Yallop on Ward, Piermayr, and more

Frank Yallop's weekly tele-conference with reporters yielded some insight into the club's plans for trialists Grant Ward and Thomas Piermayr along with an update on a few other topics. Needless to say, the coach was very pleased with the performance of the young players so far including the most recent win over Colorado.

Here are the highlights:

  • Shipp and Joya impress : Yallop was asked if he was surprised that Harry Shipp and Benji Joya had found success so quickly. It seems he was expecting that they could step in and contribute now. "To be honest they're good players. I think it's about giving the young players the platform to perform and they've accepted that. They've been a big part of everything we're doing. It's been good for their confidence," said Yallop.
  • Starting XI : Yallop indicated that he's pretty close to settling on a starting eleven. "We'll see how the next few weeks play out. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do but there are a few spots open," he said. "We're going to see how the next three games go. We have a pretty good core of players who are going to be there against Chivas and I know who they are but there are a couple of spots up for grabs". He remained coy about which spots he was referring to.
  • Retaining Ward : The Fire are looking to keep Grant Ward via a possible loan or maybe permanently but no deal has been finalized yet. "Any player we sign, I'm thinking long term. He's had a wonderful two weeks and we'd love to attempt to be able to keep him but it's going to be up to Tottenham. We have a great relationship with them and I feel that we can get that done but until it does you never know," he said cautiously. "We'll go back and negotiate and talk but Grant's very committed to coming back if it works out. He's done well enough to earn that spot. I'm hoping that it works out and he's available for us".  Yallop is hoping to get a deal done now rather than later.
  • Team Captain? : Although Jeff Larentowicz and Logan Pause wore the armband last season, Yallop hasn't settled yet on a captain for 2014. "I haven't decided yet, we're still early into it and I want to make sure the right choice is made. Jeff's played very well in pre-season and Logan's obviously a guy that we respect".  Yallop said he would figure that out "when the time comes" and before the season starts.
  • Magee missing time : Mike Magee has been away with the National Team and has missed training time due to various commitments but Yallop isn't concerned that he will have any difficulty meshing back in with the first team when he rejoins the club. "Magee is still sharp after time with the National Team and some training in Bradenton" he said. He wants to make sure that Magee is healthy and ready to go on opening day.
  • Piermayr gets a longer look : Austrian defender Thomas Piermayr got a start on Wednesday and will continue to get a shot at making the roster. "Thomas played well. The positions he can play are right back, left back, and center midfield. He's a good player and had a nice solid game yesterday. The next ten days or so will really determine if we sign Thomas or not," said Yallop.

Filed under: 2014 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Ok, with Vegara no longer owning Chivas what would be the ranking of the least ambitious MLS ownership groups?

    Am I just too jaded to think the Fire now has the number one slot?

    Ambition is measured by player investment, winning attitude, positive engagement with fans/ creative marketing, search for better stadium/gameday experience for fans.

    Objectively, would the Fire and New England top the list?

  • While debatable, I think the long awaited ownership response in the form of the housecleaning and actions taken since the end of last season to the criticism for lack of ambition has earned them a pass, for now, from further finger pointing. I'm excited about the start of this season, though cautious. But excited for the first time in several years.

    There is cause for optimism but we have yet to see the litmus test results of real competition. I think it's fair to say, much like last year, we won't really know the results of the efforts made until about 10 games into the season. But I'm optimistic. I won't comment against ownership at this time because real efforts have been made and the results remain to be gaged. But keep me on your mailing list in case this goes bad.

    But I'm giving points for trying just now.

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Ok, but, seriously, what are the "actions" that they have taken? Other than cleaning house (which, I admit, is a big step) and have a nice draft, what have they done to improve quality of play?

    I am especially worried because you can look to Toronto, DC, and Philly who have all made measurable improvements on the player personnel front.

