CHICAGO (Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014) – The Chicago Fire (4-5-13, 25 points) defeated the New York Red Bulls (6-7-10, 28 points) 1-0 Sunday evening at Toyota Park. Mike Magee scored the lone goal of the match in the 38th minute and ‘keeper Sean Johnson made four saves and earned the shutout as the Fire emerged victorious.
The Fire next head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Sounders FC in the semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, Aug. 13 at 9:30 p.m. CT at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Wash. The match will be available via live web stream at www.chicago-fire.com.
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On the three lineup changes for tonight’s game
“I felt that watching New York, I felt that Razvan [Cocis] showed his class, he’s not quite at the top of his game but he played very well tonight. Good 90 minutes of football, I thought. I put Bakary [Soumare] back in who was very solid and had a great game, I told him that. Harry [Shipp] has had his rest, bringing him back in was good. I thought we started real brightly in the first 20 minutes. You know you’re playing against a good side by the way, so it’s never easy. We got a goal. I thought we had a mature, professional performance. You know, it’s finally good to get a win. I am really happy with that. I am proud of the guys and the way they have hung in there and made sure we haven’t sort of lost focus, we are not a bad side. We are still growing and I think it is easier to throw the towel in and get complacent and turn on each other. The performance tonight was a fighting, solid, really good home performance that deserved the win. I was really proud of our guys.”
On the continued attacking play while holding the lead
“I think that any coach will say that if you feel you are good enough to get the second goal, you feel you can push on. I thought tonight we looked like we were going to get the second goal. I felt, not that we allowed our guys to go forward; you can’t really coach much from the outside. I felt that they felt it. They felt like they wanted to go forward. They felt they could get the second goal, they felt confident they could keep the ball in the half of New York. If you look at the Red Bulls, they kept the ball well and they were dangerous, but we were solid and we defended at the right times. Sean [Johnson] made a great save on [Bradley] Wright-Philips, which was a good shot. It was an early shot and a good shot and he made a great save. I thought it was a good performance and I was proud of the way we played.”
On if the results earlier this season against New York made a difference
“No, I don’t think so. It usually spurs on the opponent. If we lost to an opponent, I’d mention it. I am sure Mike [Petke] said that we tied 1-1 here, which was the first game, then we go and beat them 5-4 at their place. I am sure he would have mentioned that. But, I do not think it comes into that. It’s about your performance and sometimes you’re on and sometimes you’re off. Sometimes you don’t defend well, sometimes you look dangerous. I think the 5-4 was a one off and tonight’s performance was a pretty even game but I think we edged it. I felt that we looked like we wanted to win it and that was good from our side. I take nothing away from the Red Bulls. It has nothing to do with what they did. I felt that our guys showed that they were determined to win that game, which was great.”
On how the win helps with the upcoming match against Seattle on Wednesday
“I will let you know after Wednesday, I guess, but I think it’s good. Obviously, momentum is good. We’ve had a good home win. Seattle is a tough place to go, but, again I think we have only lost five games so far and that’s always good when you are going into a cup tie because if it does go down to extra time or penalties, we feel that we can take it there. We want to try to win in regulation, but we are going to a tough place in Seattle, we know it’s going to be difficult. We are going to see how the boys are feeling tomorrow, sort of look how everyone is doing, how they are feeling. I will try to get around to most of them. I will pick a team on Wednesday that will hopefully get us through to the final.”
On the atmosphere in the locker room after the game
“Great, and is it relief or is it more, ‘we should do this more often.’ I think it is celebrating more often, but, that looks like relief, whatever it is, it’s nice to win. The guys put in a lot of effort in this game, put a lot of effort into the whole season and we haven’t got what we deserved. But, I don’t think we have been good enough to win more games because we would have done that. I am just really happy for the guys. It is nice to finally win at home. The fans go home happy, although it would have been nice to score a few more goals and look more dangerous at times. But, a win is a win. You just take it for what it is.”
On second clean sheet in three games
“Coaching. I can’t laugh on that one. No, it’s not coaching. I think it is just determination and good spirit from the guys. Again, I keep saying it; they have been through a tough first five months of the season, all those guys. They kept going and kept trying and kept working. You know we worked really hard on the training field and you know my coaching staff has been wonderful, all the stuff they do with them. I try to lead them from the front and get them on track. I think you have seen a team that has not quit and not turned on themselves. You have seen it before with other teams and other seasons, when it goes south, quickly. This group has not done that and I feel confident that they can do okay this year. Where we end up, I don’t know. We have a bit of catching up to do, but, I think to get through to the semifinal of the cup and hopefully get a good result there and now we are two or three points off the final playoff spot with a game in hand, which is good and then that’s what we try to do.”
On the difficult of going to Seattle without Mike Magee
“The last two games, you know Mike is really starting to come into his own. He started to move around the field more like he can and how he plays. He’s had his injury problems; you know he’s had a sore calf. This week he has had days off. You know I am kind of feeling for him a bit. He’s not in tip top shape for his body, but I think he has been playing pretty well. It was a great penalty, the second phase, obvious the save and at least he followed it up and put it in. I think we will go with a different lineup and I am not going to say what it is because they are probably listening, but, we will see who plays up with someone else on our team and we will go from there. For us, it’s just making sure we are ready to go on Wednesday.”
