Fire notebook - Yallop on the hotseat?, Magee/Nyarko updates, Chicharito talk

With the Fire sitting at the bottom of the MLS table following four consecutive losses in league play, questions were sure to be raised regarding Frank Yallop's job security. Last Wednesday's home defeat at the hands of Eastern Conference leading DC United seemed to bring that issue to the forefront with Yallop himself indicating that he would be under more pressure if results didn't turn around soon. The Fire's Director of Soccer addressed those questions again today during his weekly media conference call.

Yallop told reporters that he has spoken to owner Andrew Hauptman since the loss against DC but didn't divulge what the extent of that conversation entailed. He did say however, that his job status wasn't a topic of discussion. “We haven’t talked directly (about job security), but obviously I’m not a stranger (to this situation)," said Yallop. "You need to get results. Andrew has been great with me, he’s given me everything I need to do that. It’s very, very frustrating and very disappointing to be in this position but we’ve got to keep going and keep battling on. We’ve got to make changes to the results. I feel the team talent-wise, is in a good spot. We don’t have everybody on the field at this point but still that’s irrelevant. We should be able to get results. We haven’t spoken directly about that but he wants to win and he has every right to ask and probe and try to get the best out of myself and the staff because we all want to win in the end. He’s no different."

The nature of professional sports being what it is, Yallop knows that results are the determining factors ultimately used to judge coaches. Despite the losses and injury issues, job preservation is of secondary concern at the moment. “I’m just working hard at trying to put it right and trying to get results in this game coming up tomorrow and the game on Friday and moving forward. It (job security) can’t be at the forefront of your mind because then you won’t do your job properly. You’ve got to just keep going, making sure that you do the things that you’re comfortable doing. I’ve been in this situation before with a run of bad results. Every coach has. You’ve just got to stick to it and try to make the difference in changes in the players to get those results. We’ve tried a couple different things in training and the approach to games and different things. Usually, when something changes on the field that makes the difference like a goal, and a win, and a good performance and all of a sudden you’re off. We’ve got to get to that point. You can’t be worried about what might happen, you just have to worry about what you’re doing and what can happen," he said.

Harden/Amarikwa trade

The technical staff began making changes last week with the trade of forward Quincy Amarikwa to San Jose in exchange for defender Ty Harden. Yallop said the move was made with two objectives in mind. “It gives us a bite more money under the cap to be used in the window if and when we can. Ty is a centerback and I felt we need another centerback. I just felt that the timing was okay for us. Quincy has been here for a while and you never like losing anyone like that but it’s sports. Like I said to the group and Quincy himself, sometimes you’ve got to change things to try to spark or make a difference in our fortunes and our set up."

With the July 1 deadline for non-guaranteed contract decisions and the official opening of the secondary transfer window on July 8 approaching, the Fire are in the market for reinforcements. Whether or not a substantial move is made or another move for depth like the Harden trade gets done depends on several factors but Yallop insists the club is still looking to improve. "We’re actively trying to fill out, and I’m not going to say what positions, but we’re actively trying to make the team better and cover ourselves for the rest of the season. We’re trying to do that right now. There’s never a ton of huge movement once you have a full roster but now we have some cap space to make a significant signing if we need to."

The Fire have all three allotted DP slots taken, so a substantial move may be subjective. It may be too early in the process to tell if they'll be able to land a player capable of stepping right into the starting line-up at the moment. "It’s hard to say if it’s somebody that can come in and be a starter and be a star in the league. What we’re trying to do is get quality for the money. I’ll never guarantee a spot, I can’t do that. I don’t think anyone should think that anyway. You’ve got to come in and earn a spot. (The Amarikwa move) just gives us more room and more money to get a higher quality individual. That was the game plan," said Yallop.

Chicharito on MLS' radar again?

An ESPN report this weekend claimed that MLS was in talks to define a mechanism in which Mexican stars Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Giovani Dos Santos could be brought to the league. The Fire inquired into the possible cost for Hernandez last year and this past winter Yallop said that cost was "astronomical". Now that MLS is apparently working toward bring him in, would the Fire be legitimately interested?

“I don’t know what the numbers would be but we’d be interested in any player who’s got quality. We’ve got three DP’s at the moment and we’re committed to those guys so something would have to change on that front. We’re forever looking. Like I tried to say in January, we tried to get going with getting all of our players in. We’ve sputtered a little bit and lately we’ve struggled with the four losses in a row. It’s just getting our guys back on the field that I felt had a good two or three games together with Shaun and especially David. We just need to get those guys back healthy and see where we are. Again, we’re forever looking. It’s never a no to those guys but it depends on what the package is to be honest," said Yallop of possible interest.

