Frank Yallop provided an update on team matters via conference call with reporters this afternoon. The big news coming out of Fire training on the west coast is that Mike Magee is still in doubt for the match against Portland on Sunday. Magee has resumed training but Yallop will proceed cautiously with the 2013 MLS Most Valuable Player.
Here are the highlights:
- On Magee's status for Sunday : "Mike Magee is still nursing an injury at the moment. I put him on the bench on Sunday because of his experience. I was only going to use him for 10 or less minutes and he's probably 80%. It's probably my fault for doing that. I spoke to Mike about it and he felt pretty comfortable but we'll work him this week. He's not really done much until today. We'll see how he responds to the work he did today and see how he looks tomorrow and make a decision on that. For him to start I think will be tough but again we have to see how some of the other guys are looking. We have a few guys bumped and nicked up at the moment but I'm expecting most of the guys to be okay to go on Sunday. Obviously Mike is the big question mark and he hasn't really trained for three weeks either so there's a risk. I don't want to risk having him out for too long," said Yallop.
- More on Magee : "Mike just wants to help the team but I have to protect him. I'm going to make a good decision on whether he's ready to go for the weekend. I do not want to put any player, let alone Mike at risk of re-injuring and going backwards. I'm going to think about it long and hard the next couple of days and see how he's doing. We just want to get him back on the field but what we can't do is rush it. If he's not 100% we can't risk him getting re-injured or making it worse. I had him on the bench and he was okay at 80-90% if we needed a goal right then and he wasn't at risk."
- On recovering from the loss : "After a disappointing result against Chivas we've put that behind us and look forward to the next game. The hard part for me was getting back to 2-2 and then we give the game back to Chivas in the last minutes. We've worked on it, we've talked about it and we'll move forward. Hopefully we've learned from the mistakes we made in the Chivas game and we can correct them."
- On defensive failures : "We give away a penalty kick and a set play. It's not always just defenders but as a unit we didn't defend very well. We've gone through the video with the guys so they know where the problems were. It's a work in progress but it's never good giving up any goals let alone three. We've got to learn from it. As positive we did come back from 2-0 down to make it 2-2 but then we threw it away and we can't do that. I'm learning about the characters on the team and making sure that when I test them and put them out there that they're ready, willing, and able to do what I want and that wasn't acceptable to give that game back to them after coming back so well. It was a poor performance from us. It wasn't meant to be and weren't good enough to do that. It wasn't just the back four, it's everybody collectively defending too."
- On the difference between preseason and the Chivas match: "It's called playing for real now. For some reason we came out flat and I'm not going to make excuses but it's not from training and not anything we've done. I spoke to a lot of the players about it and they just couldn't get going. You have to be ready to play every game right from the first minute to the last minute."
- On the plan for this week in training: "All the things I liked in the team (in preseason) I didn't think we had on Sunday. Yesterday was a tough session and today was very hard. I've just got to keep pushing them and testing them. There can't be any faint hearts they're got to be strong characters and they've got to be tough."
- More on the loss: "We just couldn't do anything right on Sunday. I was sitting there kind of in a little bit of shock to be honest. Watching us play I couldn't work out why we were so bad. I looked at the tape and we've gone over a lot of stuff. I think just the occasion and the timing of everything we just kicked off poor. I'll give them that one and we just have to forget about last Sunday."
- On the last Chivas goal: "We missed the mark on it. It doesn't matter who it is because we had other opportunities where some guys were free. We work very hard to take care of people on set plays. It's unacceptable for me that late in the game that we allow a guy a free header from six yards out to win the game for them. We've addressed it. The individual knows. We've looked at the tape and we've talked to the players involved in that. They know who they are and they need to make sure it doesn't happen again."
- On possible line up changes: "I've got to use the players that I think can handle the situation. The young players we have are very calm and very focused. Age doesn't matter if you've got the ability, the desire, and you've got the know how. Whether you're 19, 20, or 32 you've got to earn your spot, you've got to keep it, and you've got to keep doing the things that got you there."
- On Joya and Amarikwa earning more time: "I thought the two guys were wonderful. Quincy and Benji made a difference for us and they're definitely right in line to get some more minutes or playing time or starting positions. Benji is a young player who has tons of enthusiasm and took his goal well. Maybe a little too enthusiastic in some of his challenges but I'd rather that than being meek and mild and being passive. I like his energy and he has a chance of playing on the weekend for sure. I'm looking at the starting unit and we'll work on that tomorrow. Don't be surprised if either Quincy of Benji get more minutes on the weekend if not starting."
- On Amarikwa's progress: "Quincy had a very, very good preseason. It's always been in my mind to get him on the field when we can. He's finishing chances. He's ripe and ready to go. I drafted him way back and now I think he's matured. He's learned the game and knows when to be aggressive and I won't use the word rattle but (knows when to) back the guys and be strong and he's running off the ball pretty well too. He's doesn't have many minutes but if he keeps going like he is he's going to see a lot of time and he's going to score goals."
- Grant Ward update: "We'd love to get him but with the foot injury we just have to work out how long he's going to be out so we can work out the details. We're sort of in a holding pattern right now. Hopefully it will get sorted out and Grant will get his health back in a quick recovery and he'll be back with us and signed. I think he had a minor operation on it. Once we know the full extent of his injury we can plan accordingly with our loan deal if it goes through."
- On the newest additions: Both Greg Cochrane and Matt Watson have joined the team for training and are ready for selection.
- Rolfe/Duka injured: Chris Rolfe is nursing a bruised foot. He had an operation on his foot in the offseason and he hasn't fully trained this week. Rolfe could be doubtful for this weekend. Duka has a high hamstring strain that will be monitored over the next few days.
- On the Portland Timbers: "There's no guy on that team scoring 20 goals. It's a collective, very good team with good movement and a difficult pitch to play on. They're going to be on the front foot and we've to remain strong and don't concede the silly goals we did against Chivas for sure. Let's see what happens on Sunday. We're going to a tough place in Portland and there can't be any passengers up there."