Fire news and notes - Accam returns to training, Perez update

Fire news and notes - Accam returns to training, Perez update
Chicago Fire defender Matt Polster (2) plays the ball against Vancouver FC forward Kekuta Manneh (23) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL on Saturday, March 14, 2015 (Sean King for Chicago Fire Confidential)

Both Sean Johnson and David Accam participated in full training yesterday morning. Frank Yallop told reporters in his weekly conference call that he won't rush Accam back and will continue to monitor his progress in practice this week before deciding on his status for the upcoming San Jose game. Joevin Jones started in left midfield against the Whitecaps and played well enough to possibly get other looks when Accam isn't available. "I liked him there," Yallop said of Jones. "He's kind of playing in a spot that if David ended up starting, I'm looking at David playing that wide left spot for us. I think JJ had a good game. I think he's very versatile and very clean on the ball and very comfortable and I think he did a nice job there. He hadn't played there for a while but I told him he could handle it and he felt comfortable. To be fair, in the game he didn't have a ton of chances but could have scored a goal with the one chance he had. It would have been nice to cap it off with that in what I thought was a pretty good display at wide left. We'll see how David gets through the week first. I do not want to risk him just to get him a game and get him re-injured."

Yallop will have some decisions to make when Accam and Shaun Maloney eventually receive call-ups in the near future. The time missed for National Team duty may impact the line-up once everyone is available but the Fire will need to make due. "I've had him (Accam) a total of probably seventy minutes on the field in training sessions and sixty minutes in a match. To expect a lot from him right now would be asking (alot of) things. I think the traits he has are great but it's going to take a lot for him to get his game sharp and get our guys used to him a little bit. It's just good to have two more players back healthy. We've got a couple to go but it starts to build some continuity with the team. We've got to figure out, if David does go away with the National Team, we're going to be missing him and Shaun Maloney for a game here so it will be a little disjointed," said Yallop.

Polster's first start

Rookie Matt Polster got the nod as the holding midfielder in Saturday's 4-1-4-1 alignment and overcame some apparent early jitters to settle down and play well enough to stay in the game day rotation. "I thought Matt did well. After getting a yellow card in the first thirty seconds of the game, it felt like, I felt sorry for the kid," said Yallop. "He's enthusiastic and I don't think any of his fouls were bad. The referee should realize that you should just say "settle down, I understand you're excited". We're hoping that the officials know this kid is making his home debut and he's going to be enthusiastic. He handled himself after getting an early yellow and played well. The reason I took him out was because of his yellow card because the referee kept signaling if he does one more bad foul, or one foul, he's going to give him a second yellow and send him off. It kind of changed things for me because I wanted to leave Matt on and I thought he was doing great."

Line up changes

Yallop has yet to find the right balance of players and formation but the Vancouver match was an improvement over the performance in Los Angeles although the result was the same. Yallop noted the improvement but also cited the need to continue along that path. "We've changed it twice (line-up/formation) in the two games we've had," he said. "I thought possession-wise we started dictating the pace of the game on Saturday. We kind of did that without being overly dangerous at times but our general possession was okay. I just watched the game again, 60-40 is always a good stat but there were chances in both boxes. They had obviously a lot of chances and we had not as many, but a few that we could have scored on. That part we have to work on, not giving up as many chances in our box and obviously being more productive in their box."

"I think in the first game we didn't have many chances. We weren't very good from start to finish in that match. I felt in this one (Vancouver) we created enough chances to get on the score sheet but again it's the players that have got to really calm down in those situation and try to finish off the plays. If you look at the chances we had, on a wider angle position we'd given the goalkeeper a chance to make the saves. I think that one I felt was a pretty good chance was Mikey (Stephens) cutting in on his left foot to strike it. I think Jeff had a good volley and both Harry (Shipp) and JJ (Joevin Jones) had good chances. I thought our free kick (that) we worked for Shaun to get a shot off worked and that was going on target until it was blocked near the line. Another day they squirt in. I felt we should have had a penalty kick looking at the tape again but it's about us taking our chances when they come along. Slowly but surely we'll get better chances in better spots and finish them."

"It may take a while but I think we quality we have will shine through in the end. I'm really looking forward to getting Mike Magee and Patrick Nyarko back in the fold as well. I just think that once you add all of our quality players, we've got a good chance of doing well."

Victor Perez update

The Fire have agreed to terms with Valladolid and midfielder Victor Perez on a loan transaction but await final approval from the league to add him to the roster. "Right now, it's kind of stuck in paperwork. We have interest in him for sure and we're trying to get him in. It's just not quite finalized yet. I can't really give you a complete answer right now because it could be no. We could get a call and it's a "no". Brian Bliss is working on it hourly. We're just trying to get that figured out," said Yallop.