Accam out

David Accam will not be ready for the USOC game against Charlotte and is in doubt for the Friday match in Houston. "We’re hopeful, but he’s come back injured and hasn’t trained yet," said Yallop. "That’s disappointing but that’s international football and that’s what you’ve got to work with. Two weeks ago he came back and he’s not stepped on the field yet, so that’s not good. Whether he’s ready for Friday, it would be a push, but I’m hoping. I doubt it, but we’ll see."

USOC v Charlotte

Yallop said that he'll field some starters for the game against the Independence but there may be some tinkering depending on who is available. "With our injury situation there’s not a lot of guys we can choose from right now. We’ll have a strong line up. We want to win the match. We want to do well in this competition. That’s very important to us. We’ll sort of lick our wounds and get ready for Friday which will be a tough game for us. We’re trying to get the ship straightened and go in the right direction and it starts tomorrow (Tuesday) night."

He's not expecting a pushover in third division Charlotte however. The Independence are coached by former Fire assistant and player personnel director Mike Jeffries. "It’s a tough game, they went to New England and won. They’re a big, physical side. Very strong on set plays and pretty good on the counter. They’re a good side. We all know that USL’s got a good pedigree and it’s a good league," said Yallop. “I didn’t think we played well in the last Open Cup game and we won it. Hopefully we can play well and get a good result and that should give us some confidence moving forward."

Nyarko an Magee back in action

Yallop said he expects Patrick Nyarko to be available on the bench for the USOC match. Nyarko will hope to make his 2015 season debut after finally being able to train in full with the first team over the last couple of weeks.

In another bit of good news, it also seems likely that Mike Magee will start the game against Charlotte. Magee had some good moments in a substitution stint against DC and Yallop sees this game as a good opportunity to get him back into a longer run.

Joevin Jones is still with the team and available for the USOC game. Jones was called for Trinidad and Tobago's Gold Cup squad which resumes training later this week.

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Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • How long are our DP's contracts?

    If Chicharito or Dos Santos sign with this league and we lose out on them because of Iggboananike, I just might go insane.

    Guillermo, could you tell which game he was favoring by how he was talking about them? Tomorrow or Friday?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    The DP deals are 3 year agreements, although I'm not sure if Igboananike's is one year plus options.

    He didn't indicate a preference to favor either game. Said both were important.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    If not Chicharito or Dos Santos I hope they try for Aron Johannsson. Regardless they still need to get some solid defenders.

  • What a second rate league to lose players for friendlies, when they're under contract to play here. How many games will David Accam play vs the total? Less than 50%. He's one of the best weapons we've seen here for a while and if he's not available or gets injured playing Romania in a worthless game, then how do you plan around that?

    The league needs to adjust to the International schedule so fans can get a more predictable and consistent performance from their team, not some pick up games with guys off the street.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    They are obligated to release players on international dates. That has nothing to do with the league. Every team, in every league faces that risk.

    Of course, MLS continuing to schedule games during those dates is another issue.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Accam was out for an African Cup of Nations qualifier vs. Mauritius, not a friendly.

    Maloney was out for a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier vs. Ireland, not a friendly.

    While you can complain about what their absences do to the team, get the facts straight at least. And then complain to MLS about scheduling games during international windows (but before you do, take a look at what players are missing across the league - the Fire was not the worst off by any means).

  • Thanks for the continued coverage, Mr Rivera. I don't see much value in dismissing Yallop midseason. Let's see what he can do when Magee and Nyarko are back, hopefully along with the full complement of players. Honestly, I don't expect better results even with the full squad and that's down to gameday selections and tactics. Hope Yallop somehow proves me wrong over the next few months.

  • In reply to schematic1929:

    I agree with that. A coaching change at this point will do little to turn things around.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Agree and agree.

    If they can get some workable talent and have a good 2nd half the season that becomes a genuinely good team, I'd be happy.

    But let's not kid on the playoffs. Just work on making a good team. Besides, at this point, based on performance, I think it would take an apocalyptic collapse by an entire collection of teams above us, which I don't see happening. I'd offer to eat something other than words if I were proven wrong, but, eh.

    Should be a good game tonight.

