BRIDGEVIEW -- With a postseason appearance officially dashed after Sunday’s draw with Montreal, the Chicago Fire admittedly shift focus to playing for pride in the team’s last three matches.
While some opinion centers around the remaining matches offering the opportunity to players that haven’t seen as much time as they’d like this year, Fire head coach Frank Yallop indicated he’d pick his side on form.
“Whether we’ve not won enough games or not, I look at performances and efforts and what you do in the reserve team and how you do in practice,” he said. “All those things that come into it and how you perform in matches. You have to earn your right to play and that’s normal in any job.”
With the said, injuries, suspensions and national team call-ups will limit Yallop’s lineup selection for the match.
Gonzalo Segares will serve a one-game ban for yellow card accumulation and Benji Joya leaves Wednesday for U.S. U-23 camp in Brazil.
On the injury front, Robert Earnshaw is targeting a return for next Saturday’s match vs. D.C. while Yallop said midfielder Razvan Cocis would likely be done for the season after experiencing nerve damage in his cheekbone. Cocis suffered a facial fracture in the team’s match at Houston on September 28.
On a positive note, midfielder Alex’s health status is better than first thought after the Brazilian left Sunday’s match in the 17th minute with a foot injury. Following the game, Yallop said the injury “was a bad one” but the third-year Fire midfielder returned to the training field on Wednesday and should be available in some capacity Friday night.
Whoever plays Friday, Yallop made clear he expects his team to compete in its remaining games.
“There’ll be guys I’d like to get a look at but again I just said to the guys, we’re three games left, we’re out of the playoffs, you just can’t deflate. You have to play like it means something. It means everything to the fans, what we have here. Yourself, the coaching staff, the club, everything. We’ve got two really tough games coming up away and one more at home. I want us to end with a good showing.”