Perez would give the Fire an upgrade in central midfield that would theoretically improve the link between the back line and the attackers. The 4-3-3 formation that was discussed early in preseason has been apparently shelved but this addition may allow that plan to finally take place. "It's just gives us another option in there. I've done two different formations so far and I feel with the versatility of the team I can do that. I like the fluidity of the team moving around and making it lopsided once in a while for the opposition to try and handle our guys. We'll see. I like the look of Perez and if he fits in we can go back to 4-3-3 or whatever I want to do. It just gives me more options in those spots."

Toyota Park's turf

Tarps protecting the pitch from the elements were removed last Monday and the team practiced for the first time this year on the home field last Thursday. The Village of Bridgeview replaced the entire playing field during the offseason and although the color was a little brown the condition of the turf itself wasn't in bad shape, all things considered. "To be honest, I thought the turf for what it's been through for three months to be under cover and covered in snow, I thought it looked terrific," said Yallop. "I was worried. It played a little bit slow at times but again, I think the turf held up great. It didn't cut up. Both teams got used to it in the end. Is it ideal right now? Of course not, but we're talking March in Chicago."

"It's going to be a good field. I can tell by the turf, the ways it's knitted and stayed together, once it gets green and growing and rolled it's going to be a great surface. We're just trying to play a brand of soccer that's more pleasing on the eye  and it's going to take a little bit of time but I want to make sure we've got the right blueprint to do that. We need a good surface and I thank the Stadium to get that done with a brand new field. It didn't look great but it will be okay in the end for sure."

Problems with the playing surface were evident from day one last season but Yallop credited Bridgeview's new stadium staff for addressing the issue early this season. "Last year we had obvious issues with the pitch and with the training field. What's good about it is that they've addressed it and they've hired somebody to make sure that it doesn't happen again, the Village of Bridgeview and the Stadium people here. That's very good. We're excited about that," he said.

San Jose game

The Fire will be serving as the opposition for yet another stadium premiere party this season as the Earthquakes will officially open their new home on Sunday. Yallop was in San Jose for the groundbreaking ceremonies at Avaya Stadium and is cautious of the pomp and excitement created by opening parties. "(We can't) get away from playing our game. If we can continue what we did and grow on what we did on Saturday and just be a little more clinical in the final third, and obviously defend better in ours, and move the ball like we did, we have a chance of winning the game. We can't freeze on the occasion, that's for sure," he said.

"San Jose, I know pretty well with Dominic (Kinnear) usually in a 4-4-1-1 type setup. We've got to make sure that we're ready for that."

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Great write up. Your coverage is always top notch, thanks for all that you do to keep us informed.

    Yallop obviously liked Polster's play, but what did you think. He was sloppy with the ball in the pieces of the game I saw but that could have been nerves.

    Also not sure what to make of it but over the last 2 games, they could have easily scored some of chances they have created. Good saves, Block, etc. Are they unlucky or lacking the skill to finish or a combination.

    I will say that on Stephens air ball left footed shot, when harry took the ball back wide, all Igboananike had to do was slash towards the near post and probably would have had a chance to direct the cross on net, but he just stayed put and the ball trickled to Stephens. Its an issue I have noticed the last few seasons, off the ball movements in the final third seem to be lacking intelligence. Magee is the only attacker I see making smart runs from time to time.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Thanks kchance!

    I thought Polster had a bit of a rough start but he got better as he settled down. He had a couple of nice stops defensively. I'd like to see him get another look.

    Off the ball movement has been an area that needs improvement for a while (even before Yallop). I think you'll see it get better as Maloney, Shipp, Magee, et al get more familiar and figure out where runs are going.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Maloney and Shipp both have great vision. They need people (not just one person) making runs into the box forcing the CBs to choose who to cover. For most of the game we had guys standing outside the 18 watching. Polster, I thought, played very intelligently. He has the skills and is a smart player. You could see him improving as the game went on. As he tired, his tackles were a little late. Yallop took him out just in time. I would rather see these young guys play together over the course of the year than see a Cocis or Big Red in the middle.

