CHICAGO (Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014) – The Chicago Fire (5-6-14, 29 points) defeated FC Dallas (12-8-6, 42 points) 1-0 Saturday evening at Toyota Park. In his home debut, Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw scored his second goal in two consecutive matches to give the Fire the full three points.
Next up for the Men in Red is a road match against long-time Eastern Conference foes New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. CT (My50/TWCSC Wisconsin/La Ley 107.9 FM).
Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop
On expectations for Robert Earnshaw
“I mean, every time we make a signing, we hope it works out, and that they settle in really quickly. I think the big thing for me when we signed Robbie was that he's already been in the league. I've kept contact the last couple of years with him about coming to San Jose when I was there, and he ended up going to Toronto, but we had a good rapport. I always felt that bringing in someone who has already played in the league is really important. He gets the travel, he gets the game, he gets what's good. Impact-wise, he's obviously been very key to us the last few games, so we're hoping it continues.”
On surprise at Robert Earnshaw's early impact
“Not really, but if you look at Robbie's goal scoring record, it's very good. He knows how to score goals; give him a service, he'll put it in net. Not surprised, but very happy. I think that's the key for me: anytime you sign anybody, you just really hope it works out. Many coaches have sat and tried to explain why a player has not done well, and it's not easy. Our league is very difficult, and moving clubs is never easy, but if you look at Robbie's impact already, two goals in two games is amazing, and off the bench too. He might not like this, but maybe it's his role, so we'll see. Very happy for him, he's a great kid, and he works hard, and he's clued into what we want to do, so very good.”
On who gets the start up front
“We'll see. Goal production is everything. I think Quincy Amarikwa did well tonight, I think he battled. Quincy is one of those guys that you think you're going to maybe not miss him when he's not playing, but when he isn’t playing, he's missed. My big thing is, he worked hard, he runs the line well, he occupies people. Late in games, I like when Quincy is still battling away, and somebody underneath is dangerous. Sanna Nyassi did a nice job of softening the team up. He's not 90 minutes yet, but I think he did a nice job of occupying Dallas' defense. And then, Robbie off the bench was amazing. Right now, it's working; you'd have to ask him, but hopefully he doesn't mind coming off the bench. But right now, he's not match fit, but we'll see.”
On the overall performance of the team
“The coaching staff, we were talking before the game, we felt we had a punch off the bench, finally, and a real danger. So if we feel that the game is slipping away from us, I felt the last few games that Mr. Earnshaw would come on and make a difference, and he has. Maybe it's what the team's been missing a little bit. I think if we had him from the start of the season, I'd like to think of how many points we'd have; I think we'd have more. It is what it is. We've battled away, and we're still in the picture. That's what I like about our group; not just Robbie, but I'd like to commend all the players that played tonight. I said to Sean Johnson after the game, his save in the first half keeps us in the game. He's a big part of what we're doing. He's been great this season. Back four was great, with Baky, Jeff, Gonzo, and Lovel against a really potent offense. I think that you have to tip your hat to those guys; they gave them a couple of chances, but not really ones that I thought that they looked like scoring, other than the one that Sean saved. Even this game, against a good side, and we come out on top. I think we deserved a tie, to be honest.”
On FC Dallas' performance against the Fire
“You ask any coach, they'll say you play against the opposition. Whether we did a great job against them, or they didn't play very well tonight, it is what it is. I wouldn't think they were on the top of their game, but I think we were pretty much on the top of our game. I think that we nullified their threats, other than a couple of opportunities. If you look, all in all, we had the better of the game. We had the better chances, against probably the hottest team in the league, so I think that's a great sign. I feel really proud of the way that my players and the team has stuck with it; to come out and play like that, against a very difficult team to play against, play very well, and do what they did tonight. I'm very happy.”
On the decision to start Razvan Cocis and Matt Watson in center midfield
“I think Razvan and Matty Watson have a nice partnership in the middle. Now, are they creative dribbling, creating a bunch of chances, setting up midfielders? No, they're not. Are they hard-working, 90-minute guys that give everything they have? Yes, they are. We have enough creative; we were going to create enough chances with the guys wide. I think, in the middle, we were struggling at the start of the season. I want to nullify, and make sure that they're solid. I think that Razvan and Matt have struck a great partnership. I think that they work very well together. If you look at Razvan and Matty's work over the ninety minutes, they're all over the field. I think that that was one of the reasons that we won tonight. They didn't quit, they kept going, worked hard, and they want to work with the team. I'm very happy with both of those guys tonight.”
