BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Through a combination of injury and suspensions, Frank Yallop was thin in the attacking reinforcements he could put on the bench in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake.
With Quincy Amarikwa suspended and Dilly Duka and Alex still not back to game fitness, the only two offensive weapons available had at his disposal were Homegrown midfielder Victor Pineda and forward Orr Barouch who was removed from the team’s Disabled List hours before kickoff.
Another week brings good news though ahead of Saturday’s clash vs. New York as Amarikwa returns from suspension and Duka seems set to return to the gameday 18 for the first time since going 33 minutes in on April 5 vs. Philadelphia.
Duka’s come close to being back a few times over the past month but a tweak here and there in recovery saw Yallop play it safe rather than lose the left winger for a longer period of time.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Duka told Chicago-Fire.com this week. “You can only watch your team play so much and be annoyed that you’re not there. I’m happy to be back, ready to help the team and ready to re-start my season.”
While Duka likely won’t be lining up for the start, the ability to bring him off the bench should give a boost whether the Fire need a goal or are looking to stretch the Red Bull back line.
Meanwhile up top, Fire DP forward Juan Luis Anangono filled in admirably for the suspended Amarikwa last Saturday vs. RSL, scoring his second goal of the season and nearly bagging a brace in the 3-2 defeat. Despite the Ecuadorian’s performance, Yallop confirmed team leading scorer Amarikwa would again partner with Mike Magee vs. Red Bull.
“Quincy deserves to come back into the lineup because he’s done very well,” Yallop told reporters Thursday. “I think Juan took his goal very well, I thought he played well other than the chance he missed, he probably wants that back.”
Having Anangono on the bench, “gives me options,” said Yallop.
The Fire head coach also said that Brazilian midfielder Alex still wasn’t ready to return while defender Bakary Soumare was dealing with a migraine issue that forced him out of training early on Thursday.