    I'm not trying to rag on ownership, and I am probably not well informed, but when you look at the team in comparison to our immediate competition I don't see us keeping up.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    On the flip side TFC still has issues to address in back and they probably won't hit their stride until some time in the second half of the season. DC will be better only because they can't possibly be any worse. They've revamped their entire team and there's no certainty that they're a playoff team. Philadelphia is better but they're no shoe in either. I see the Fire keeping up with those three in the playoff chase considering how they played in the second half last year.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    remember how we finished the 2nd half of 2012 and we all thought that was going t carry over to the start of 2013? form going from season to season doesn't mean much in my book.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    It did carry over. They actually started 2012 very well and fell apart the last month. Not signing a real forward and losing Friedrich were the issues to start 2013. Remember the whole Grazzini thing?

    Their finish last year is relevant.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I meant going from 2012 to 2013 not 2011 to 2012.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    The last month of 2012 was terrible though.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    You're right. It certainly guarantees little. But my feeling is that under the past management there was too much reliance on the carryover and I don't see any semblance of that this season. There's a completely different approach afoot. We've seen almost nothing of the (presumed) starters with the whole emphasis up to this point being on a full investigation of the other talent available.

    Yallop displays a much greater sense of plan and intent than Klopas. I expect we will see the remainder of preseason used to resolve the final assembly of the team that will take the pitch this year.

    I liked Frank Klopas and he brought some good things to the Fire. But Frank Yallop is showing us how a good coach runs a team. I normally would be out to the ice arena this afternoon working out in my hockey skates from 2 to 3 :30. But I've decided I can find someplace to skate tonight and will stay home this afternoon to watch this game. I think it may be very interesting.

  • American Soccer Now has a great, very positive article on Benji Joya. Their comments seem to indicate that Benji might be in the starting line-up sooner rather than later. Hope that's true. I would love to see a real youth movement for the Fire. I would personally prefer to build for the future rather than continue to roll out retreads just to save the current coach's job. I liked FK but think that he was in "survivial" mode for the past year. I hope that FY has the contractual guarantees to allow him the luxury of "building".

  • I think that the style of play from the young players so far has been the most fun to watch in these pre-season games. I have not seen enough of the first team to know whether that style will carry through to first team as well. The ball moves fluidly from back to middle to box. Last year, the team stood still and almost everyone seemed surprised to receive a pass. The play so far shows that they already know each other's movement and can pass to space knowing who will be there. If Benji does not see considerable playing time this year I will be very surprised. Chris Rolfe will not be a starter and neither will Patrick by the end of April. Harry Ship will see playing time but my concern with him is that he is not fast enough and is not strong enough to play against first team defensive mids. I agree that they have not brought in stars and known commodities, but I think we will see some huge improvements over last year's performances.

  • It appears that Frank the 2nd. is currently in a rebuilding mode and looking forward to the future, seeking younger talented players rather than going for older re-treads. Frank the 1st. always appeared to go for stop gap measures that in the end didn't always work out.
    I feel that things under Yallop appear to be more open and he has a measure of control over player decisions than did Frank the 1st.
    Grant Ward would be a huge pick up, particularly given his age.
    I would expect that Ward, Joya, and Shipp will work themselves into a starting lineup somtime over the season.
    I'm not particularly concerned what D.C. or Toronto do, soccer is still a team sport that takes 11 players, look at Red Bull with all their
    talent haven't been all that great, or look at our sister club in Madrid
    seemingly capable of keeping up with Barca or Real despite having a drastically smaller budget.
    So far I'm pleased with the current direction of the club, and it makes sense to see what we have on the field before making a sizable financial commitment for one or two players. This club is still a competitive team, maybe not being in the top four, but still in the hunt.

  • I am always amazed by how little respect Nyarko gets from Fire Fans. In one forum 25% thought he should not be a starter or should be traded. Nyarko is one of the very best wide men in MLS and I hope Yallop rates him higher than a sizable percentage of Fire fans seem to do.
    Watched the game today. JLA doesn't look like a striker and will not be providing the goals we need from our Number 9. I hope to be proven wrong.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Completely agree with you on Nyarko.

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