  • In reply to schematic1929:

    If you're going to fire him at the end of the season, why wait? We can't win with this guy managing. He hasn't been a winner in this league for a decade. He is statistically the worst manager we have ever had. He has stated many times that he doesn't know what to do with this team right now. He has already had three transfer windows to fix things and he made things worse. He doesn't deserve another transfer window. I would rather have Rolfe than Iggy, Duka and Maloney are comparable, Berry over adailton, Anibaba over Gehrig. If we added Accam to Klopas' roster, we would be a better team.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Yallop hasn't been a winner in the league for a decade?

    He won the Supporters Shield and MLS Coach of the Year in 2012.

    I know you love to pound on Yallop, but at least do so truthfully.

  • In reply to Charles Jogues:

    He then took that team, the best Team in the league, and was out in the first round of the playoffs. Before that season he didn't win anything anywhere for a long time. When he did win, before 2012 as you said, he had a young Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario. It's now 2015 and we are worse than ever with him as the manager. He took a terrible season last year and has made us worse. We are dead last in the league. We now have our busiest period coming up and we will be lucky to come away with 2 wins total in July.

    Are you happy the performance of the team? How many times have you left Toyota Park happy in the last year and a half? I'm not and I don't think this team will win with him in charge. I wanted him gone last season and nothing that has happened this year has changed my mind.

  • Based on recent history, the deus ex machine at the league office seems determined to orchestrate things to benefit the overall success of the league, existing rules be damned. Yes, I'm still bitter over the Jermaine Jones affair. If that's the case, and I'm looking at the 3d biggest city in the country floundering like it is, I stick the Little Pea right in the place that turns a former stellar franchise around.

  • If GDS and Chicharito both end up coming to MLS and Chicago doesnt end up with one of them, Andrew will lose all of the "life support" he has left. It may be unrealistic to think he will all of a sudden drop like 30 million for Chicharito, but he should be able to pony up for GDS and make a statement.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Chicharito won't cost that much.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Gut feeling, do you think they end up with either? I cant help but feel MLS wants Chicharito as the poster boy for LAFC.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Reports today indicate that Gio is headed to LAG. I think Chicharito ends up in MLS soon and if I had to guess, it will be with LAFC.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    sadly I agree. Thanks

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Isn't Kaka making north of $7 MM? With Chicharito being younger, wouldn't his salary be at least in the same neighborhood or higher? $30 MM for a 4-year deal doesn't seem unrealistic.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    Salary would likely be in that $7m range.

  • Chicharito is not and has, to this point, never been Kaka

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Neither are Dempsey and Bradley, and they make nearly as much as Kaka.

    My comment was about salary. The going rate for a "name player" coming to MLS will be compared to Kaka's salary. Regardless of Chicharito's talent or past accomplishments, the salary discussion will be based on what Kaka is making.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    More responding to your suggestion that he might rate a higher salary than Kaka.

    Dempey and Bradley also have the virtue of being Americans, so although they did not reach Kaka's heights in world football, their value to an MLS side in enhanced because they do not occupy one of the finite international slots

  • If you you look at a coach as a teacher etc., Yallop is no longer teaching anything that will improve players. I honestly think that he impedes development. Polster was better at the beginning of the season than he is now. He has started to look less like the player who demanded the ball from the backline and now looks like a player who wants to just make a safe pass. Look at Shipp as well. He was better before Yallop started barking in his ear and playing him out of his position. Move Yallop out before he hurts anybody else.

  • "Yallop is no longer teaching anything that will improve players."

    How do you know this? Are you attending their practices?

  • Every coach deserves three years to fully implement their vision. Success does not always happen overnight.

  • In reply to Charles Jogues:

    I don't agree with you. We won't win things with Yallop as the manager. As you can see in the last year and a half, we are the worst we have ever been. He has brought in all new players and we are worse than last year. The team still plays the same way as they did last season when we have new players. With your 3 year thing he would get 6 transfer windows. In MLS, you can completely change the team in one window. Look at DC United. Statistically the worst team in the history of MLS one season and then supporters shield winners the next. Yallop has had three windows and the team still can't defend or win games. He needs to go.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    It took Ben Olsen 3 years to turn DC around. The seasons went bad, worse, supporter's shield. If they're your model, then Yallop gets another year.

  • In reply to DDT5583:

    Not really true about DC United. They finished 2nd in the East in 2012 with 58 points. 2013 was their terrible season but they won the U.S. Open cup. Last year they won the East. Pretty sure that is a little different than what is going on with this team. Yallop has only won 50 points in a year and a half. Olsen had 58 in one season. Do you have confidence that this Yallop team can win the Open cup this year? I do not. We're not good enough to beat Orlando. Yallop has done nothing to deserve this leash he has right now. I would be surprised if we won two games in July. We will probably be out of the playoffs by August 1st.

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