The Fire returned to Chicago Monday after Sunday's draw against the Philadelphia Union, as they prepare to take on the Colorado Rapids this Saturday at Toyota Park. Tuesday afternoon, the conversation on Fire head coach Frank Yallop's weekly conference call was weighted towards the rumors of Shaun Maloney departing Chicago for Hull City, but Yallop also gave reporters an update on the Fire's DP injury woes, as well as staying positive in the face of increasing frustration and lack of wins.
Yallop addressed Sunday's high scoring affair against the Union, a game where the Fire showed some of the fight that's been lacking in recent months, as well as a MLS Team of the Week performance from goalkeeper Sean Johnson. “We've maybe had a few games where we looked like we weren't really that interested in playing. Sometimes lack of confidence looks like lack of effort, but what I will say about Sunday," said Yallop. "I thought that was a fantastic fight back display against a team that's home, that's obviously beat us on Wednesday, and we had to come back and show that we weren't going to give up, and we didn't. We got up early in the game, I felt we were looking good for 30 minutes. They scored out of the blue on a set play, which is very avoidable, and then another easy goal. Basically I felt, you know, we get back into it, they go back up, and we come back again. So it was one of those games that we didn't give up, we kept going, and hopefully that'll be a springboard for the next to games to get results.”
Yallop has come under the microscope regarding his comments to Fox Sports 1 at halftime of Sunday's game regarding Shaun Maloney, as questions were raised regarding the transfer rumors and Maloney's commitment to Chicago. “He's 100% committed. What I tried to say is that it's not always about the team giving him the ball. Individuals have to search out the ball and try to get it and do their thing anyways. It wasn't a critical statement, it was reality. We hadn't gotten Shaun on the ball, between the team and himself, we didn't achieve that. I just said that sometimes it's not about guys getting him the ball. Shaun, when he plays and plays well, is very good. In his performances has he played great the last few games? Not really, but it might be just because of whatever sometimes. Players can't play well all the time, so I don't see a big, big difference in Shaun in the last few days, but again, you have to ask him that question. But for me, he's been exactly the same.”
Hull City rumors continue
Although the Maloney saga continues, according to Yallop the Fire have not received any further offers from Hull City for their DP midfielder, even though the European transfer window remains open. “It's something that's obviously gone a bit dead. If there's any offer coming back from Hull, they haven't gotten in contact with us, so as it is right now it's a dead point. We're not trying to sell Shaun, we never did, obviously when a club comes in and makes an offer you've got to obviously consider it, and look at the big picture, if you like. But again, we've not heard anything back from Hull since the last time they contacted us,” Yallop told reporters.
That hasn't stopped the rumors from swirling as reports continue to infer that Maloney will join Hull before the window closes on September 1st. Still, Yallop says that Maloney is committed to Chicago, and is focused on his job here rather than a move abroad.
“We've discussed it for sure. You have to bring up things that are out there. The only three things that matter are the Fire, Hull City, and Shaun. They're the only three people that matter in this situation. All the talk, and paper stuff, and speculation...it goes on in any walk of life, and especially in sports. Until there's something to be said, there's nothing in it, so right now we're just getting on with it. We want to get a good result on the weekend, then go from there.....he's been saying, 'Listen if there's an offer there and you feel it's up to par...we'll talk.' You can't stop a club from putting offers in. If they're going to put in an offer that makes a difference we've got to look at it, but again, right now there's no improved offer on what they submitted last time.”
Gilberto and David Accam Injury Update
Yallop also addressed the injury concerns over David Accam and the newly acquired Gilberto. Accam dressed, but was not in the plans for action on Sunday, while Gilberto traveled back to Chicago after Wednesday's semi-final loss to Philadelphia to receive treatment on the thigh contusion suffered in his Fire debut. “I think both should be available. As you know David wasn't involved again in the last game. He was on the bench but didn't dress, we just dressed him as a number, but yeah, just frustrating. We hope he's going to be ok. Usually when he rests up and just does a little bit of training he's ok for a game, it's just getting two in a week is a problem. Gilberto did a lot of work today (Tuesday) with Adrian Lamb, our fitness coach, and we're hoping he's available for the weekend also.”
“He (Accam) wasn't available. He trained the day before, and we haven't used three subs anyway, But I had him on the bench just so he could sit on the bench, but he didn't have his boots and he wasn't going to be involved. That was done before we put the team sheet in.”
Despite the lack of results, Yallop continues to keep his head up, and the club is keeping their hopes alive for a potential playoff run. “I feel I'm a positive person anyway, I don't dwell on what's just happened or whatever, I just work on what's going to happen next week and just keep going. I've been the same around the guys, obviously we're not happy after we lose, we get after it in training and in video sessions, which aren't pretty and are always difficult to look at, but I think the players have kept going and kept fighting. We're a couple of bad mistakes, if you like, from being around the playoffs. We've just got to put that right, we've got to get a couple of good results early now in the next couple of games. If we can do that we're right in the picture. We've got reasons for why we've not won as many games as I feel we should have, and we've given games away. So a positive attitude is to cut those out, we can do it, we can make the playoffs, and let's keep going.”