  • If we end up getting Victor Perez this probably means Polster will be on the bench right? Unless they go with the 4-2-3-1, with Perez and Polster paired together, but I dont know if I see that happening

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    Yeah, I'd think that Yallop will stick with the 4-1-4-1 for the time being, something like:
    ----------------igbo
    Accam-Shipp-Maloney-Stevens
    ---------------Perez
    Jones--Adailton-Larent-Palmer

    But I could see dropping Stevens and starting Polster and moving Shipp/Maloney to the right as well. Also Igbo is a placeholder for Igbo/Quincy/Magee/whoever.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    In a 4-3-3 I really wouldnt mind seeing this at home games.

    ----------Quincey
    Accam------------Igboananike
    -------Shipp--Maloney---------
    -----------Perez------------------
    JJ---Adailton--Red--Palmer

  • In reply to KChance:

    Not sure about Igbo as a wide forward. We haven't seen Accam yet but he's been billed as just that. I'd think that 433 would look more like a 4132 with Quincy and Igbo operating in the same areas.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I was under the assumption in Sweden, Igboananike played a lot out wide right. Even though Frank said that he saw him more as a out and out striker. My issue with the team is that while Nyarko is out, they don't have anyone that can play on the right flank, besides maybe Igboananike and Palmer(needed for RB obv). When Accam is healthy he will hopefully solve issues with the left flank. We have more center strikers (Magee when healthy, Quincy, Prado) then right wing/mids. So I would have no issues with giving Igbo a run out. Just my 2 cents to maybe help the style of play until Patty is back.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Also I with the midfield, at home games where you want to dictate the pace and attack I wouldn't mind seeing an inverted triangle if Perez is in fact competent as a destroyer.

    With Shipp and Maloney able to flip flop they would have the creativity to get the ball through to either wing streaking or build up play with quincy holding the ball up in the center.

    I guess at this point we are all playing manager a bit since the play as been lack luster. I do think there is talent on the team, I just would love to see it come to fruition.

  • FYI....Scotland has upcoming match on 3/25 v Northern Ireland and a Euro qualifier v Gibraltar on 3/29. Expect Shaun Maloney will miss the home game against the Union on 3/29.

    Ghana plays Senegal in a friendly on 3/28. Accam would be a candidate for the 3/28 game.

  • Do we get any special compensation from the league for being the official whipping boys? Like the clown you hire so the kids at your son's birthday party will have someone to kick in the crotch, if you have a new stadium and want a happy crowd, we can guarantee at least a two goal win or your money back!

  • They set the record for ties in a season last year, what will they set this year? Most games before they score their first goal? Most goals conceded vs goals scored?

    I understand there are a lot of new players, but when you watch the expansion teams, you do not hear the commentators talk about the teams taking time to gel. They both look better prepared and more cohesive at this point, and they are entirely new.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    It took until the fourth game in 2013.

    These bad starts to the season are getting old.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    The "new players need to gel" argument is B.S. It didn't take long for Mix and David Villa to figure it out in NY. Somehow Jason Kreis and Co figured it out.

    Now you have the two expansion teams undefeated and the Fire haven't even scored a goal.

  • If yallop is still the coach in july, it will be because the players started to coach themselves.

  • I think that Yallop appears somewhat clueless, particularly in choosing what players to start. However, its not quite the time to write him off completely. Probably the Fire had the highest turnover of any other team and the final roster still isn't known. The Fire, due to late signings and injuries still haven't enough time to work together as a unit.
    Still its frustrating to see the same errors and lack of quality in finishing game after game, season after season. The loss to L.A. should not be surprising but there was a modest increase in effort
    in the last game. At full strength, the current roster, even without Magee and Nyarko, should be competitive in the middle of the pack. Let's see how well the team is doing four or five games from now. If they are still floundering without any results, then off with his head.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    New York didn't even exist last year and they already have 4 points. The "turnover" argument doesn't fly.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    I'll reply here to both your recent posts:

    Yeah, the expansion teams had good results, but they aren't great teams. NYCFC is particular is JUST Mix and Villa and a bunch of MLS journeymen. That's enough to win games (and better than the Fire have right now), but I think results are skewed for those teams a bit. Both had bit of luck and there's the fact that they played each other to a draw. (I.E. Revs were the better team before the iffy red to Goncalves and Houston's own goal for OCFC was EPIC).