On mindset heading into a game with New England
“It's about consistency in our league. After we played New York, we got beat on the next Wednesday night 6-0 against Seattle, which was a big shock to everybody, but they were a pretty good team. I don't take too much from that. It's a one-off result. At Toronto, we tied 2-2, we won tonight, so we're in a bit of a high. That's how we look at it. We've not lost in two, we've only lost six games in the season; we have a chance to make the playoffs. We need to win probably another six games out of nine that we have left; five might do it. It's not like we have to win six games out of five games left, which give us no chance; we have a chance. With all the stuff we've gone through this season, I'm really happy with what we've done. I said right from the start, it's going to be a challenge with the cap situation and different things that go into that, and I think that I've never shied away from that. The players are giving everything they've got; we need more quality, I understand that, but I'm never going to throw these players under the bus by saying they're not good enough, because I've been with many teams that tried hard and they've won stuff. We still have a chance, and I'm excited about that. Tough game next weekend; it's in New England, we've already gone there and won, so they're not looking forward to that, probably. We've got Jermaine [Jones] coming up, which is maybe another story for you guys to write, but it's just another game for us, and I think we're excited to go there and get a result.”
Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson
On the team’s defensive performance:
“I think the team’s defensive performance was excellent. Tonight we limited their chances, chances that were dangerous in or around the 18 - we cut out and blocked. That’s the effort we needed to push for the playoffs. You can see that everyone was committed tonight, we knew we had to get a win. The other results around the league were not in our favor, so we had to go out there and take care of business and we were able to do that tonight.”
On what the team needs to do going forward:
“We’re going to win games by outscoring teams. You don’t win games by tying 0-0, it’s going to get down to the point where we’re going to need to win games. Defensively, yes, we’ll have to be solid but we also have to be solid going forward. Tonight we showed that we can be patient on both ends of the ball. Defensively we know if we can keep it tight, the offense will take care of business.”
Chicago Fire forward Robert Earnshaw
On how he’s feeling about his play with the team the last two weeks:
“I’m confident. I’ve got to pay tribute to the team. It feels good, obviously, I’ve come on that last two weeks and scored, but the team has done a lot of hard work just to get to this point where it allows me to get in front and score a goal. The last two weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that there’s a real team work ethic. That’s why we’ve gotten points the last two weeks.”
On how he got in position to score:
“I’m 5’6”, so my advantage is that I have to use my brain. I’ve got to use my timing and see what’s around me and be aware of the space. If I can get the space I can get the headers, and that’s the key. For me it’s just about my movement. If I can get my movement right and the ball comes in on time, I’ve gotten two headers in two weeks.”
On coming in off the bench:
“Well, I don’t like it. To be honest, the last two weeks, since I’ve come it’s just been about match fitness – getting some minutes and getting some training time. After today, I thought maybe two games maybe coming off the bench is going to set me up right. I feel now that I’ll be ready to start. I’m not 100%, I might need a start or two to really be firing.”
- With his goal in the 83rd minute, striker Robert Earnshaw tallied his second goal in his second consecutive appearance for the Men in Red.
- Keeper Sean Johnson recorded two saves in his fifth shutout of the season and 26th of his career.
- The victory put an end to FC Dallas’ ten-game unbeaten streak.
- Today was defender Lovel Palmer’s 30th birthday.
Chicago Fire 1 - 0 FC Dallas
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares; Grant Ward (Harry Shipp 63’), Razvan Cocis, Matt Watson, Alex, Sanna Nyassi (Robert Earnshaw 63’); Quincy Amarikwa (Matt Fondy 93’)
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Patrick Ianni, Logan Pause, Chris Ritter
FC Dallas: Raul Fernandez; Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Zach Loyd, Je-Vaughn Watson; Victor Ulloa, Fabian Castillo, Ryan Hollinghead (Peter Luccin 66’), Andres Escobar, Kellyn Acosta; Tesho Akindele
Substitutes not used: Brian Span, Danny Garcia, Walter Cabrera, Richard Sanchez
CHI – Robert Earnshaw (Jeff Larentowicz) 83’
CHI – Grant Ward (caution) 10’
CHI – Bakary Soumare (caution) 52’
CHI – Matt Watson (caution) 95’
Referee: Marcos de Oliveira
Assistants: Kermit Quisenberry, Gregory Barkey
Fourth Official: Alan Kelly