Yallop praises Benji Joya, Quincy Amarikwa, says both could start Sunday at Portland

Yallop could look to Joya, Amarikwa Sunday after performance in season opener

Whether it was in his post-game comments or on Thursday’s media conference call, Fire head coach Frank Yallop pulled no punches regarding his displeasure with the team’s performance in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Chivas USA.

Trouble in defense, a lack of chances created and the obvious inability to close the game out after coming back from 2-0 were all issues for the team according to Yallop.

“We didn’t do anything right on Sunday,” he told reporters. “I sat there sort of in shock to be honest… All the things I like in a team that I coach, I didn’t think we had.”

With the poor performance vs. Chivas USA, Yallop indicated that changes could be coming to his lineup for Sunday’s match at Portland with the Fire manager saying that Sunday’s goal scorers Benji Joya and Quincy Amarikwa could see increased time against the Timbers.

“I thought Quincy and Benji were wonderful,” said Yallop. Don’t be surprised if they get more minutes on the weekend, if not starting.”

Joya got off to a dream Fire debut, tapping in a deflected cross from Alex just seconds after entering the match in the 63rd minute but Yallop also pointed to a need for Joya to be smarter about his challenges, especially after receiving a yellow card for a hand ball in the 78th minute.

“Benji’s a good player with a ton of enthusiasm. He took his goal well, he followed the play up. Maybe he was a little overenthusiastic in some of his challenges but I’d rather that than being meek and mild.

Meanwhile, Amarikwa scored a fantastic individual effort from outside the box to equalize in the 70th minute. The goal was the veteran forward’s third in as many appearances for the club dating back to 2013 and continues the strong form he showed coming into the campaign.

“Quincy had a very good preseason. I think it’s always been in my mind to get him on the field when we can. He’s finishing chances – that was a terrific goal he scored. I think he scored two in four preseason games. He’s ripe and ready to go.”

Yallop and Amarikwa have reunited at the Fire after the manager first drafted him with the San Jose Earthquakes back in 2009. Since then, Yallop has seen the now six-year MLS veteran grow in his career.

“What I liked about Quincy when I drafted him way back to now is that he’s matured, he’s learned the game, he knows when to be aggressive and when to back into guys and be strong. He’s running off the ball pretty well too. He’s not had many minutes, if he keeps going like he is he’s going to see a lot of time and he’s going to score goals.”

With Mike Magee’s status up in the air as well as Chris Rolfe and Dilly Duka battling injuries, both players could get their first start for the Fire on Sunday.