Fire Homegrown Harry Shipp brushes off Rookie of the Year talk after 1-1 draw with Toronto

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire Homegrown midfielder Harry Shipp continued to add to his impressive rookie account, scoring his sixth goal of the season in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw vs. Toronto FC.

Already leading the team this year with four assists, the strike pushed Shipp past Quincy Amarikwa for the team lead in goals and looked to spark the Fire for a comeback that unfortunately didn’t occur as second half chances went begging.

“[The result is] really frustrating. It feels like a loss,” Shipp told reporters post-game.

The Fire looked to have a good opportunity for a result when TFC forward Luke Moore was sent off in the first half for an elbow to the face of midfielder Chris Ritter. Instead, Toronto found the first goal as Jermain Defoe picked out Jackson with a pinpoint cross in the 42nd minute.   

“I think we all need to figure out what we need to do better to not fall behind,” Shipp continued. “I think that was the key. Right when we started to get in the game, up a man, we gave up the goal which kind of killed us going into halftime.”

Despite not earning the favored result, Shipp’s play has stuck out in MLS circles this year, with the Lake Forest, Ill. holding a strong grasp on “Rookie of the Year frontrunner” ever since his hat trick performance on May 10 at New York.

“Harry’s starting to blossom into a good player,” head coach Frank Yallop said post-game. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he knows he’s a good player. He’s maturing nicely and I think it’s no surprise that he does well. He’s in a lot of the good stuff we do going forward.

“It was a good goal again. He has six goals already, a great tally for any player, let alone a rookie coming in.”

 Shipp’s half dozen goals in just 14 matches have him on pace to break the MLS rookie goal scoring record of 11, set by Fire forward Damani Ralph in 2003.

Asked post-game if Rookie of the Year talk is on his mind, the 22-year-old  attacker answered with the negative.

“I think when you’re on a team like this that has two wins all year you’re focusing everyday on trying to get a win and how can you get better. I’d rather not score a goal all year and be on a winning team than score however many and be on a losing team. That’s not really on my mind.”

“We billed [this] as a game to turn our season around and get us a win which hopefully gives us momentum going into the second half of the year and it didn’t happen so you have to look towards Kansas City on Sunday.”

MLS Rookie Goal Scoring Leaders
Year Player (Team) GP/Goals
2003 Damani Ralph (CHI) 25/11
2003 Pat Noonan (NE) 28/10
2013 Deshorn Brown (COL) 31/10
2005 Scott Sealy (KC) 28/9
2014 Harry Shipp (CHI) 14/6