The Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw thanks to a late tying goal from trialist Shahdon Winchester leaving the team with a 1-0-4 preseason record. Draws in practice matches aren't a big concern and Frank Yallop is fairly happy with the team's progress going into the start of the season. "What I liked about the games we've had is we've got continually better in each one," said Yallop after the match. "The first half against Stabaek was not a great one but we got going. Other than that I've been very happy with everyone's performance. We really moved the ball well today I thought and we created some good chances. We want to get our guys...Quincy, Kennedy, Shaun and those guys off the mark with goals but they'll come. I thought we created enough chances to do more in the match."
Set piece and second ball defending was a major issue last year although the Fire didn't allow many goals last preseason. Yallop sees a difference in the two teams and isn't concerned that the last two opposition scores have come from dead ball situations. "If you look at the goal against Portland it was a full deflection off a shot. It's not like no one is picking up. It hit Alex in the shoulder and blooped right over Sean, who had made a move for the ball that was going into his arms. This one, and I have to look at it again , it looked offside. It's something we've got to work on obviously. We don't want to concede goals on set plays but defensively we've been good this year in preseason," he said. "I think last year we kind of got a false sense of where you're at. We did pretty well defensively but I don't think we were that strong. I think this year we've looked like a good team that's defending well as a unit."
Yallop used a combination of players in this match that included many of the probable starters for the opener in Los Angeles. David Accam and Adailton were missing due to injury so the Fire have yet to field a full first choice eleven for any extended period of time yet. It doesn't seem likely that Accam will play in Los Angeles given that he has been in Chicago for the last several days receiving treatment for a groin injury and has not commenced jogging or soccer activity. "I would be shocked if he makes the LA trip but you never know," said Yallop. Accam will be re-evaluated on Monday and Tuesday.
Adailton was diagnosed with a slight concussion after leaving the Portland game early and the Fire will proceed cautiously with him. "He got concussed with the bang he got in the game on Wednesday. We're just doing the protocol and making sure he's fine. He seems fine but obviously we've got to make sure that he's going to be good to go when it matters," said Yallop. "When the doctor clears him, he's got between a four and seven day window for when he can get back into full practice."
The MLS roster compliance deadline is Monday which means teams will need to adjust to meet the 2014 budget guidelines established by the league. Those parameters could change based on the outcome of the CBA negotiations which will continue this week but Yallop said the team is in good shape budget-wise and they will still be able to add if necessary. One of the players on the bubble for a roster spot is Winchester, who has played well in the last two outings. "I like him," said Yallop of the Trinidad and Tobago attacker who would take up the eighth and final international spot if he makes the senior roster. "We brought in for a reason. He's one those guys that come on trial and do well. For me it's just fitting him into the roster if we want to do that," he continued.
Yallop and the technical staff are still finalizing which players will be loaned to Saint Louis FC in USL. "It's still in discussions. We want to make sure we get some young guys some time but we haven't decided yet," he said.
Palmer, Larentowicz, Gehrig, Jones
Shipp (Bryce 82'), Ritter (Polster 72'), Maloney, Watson (Stephens 67')
Igboananike (Winchester 68'), Amarikwa