Crowded week, injuries open "open opportunities" says Frank Yallop

Soumare, Ritter fill in admirably as injuries, fixture congestion take their toll

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. - The Chicago Fire’s injury list remains mostly unchanged heading into Wednesday’s encounter at Colorado (8pm CT on My50/TWCSC).

Before departing for Denver, Yallop told reporters Tuesday that Mike Magee (calf strain), Patrick Nyarko (knee sprain, ankle surgery) and Patrick Ianni (illness) would all be unavailable for the midweek encounter in Denver. Logan Pause (hamstring tightness) and Alex (hamstring tightness) are also out for Wednesday's match but Yallop held out hope the pair could play a part on Saturday vs. Seattle. 

The injuries and sickness opened the door for a few players in Sunday’s 1-1 draw vs. LA Galaxy. Save a giveaway at the back that led to LA’s only goal, Homegrown midfielder Chris Ritter put in a solid outing in his his professional debut

“Chris comes from nowhere and plays great,” Yallop said. “I don’t’ consider him a fringe player or secondary player. I always tell the guys ‘you’re in the squad for a reason -- to play soccer, if you get called upon, don’t be afraid of the moment.’ I thought Chris after his first two touches was very good.”

Expected to be part of the match day 18 after a calf strain kept him out the previous three games, Bakary Soumare stepped back into the lineup for Ianni.

“It was kind of a surprise because I got a call in the morning that Patrick wasn’t well. I thought okay, got a hold of Baky and no problem. I thought he played great. He and Jhon we’re very good.”

Soumare’s return to the field Sunday earned him MLS Team of the Week honors and perhaps made amends for his performance in a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake on May 3. Despite his strong play, he says he didn’t use the memory of a month ago as motivation.

“There’s no redemption,” Soumare said Tuesday. “I come in every game and try to do the best I can. Try to play hard, I’m not out here trying to prove myself, I try to contribute to the team, try to do the right things and follow the game plan.”

Yallop pointed praise at one play that “really defined our afternoon” in the 60th minute when Stefan Ishizaki was put in down the right and saw Soumare get enough of a deflection on his cross to allow Hurtado to thwart a Robbie Keane shot that would have surely taken the match to 1-0.

“I don’t think Keane saw him and Robbie’s usually lethal from that position. That was those two on Sunday, I thought they were great.”

With the team in the middle of the daunting three match in six day stretch, Yallop has told his players to be ready for the chance to play.

“I said to the guys on Sunday, ‘expect to play a couple of games, one of the games, whoever’s in the squad will probably get a chance to play so be ready. I just have to figure out the lineup and what’s going to work together. Each player just be ready to play some