CHICAGO (July 19, 2014) – The Chicago Fire (3-4-11, 20 points) drew the Philadelphia Union (5-8-8, 23 points) 1-1 Saturday evening at Toyota Park. Jeff Larentowicz powered home a header off of a Harry Shipp corner kick in the 60th minute but Sebastien Le Toux equalized for the Union with a late, 91st minute penalty kick.
The Fire next head west to face the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Wednesday, July 23 at 9:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network/La Ley 107.9 FM). Three days later the Fire host English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur in a match presented by Target at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 26 at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN. Tickets for the match are available via Ticketmaster and www.Chicago-Fire.com.
Match Recap: http://bit.ly/1ppYxxI
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On Matt Watson’s performance
“I said to Matt today, ‘there are spaces to run into.’ So, I thought he played great tonight, I thought he had a terrific game, very forceful, ton of work. I thought he played really, really well, and he picked the times to go forward, obviously, marauding forward, Mike slots into that little area where he leads. I wanted a lot of interchanging of positions. I thought, to be honest, if you look at the game, I thought we did enough to win the match. I thought our defenders and our defending tonight was excellent.”
On the penalty call at the end of the game
“I just saw it. One of the worst calls I’ve ever seen, to be honest. To be honest. His arm was against his body, it hits Gonzo [Segares] in the arm on his chest, not away from his body. I just don’t understand how he can call that. I really don’t. Especially that, I gotta tell my guys, ‘nice try, unlucky,’ and what do I say next? I’ve nothing to say to them, because they gave everything they had, I thought we were excellent tonight. Tough game, divisional game, I thought we fought, a little flat first half, whatever, I thought we pushed the issue the second half. We’re trying our best, the guys gave me everything they had, everything they had; and the referees decide the game. Unacceptable, to be honest, unacceptable.”
On the performance in the first half
“I think you don’t want to go a goal down. We’re at home, it’s an even game, you had a couple half chances first half. I think both teams looked like they wanted to possess the ball a little more tonight, and didn’t really venture forward too much. It wasn’t an end-to-end match, so I was quite pleased with general possession first half and general chances. I can’t remember, someone had a really good chance, I think Alex cut in a couple times, lately he’s quite dangerous. Sometimes in cagey affairs, we’re dying to win the game; but we didn’t want to give the game away, and I think that showed a little bit in the first half. But for the second half, we come out and try to get at them and push it; and we talked at halftime, ‘it’s our game to win.’ Although it was a set play, we deserved to go ahead. I think we had a lot of opportunities, and again, just frustrated we didn’t win.”
On the defense’s performance in a possible clean sheet
“You make a good point with that, it should have been a clean sheet. I thought the back four was excellent tonight. I thought they battled, they fought, they worked together. Philadelphia scored three goals in the last game, I think three before that; they’re free-flowing, they’re good, they’re active. I thought we did a nice job on them tonight. I thought we deserved to win the match. But again, I’m sitting here, we tied again. And I’m just really upset for the guys, because they deserved more than they actually got tonight.”
On the shape of the squad
“We’re still looking for players, and helping out in certain areas; we’re still on the lookout for certain areas and players to help us out in different spots. I’m not going to say which ones, but we’re trying our best to round out the squad, and make sure we have a rounded, good squad going into the second half of the season. Again, I feel for our guys tonight, it was a tough one to take.”
On frustration about missed calls
“The thing is, frustration comes out with not getting calls when we should. I’m not going to just lambast the referee, but it seemed a little bit one-sided at times, most of the game. But Mike [Magee] sort of got on with it; we talked about it a lot, he gets frustrated with certain calls. I don’t think it’s one isolated play where he could’ve kept going. I think, I didn’t see the play, I haven’t seen the replay, whether he handballs or not; Mike felt he did, so he stops thinking the referee saw it, but he didn’t see it. But he missed the handball at the end too, which wasn’t good.”
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On the defensive performance:
“I think the defensive performance was great. I thought we were extremely unlucky. We played a solid 90 minutes defensively and we defended well. Baky [Soumare] was excellent. Everybody in front of me worked hard for 90 minutes, and it’s tough when a call like that late in the game takes points away from you when you’ve worked so hard. It’s a really tough one because the past few games we’ve put together some good performances. There’s only so much we can do, it was out of our hands. That game was in the hands of the referee, and that was the decision he made and unfortunately we ended up with a 1-1 result.”
On playing a game on short rest after this result:
“We’re going to have to put it behind us. Everybody is still a little emotional about the game and emotions are running a bit high, but I think that we’re going to have to really look at the positive side of things. We don’t have time to dwell on a decision that was made or points that were lost. For me, we played well, you can only do what you can on the field. Looking forward to San Jose, it’s a quick turnaround, we’re going to have to do regen and get ourselves prepared physically and mentally to get out there and battle. We’re right there. We hate to say it week in and week out, but we’re not in a bad spot. With a win on the road and win in our next home game we’re right in a playoff spot. For me, it’s just staying mentally sharp. As a group, we can’t let decisions like these or results like these gets us down. We need to stay strong at a time like this.”