    That said, they certainly aren't worse than the Fire and have played together as units better, but Kries is easily a top 3 coach in MLS (very unlike Yallop) and OCFC isn't an entirely new team. I would be surprised to see either near the top of the East in a few weeks, or even in the playoffs by the end of the season. Just like the Fire.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    Both of those teams had more time to play together as a unit so your argument doesn't have wings.
    I'm not saying that Yallop is a good coach, but the team needs more time together to write them off or Yallop. 5 or 6 games from now will offer a more accurate picture of both Yallop's future and the teams.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    Yallop is not a good manager. He hasnt done anything since his first stint in San Jose. That was a long time ago. I knew people were going to want to give him all this time for the players to be familiar with each other. That is not good enough. These are all his players and they are not good enough. In this league right now, you go as far as your DP's can take you. Our DP's seem like glorified role players. We dont know what Accam can do because we havent seen him play. I havent seen anything that makes Iggy different than Quincy. We havent seen anything from Maloney and so far Shipp has been playing better than him. These DP's will not win us the league, especially with this guy as the coach. Once we are knocked out of playoff contention in June, he needs to be shown the door.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Igbo IS different than Quincy: they play in a different style.

    Igbo has not been better than Quincy though.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    You're assuming that the DPs have been brought in and the team has been constructed with the goal of winning the league.

    That may be what the fans want, but I'm not sure it's the goal of ownership.

    Personally, I think the on-field goal of ownership is to right the ship slightly with these additions - keeping up with the Joneses of MLS, barely - and get into the playoffs. The off-field goal - the REAL goal - is to generate enough excitement to capitalize on the new marketing efforts, thereby increasing revenue.

    I think that if we get to the playoffs, FY's job is safe for this year. (To be clear, I want the Fire to win friggin' everything, and I won't be happy with just making the playoffs, but I don't expect anything more at this point.)

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I'm sure they will see that as a successful season if they do make the playoffs. FY has said repeatedly that making the playoffs is the goal, so you're probably right, Modibo.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    This team is nowhere near good enough. Not even for the playoffs. Yallop doesnt know what he is doing. His substitutions are confusing and desperate. I understand the people that want to give him time because there are new players and bla bla bla. I am not one of those people. I want him out as soon as possible. Making the playoffs would be great because anything can happen in the playoffs. I would take that right now because we have seen low seeds do well. Its all about the form that you are in when the playoffs start. This defense is not good enough to keep clean sheets and we arent good enough in front of goal to score many goals. That is not a good combination. Is Iggy a 15 goal a season player? Is Accam a 10 goal a season player? I dont see it with Iggy and I dont know about Accam. If Yallop takes this team to the playoffs, that would be a miracle and his job should be safe.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Agreed, but based on expectations and form in Sweden (which isn't the best to base things on, but it's mostly all we have) I think you have Accam and Igbo switched.

    I'd hope Accam hits at least 10+ and Igbnoanike 7-10 (poor returns for a DP, probably, but it's still my expectation). As long as Magee, Amarikwa and Shipp contribute a couple (3-7 say) each plus a few from the backline/midfield/owngoals/pks (usually 5-10 a season) etc., that's enough to make the playoffs.

    That said, I can't see it happening right now though thanks to that big fat 0 in the goals scored/points/wins columns...

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Let's say Accam hits 12, Iggy with 10, Magee 6, Quincy 7, Shipp 4, Maloney with 8, and the rest of the team contributes 10. Thats 58 goals. We havent scored more than 50 goals in a season since 2003. I see us closer to 45 goals. With the defense that we have, we need to be out scoring our opponents and I dont really see that happening.

    Iggy is a DP striker, so he was brought in to score goals. It's sad that we have already lowered our expectations of him to hoping he gets 7-10 goals this season. That's what Quincy did last season, and we all know how well that turned out.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    To be fair, that's not lowered expectations.

    I haven't seen Igbo get the chances to change expectations of him - those (7-10 goals) were my expectations when we signed him.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Either way, it is sad that we are hoping that our new DP signing will get double digit goals. Pretty soon we will be hoping that he is good enough to start.

  • Guys. The New York red bull coach Precke. ( bad spelling) would be a Hugh step up.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    That New York team probably should have been better with Thierry Henry on the roster. Fans loved him because he was a New York player and very good with supporters but I don't think too many players were crushed that he was dismissed.

  • In reply to brokerjohn:

    Not making fun of spelling but had a bit of a laugh at "Precke"

    Petke + Preki?

  • I would give the coaching job to Logan pause

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Or how about Brian McBride?

  • Is Perez training with the team yet? Any updates on the status of him joining the team?

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    Doubt he's with the team yet. Sounded like the only thing they were waiting on was his Visa.

  • In reply to Jeff Krause:

    This is correct....along with MLS approval on the loan.

  • My weekend picks:

    phi - dal dal
    ne - mtl ne
    col - nyc tie
    orl - van tie
    kc - por tie
    la - hou la
    nyrb - dc dc
    sj - chi sj

    Current record: 4-15

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