’s defensive third will be critical on Saturday night.  

Targeting Seattle’s central defensive pairing – keeping the ball on the ground and using our attacking pace

With what the Sounders central defenders have in experience and aerial ability, they certainly lack in pace – something the Fire should be looking to target on Saturday night.

Marshall, Scott and Djimi Traore are all very accomplished defenders but aren’t always comfortable in 1v1 situations, especially against an attacker with pace. With this in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Yallop goes with a lot of pace and trickery when choosing his attacking players for this match.

An attacking midfield trio of Benji Joya, Harry Shipp and Grant Ward with Quincy Amarikwa playing ahead of them would be very difficult for the Seattle defense. All four players are very good in 1v1 situations and Ward and Amarikwa aren’t afraid to take players on.

On Saturday night, the Fire should be focusing on attacking Seattle centrally and if the players mentioned can pick up the ball in the space between Osvaldo Alonso and the Sounders central defenders, it could result in the breakthrough.

Prediction: The Fire head into the World Cup break with another point – 1-1 with a goal from Benji Joya.

Stephen Piggott is a contributor to Chicago-Fire.com. Follow him on Twitter @irish_steve.

WATCH: MLSsoccer.com's Scouting Report: Fire vs. Sounders

05 June 11:42 am

Select shot's from the Fire's draw with the Rapids presented by MiAllstate. 

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images