CHICAGO (Wednesday, July 2, 2014) – The Chicago Fire (2-4-9, 15 points) came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC (6-4-3, 21 points) Wednesday evening at Toyota Park. Jackson opened the scoring for the visitors in the 42nd minute but Fire Homegrown rookie midfielder Harry Shipp scored his team leading sixth goal with the equalizer in the 56th minute as the Men in Red earned a share of the spoils.
The Fire next hit the road to take on defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City (7-5-4, 25 points) at Sporting Park on Sunday, July 6 at 2 p.m. CT (ESPN/La Ley 107.9 FM).
MATCH REPORT: bit.ly/1qS9x90
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: bit.ly/1iY6KLA
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.”
The Fire move to 8-3-6 all-time against Toronto FC and 4-0-4 in matches played at home. With the draw, the club extended its unbeaten run vs. Toronto FC to nine matches, going 5-0-4 since last losing on May 8, 2010.
With his 56th minute equalizer, Shipp now leads the team with six goals. This is the second consecutive MLS match in which he has scored.
Fire defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado missed the match due to a red card he received against the Seattle Sounders on June 7.
Mike Magee’s assist on Shipp’s goal was his third of the season, tying him for second on the team with Quincy Amarikwa.
Amarikwa’s 45th minute yellow card is his fifth of the season, which will force him to miss Sunday’s match at Sporting Kansas City.
With his appearance tonight, goalkeeper Sean Johnson passed Ring of Fire member Peter Nowak to move into 13th on the club’s MLS regular season games played list with 115 matches since joining the club in 2010.
Tonight's match was the first of eight across all competitions for the Fire in the month of July.
Chicago Fire 1-1 Toronto FC
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, Greg Cochrane (Juan Luis Anangono 73'); Grant Ward, Chris Ritter (Alex 46'), Jeff Larentowicz (C), Harry Shipp; Mike Magee, Quincy Amarikwa
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Dilly Duka, Logan Pause, Gonzalo Segares, Matt Watson
Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Justin Morrow, Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell; Collen Warner, Jackson, Dominic Oduro, Jonathan Osorio (Bradley Orr 87'); Jermain Defoe, Luke Moore
Substitutes not used: Chris Konopka, Kyle Bekker, Doniel Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Andrew Wiedeman, Dwayne De Rosario
TOR - Jackson (Jermain Defoe) 42'
CHI - Harry Shipp (Mike Magee) 56'
TOR - Luke Moore (ejection) 29'
CHI - Quincy Amarikwa (caution) 45+'
TOR - Steven Caldwell (caution) 53'
CHI - Lovel Palmer (caution) 86'
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Anthony Vasoli
Fourth Official: Hilario Grajeda