On how Mike Magee was affected with his calf injury
“He’s pretty sore. He doesn’t say much, but, you can probably ask him now and he won’t say much, but he’s pretty sore. I think he is battling through and just trying to do well for the team, which is good.”
On Sanna Nyassi’s status
“I think he is cleared for Wednesday. We are still trying to get confirmation from the league. He played in the Canada Cup which is a different competition to the Open Cup, but it is the same outcome, the result, getting to CONCACAF Championship. So, we are just waiting to find out and get the all clear for Sanna to play. He has trained well and looked good and he adds another dimension to our team and I am excited to get working with him, but we will have to see if he’s cleared first and then we will go from there.”
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On the team’s defensive performance:
“In this league it’s never easy to get a shutout, we’ve been working on it. I think it shows a lot that in the past three games we’ve gotten two. We’ve really been working in training, both on and off the field to figure things out, and the guys are doing a fantastic job. Baky was excellent tonight, he cut out a lot of opportunities, got in great spots and caught a lot of dangerous stuff. It’s great because we have a lot of depth. We have a lot of guys that can step in at any point in time and get the job done. I think you’ll be seeing that. We have a very tough schedule coming up, so anybody at any point will have to have the confidence to step in and get the job done. The guys who played tonight were excellent, so we want to keep that going into the Open Cup game in Seattle and then look to really keep that momentum going.”
On playing with different formations on the backline:
“With our players, I’ve know these guys for a long time, we’ve been playing together since at least preseason. Every player is different and every player reacts to you differently, so it’s really up to me to learn about those players. Come game time it doesn’t matter who is on the pitch, I’ve got to organize things and get everybody on the same page so we can go out and get results and clean sheets. They did a fantastic job tonight of really communicating and closing the game out.”
Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare
On being back in the starting lineup:
“It feels good. Obviously I’ve been frustrated by not playing, I like to be on the field – I’m a competitor. Coming into the season we knew it was going to be tough. We’ve got a lot of great center backs coming and we knew there’d be a fight, sometimes other guys deserve it more than you do. You just have to keep grinding and you hope for an opportunity and do the best you can. I think I did well tonight.”
On why the changes were made:
“It’s been tough. It’s been a tough season for us on the backline. There have been inconsistencies and sometimes you have to make changes – you have to figure out what’s wrong and plug in different guys to see what works. It’s almost like trial and error giving other guys opportunities. That’s part of the game. We have a lot of great players, so there’s a lot of competition. We knew that coming into the season. We just have to keep fighting for the spots and whoever gets on the field is going to get the job done, we just need to figure out what the right combination is.”
On the attitude of the players in the locker room:
“This is a good group of guys here. It’s not like when guys are not playing they are just walking around pouting. If you’re not playing, just work a little harder and you’ll get an opportunity to play, and that’s what everyone is doing. That’s the great thing about this team – everyone is positive, everyone is fighting. We can rotate, having guys step in and do well – last week Pat [Ianni] came in and did well and the game before it was Hurtado. No matter what the combination we have out there is the best for the team that’s what we want.”
On playing with Jeff Larentowicz:
“It was different because it was the first time, but it was good. Jeff’s played there for a long time and he’s getting used to the position. He’s a smart player, if there’s one guy who can play any position it’s Jeff because he’s that smart. He’s a great professional and adjusts well to the game. Whether it’s Jeff or Hurtado or Ianni, we have a solid core where whoever gets plugged into there will do well.”
- With his goal in the 38th minute, Mike Magee moved into first place on the Fire’s goal scoring chart this season with seven goals.
- Midfielder Razvan Cocis made his first start in a Fire jersey, going the full 90 minutes in the win.
- ‘Keeper Sean Johnson made four saves and earned the fourth shutout of the season and the 25th of his career.
- The Fire remain unbeaten against the Red Bulls at Toyota Park with an 8-0-4 record in regular season play.
Chicago Fire 1 – 0 New York Red Bulls
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer (Grant Ward 88’), Jeff Larentowicz ©, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Alex, Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis, Harry Shipp; Mike Magee (Logan Pause 88’), Quincy Amarikwa
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Matt Fondy, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Sanna Nyassi, Chris Ritter
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Roy Miller, Ambroise Oyong, Ibrahim Sekagya, Chris Duvall; Tim Cahill (Peguy Luyindula 83’), Eric Alexander (Bobby Convey 80’), Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam; Thierry Henry ©, Bradley Wright-Phillips
Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Richard Eckersley, Ruben Bover, Armando, Andre Akpan
CHI – Mike Magee (unassisted) 38’
NY – Ibrahim Sekagya (caution) 66’
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistants: Phill Briere, Gianni Facchini
Fourth Official: Sorin Stoica