BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Fire’s 5-1 defeat a week ago to the San Jose Earthquakes seemed to be the catalyst for a change in the team’s central defensive partnership.
In Saturday’s friendly vs. Tottenham Hotspur, reserve center back Patrick Ianni lined up with captain Jeff Larentowicz, who moved back from moved midfield, to replace Bakary Soumare and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
Fire head coach Frank Yallop liked enough of what he saw from that experiment to give it another go on Wednesday night, with the pair putting in a strong defensive effort in the team’s 0-0 home draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“I guess switching it up is part of football,” Yallop told reporters post-game. “I thought he did well tonight. Other than maybe winning the game, the most solid we’ve looked against a pretty potent team that had a couple of chances. I think having said that, we didn’t look as dangerous as I think we’ve looked [in other games] at home.
“I was pleased with the overall defensive unit and I thought Patrick and Jeff did a good job.”
Larentowicz’s move to the back isn’t his first. The Fire captain played there some during his collegiate years at Brown University and shifted to the back for the Fire a couple times last year.
“I thought we did alright,” Larentowicz said. “A shutout is good. I haven’t gotten much training back there but it’s a place I’ve played for a number of years before. I felt pretty comfortable. I felt alright.”
Larentowicz could find more time in the back if the reports that surfaced during Wednesday’s match linking U.S. international midfielder Jermaine Jones to the Fire prove to be true.
Asked about Jones post-game, Yallop said “We have interest in the player for sure. We’ve spoken to the agent but at this point there’s nothing to add until someone agrees or it gets concluded. The truth in the matter is we have interest in the player but nothing’s been finalized yet.”
Larentowicz was also asked about the prospect of the team adding the U.S. World Cup veteran.
“It would be good. He has tons of experience. It’s good to have experienced guys and it’s good to have guys with strong character. I’ve been around him for very little. He’s a very good player -- he’s a tough guy that would help. I think wherever he goes he’ll do well in the league.”
And if it means the 10-year MLS veteran sees more time in the back, that seems to be fine with him.
“I want to be on the field, I don’t mind where it is,” Larentowicz said. “[Jermaine] is a good player, I love to have good players at our club. If that’s the truth than great but I want to be wherever on the field I can help.”
WATCH: Larentowicz talks move to centerback, Jermaine Jones rumors