Quincy's Amarikwa's 15th minute goal held up to give the Fire a 1-0 win over Premier League side Queens Park Rangers this morning. The goal was set up via a combination play with Shaun Maloney and Harry Shipp. Those three players led the attack in Frank Yallop's 4-3-3 with the middle three also looking a little bit different than they did last week against Norwich City. Matt Watson and trialists Alou Diarra and Frank Songo'o got the starts in midfield. Yallop wanted to get a look at what he called "two quality players" on trial in combination with most of the first team regulars.
Diarra is an intriguing option given his credentials but it doesn't sound like his future with the club has been determined just yet. "He did a nice job in the middle of the field," said Yallop of Diarra's outing. "He's obviously a very experienced player. It's an opportunity to get a look at him close up. He's played at all levels and has played for his country many times." Yallop commended Diarra during his weekly conference call with local media citing his willingness to come in and train without being "worried about his stature". "He wants to come in and meet the guys and train and play," he said. "I thought he did a nice job today. He plays in a position that he's a bit of an expert at as a holding midfielder where he breaks plays up and moves the ball quick. He's a good size. He played well and it was only forty-five minutes and you can't judge a guy on that. We'll see how the next phase of decision on him goes. I've got to talk to him and see where his head's at and see where we're looking and make a calculated decision on him."
Two more new players featured in this match. Cardiff City center back Danny Gabbidon started the match next to Jeff Larentowicz but the 35 year old veteran was just in for a look. "I've known Danny and been in contact with him for a long time. He's a nice kid. He's toward the end of his career but he's very fit and very experienced. I thought it would be nice to get a look at him here and see how he gets on. It's just an option for having him back. He's still under contract but Cardiff allowed him to come down and train," said Yallop. Gabbidon is currently a player/coach at Cardiff City.
The other guest player was defender/midfielder Albert Edward who was drafted by Colorado in 2014. He is currently with the Wilmington Hammerheads in USL. "It's just about broadening the squad and trying to get the right fits that are going to help us in couple of positions and in how we want to play," said Yallop of bringing in additional players to compete in camp.
Maloney/Accam work through paper issues
Yallop said David Accam will probably join the team in Portland as he continues to sort through completion of his visa paperwork. Maloney is also in the process of completing the required documentation needed in order to officially play in the US. He will not travel with the team back to Chicago tomorrow but is expected to re-join his teammates some time next week. "Shaun, we got late in January so this was going to happen. David had the African Nations Cup, so we knew that was sort of looming. We couldn't get it done before those two things happened. It's just normal stuff. We'll have everybody in by Portland. We'll have three good games there and maybe another practice game where we can get fine tuned for our first game," said Yallop.
Maloney has been the consummate professional during his first few weeks as a member of the club and his drive and experience should help set an example as a leader. "He's a great pro. He doesn't say anything negative. He just wants to work well for himself and the club. Whatever we ask him to do, he just does it immediately," he said. Juggling visa issues and personal affairs before departing for the US hasn't slowed down his desire to participate fully in training either. "I'm the one who's got to pull him out if he's been tired and running around. I've got to tell him, listen you can't train today because you just traveled in for three hours in a car. He's been first class with us. He's a joy to work with."
Yallop said the first phase of camp focused mainly on fitness and "getting up to soccer speed" but he was happy with the progress shown so far. The next phase will hone down the system and the philosophy of play. "You probably heard me say the same thing last year but I feel pretty comfortable that we're making teams earn their chances, which is important right now."
- First half line up: Johnson; Palmer, Larentowicz, Gehrig, Jones; Watson, Diarra, Songo'o; Amarikwa, Maloney, Shipp
- Second half line up: Johnson; Bryce, Polster, Gabbidon, Cochrane; Edward, Ritter, Cocis, Stephens; Alex, do Prado
- Kennedy Igboananike and Adailton did not play due to slight injuries picked up during training. Igboananike is expected to resume full training in 2-3 days and neither injury is serious. Yallop called their status "precautionary".
- Draft pick Kinglsey Bryce played mainly as an attacker during his college career but Yallop has played him at right back in the first two games of camp. His versatility may get him a longer look. "I looked at him and I thought he looks like a right back to me," said Yallop. "I played him there in the Norwich game and he did a good job. (He's) very athletic, very quick and made it difficult for them to hold him as an attacking right back. He's more of a right sided midfielder anyway. I'm going to move him around a little bit because we've got some options ahead of him in those attacking positions."
- QPR played a combination of their U21 squad and senior players with Brazilian midfielder Sandro seeing action while regaining fitness.
- The match was always scheduled as a closed scrimmage as agreed to by the technical staffs of both clubs. QPR apparently wanted to use this match to get a look at a trialist or two which is why the full squad list isn't readily available. The host PR staff mistakenly posted a notice online yesterday referring to public access but it was corrected after checking with the technical staffs. The Fire did have some corporate partners and one season ticket holder who made the trip in attendance so access for fans would not have been denied if they tried to venture a look.
- All three matches in Portland are expected to be made available via live stream.