Chicago Fire midfielder Jeff Larentowicz
On his goal:
“The coaches do a good job every week of setting set pieces up, this week was no different. I had a similar opportunity in the first half. Harry’s service is consistent – it’s always there, it’s always good. I was lucky that I got a second chance.”
On PK call:
“I was behind Gonzalo [Segares], I have to see it again.”
On miss opportunities:
“Frank [Yallop] said at half time when the score was 0-0, that when we get the lead we have to finish the game out. Unfortunately, we left it in the refs hands and we don’t finish the game, we don’t get the second goal and we don’t push to win the game. You have to go and win the game, you have to win the game at home, you have to get the second goal. Unfortunately, calls are always lurking in the shadows - you never know when they are going to pop-up. If you give the ref the opportunity or you give the other team the opportunity to get a point out of the game it can come back to get you and it did tonight. The chances were there. Technically they changed a little, they threw more guys forward, it’s the same story, they began to serve the ball into the box, but we dealt with it. You can’t just run up the field and allow numbers to accumulate and think that the defense is going to deal with everybody. You have to sit back, you have to mark everybody up so technically we still had opportunities to get a second goal and we didn’t.”
On the defensive performance:
“We’ve done really well on defense. Tonight the guys in the middle did a really good job of handling Conor [Casey], he’s a big guy and they didn’t have much down the left side, a few crosses on the right, but really not much. They did a good job. It’s unfortunate that in the 90th minute we lose the lead in the game.”
Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares
On the PK call:
“The result was very frustrating because I thought we deserved more, we were the better team. We all make mistakes and today the referee made one - we are all humans. I don’t need to see a replay to know that’s not a PK. Hopefully the referee union will look at it and there will be a suspension for the ref, and we’ll move on. It’s tough to swallow, but we’ve got an important game on Wednesday against San Jose in which we’ve got to go there and get three points.”
On the defensive performance:
“I think defensively that the past couple of games we have done well. We’ve been pretty solid and haven’t given them many chances. Today was the same, but unfortunately the only one they had was a PK, other than that we were able to contain them. We have to keep improving because we’re doing well.”
On what happened on the play that lead to the PK:
“I really don’t know why he called it because I think he hesitated a lot and I don’t think he had a clear view. If he had a clear view he would have seen that hit me right on the arm that was tucked in to my chest. Things happen, but like I said, we all make mistakes and now we figure out how to deal with it. It would have been nice to have the three points, we only got one of them. It’s frustrating, it’s tough to swallow, but we have to keep moving forward and working hard. We’ve done well lately and we need to keep same intensity and the same tenacity that we’ve been showing the past couple of weeks.”
- The draw moves the Fire to 4-5-3 in regular season matches against the Union.
- With the start in tonight’s match, Bakary Soumare becomes the 17th player in Fire history to reach 100 MLS regular season appearances for the Fire.
- This was the fifth match across all competitions in the month of July.
Chicago Fire 1 – 1 Philadelphia Union
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares; Alex, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Matthew Watson, Harry Shipp (Grant Ward 75’); Mike Magee, Quincy Amarikwa (Matt Fondy 79’)
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Greg Cochrane, Patrick Ianni, Marco Franco, Chris Ritter
Philadelphia Union: Zach MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Raymond Gaddis (Brian Brown 81’), Maurice Edu ©, Ethan White; Michael Lahoud, Vincent Nogueira, Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 61’), Amobi Okugo (Fred 69’); Conor Casey, Sebastien Le Toux
Substitutes not used: Andre Blake, Fabinho, Brian Carroll, Aaron Wheeler
CHI – Jeff Larentowicz (Harry Shipp) 60’
PHI – Sebastien Le Toux (penalty kick) 91’
PHI – Amobi Okugo (caution) 22’
CHI – Alex (caution) 26’
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Assistants: Daniel Belleau, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Kevin Terry Jr.
ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club is a premier franchise of Major League Soccer (MLS). We provide an engaging and authentic soccer experience for the city of Chicago and for all of our supporters around the world. The Fire enters its 17th season in 2014 looking to continue its winning legacy both on and off the pitch. The Club proudly embodies the spirit and diversity of our sport, and since its inception in 1997, the Fire have captured an MLS Cup in 1998, and remains the only MLS team to have won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four times. The Fire's home venue is Toyota Park, a world-class soccer stadium located minutes from downtown Chicago in Bridgeview, Ill. For more information on the Fire and to purchase tickets, please visit the Club's official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.