Fire notebook - tactics, FCD win, USOC, injury and transfer window update

The Fire finally had all of their first choice starters back and available on Sunday afternoon and that coupled with a tactical shift resulted in a win against one of the best teams in MLS at the moment. During his weekly conference call, Frank Yallop explained that what worked against Dallas may not be what he deploys for every match. Shaun Maloney shifted outside with David Accam more advanced in order to play the counter attack.

“It was more for Dallas because they’re a side that likes to manipulate the ball on the edge of our box and we wanted to counter attack them and try to catch them, which we did. Leading it, having David in that role was good. I think it frees him up to explode into those areas and do well. I think Shaun did a great job defensively behind him on that left side just to support David. I think it was just in this game, we may play David in that spot again, if we feel a team is going to be pushing and we can catch them on a counter. We’re trying to do the same things we’ve done from the start. We’re trying to possess the ball in their end and trying to create chances from that,” said Yallop.

Having options with talented players that can adapt gives Yallop an opportunity to explore attacking teams in different manners based on the individual opponent. “Whatever the game plan suits we can do that. If not, we’ve shown when our team is on the field that we can keep the ball too,” he said.

“I think the big thing is that you saw a team last night that wasn’t fighting against what we’re trying to do. It’s team game, it’s not an individual game. If we ask Shaun to do a little more extra work doing this and that, he is fine with it. Does he want to play a different position and be a bit more attacking, if you like? Maybe, but in the end I think hard work, endeavor, and fight won that game last night. And, tactically like we did, worked. We talked about it with the coaching staff and I felt we had our game plan correct. They’re a good team. They’ve won five in a row and they beat Portland 4-1 in their last game. They’re a good side and we beat them 2-0.”

Accam’s early score set the tone and allowed the Fire some breathing room for a change. “Once you score, you feel confident although you’ve got a long, long way to go in the game. It settles you down. It allows you a little bit of space to kind of soak some pressure up if you need to. You don’t have to keep pushing the game and I felt we did a nice job of balancing that. We rested ourselves giving Dallas possession on the half way line and that was kind of okay for us. We got a ton of chances to take breaks on a hot, hot afternoon.”

“I thought we did a nice job of managing the game. I think tactically we got it right but it’s only one game. You’ve got to score when you get your chances. You can talk about tactics and all that stuff all you want, but you’ve got to execute.”

The Fire didn't have the same energy at home against the Revolution that they did in facing Dallas and Yallop feels that the added rest from game to game had a lot to do with it. The team had a break of more than seven days to recover and prepare.  "I think it helped us all to be honest," he said. "We looked fresh from the start. We soaked up pressure when I felt that we weren’t really under that much (dangerous) pressure, only (giving up) possession at the half way line. They can have it there. They had a little spell towards the end of the half where they started to possess around our box a little we moved the line up higher. I thought we did a good job and everyone had a spring in their step because we didn’t play for eight days. It was good. I thought we were sharp. I thought we saw the game out and we could have had a couple more goals late."

USOC Semifinals

Yallop acknowledged the importance of the August 12 match in Philadelphia but didn't want to start looking too far ahead just yet with a game against the Timbers  this Friday. "Not looking past Portland because it’s an important game for us in the league. We’ve just had a great one at home, three points, now we need to try and go to Portland and get a win there if we can or get something out of that game. You can’t get ahead of yourself. Obviously it’s a massive game next Wednesday for us as a club. We want to win that game and we’ll do every effort to do that but we can’t look past the Friday game, which is our next very important match and then take that one on." he said.

"I’ll be watching Philly. They’re a good side. We just jumped above them in the league, which looks better than it did before the weekend. Every team in the league, as we know is capable of beating the other team. Philly is no different. We’re no different. Seattle is no different. You can go on and on but we’ve got to be ready to play Friday and we’ve got to be ready to go Wednesday and the following Sunday and so and so forth. I felt good about that we got through this game (healthy). Lovel’s got a bit of a sprained knee but I think he’ll be okay. We looked dangerous at times, we could play a little bit better but the difference makers were on the field."

Balance between USOC and MLS play

Yallop doesn't sound like he's conceding anything in regular season play just yet and feels that the upcoming schedule may be crowded but it is manageable. “What I like about the schedule is that we play Friday night, Wednesday, Sunday so it’s a big spread between the games," he said. "It’s better than Saturday or Sunday with a Wednesday, Saturday sort of schedule. We’ll be rested and ready to go in all three of those games. Confidence-wise it doesn’t change. Three points Friday, a final to get to Wednesday, and another three points on Sunday. That’s what we’re looking at. We’re just trying to do that. That’s the only focus we have is getting points in those two leagues games and trying to get to a final in another game. Not an easy week but it could be a good week if it all works out."

Injury update

Yallop said that Lovel Palmer left the Dallas match with a knee injury but he's optimistic for a quick recovery. “I think he’s a little bit sore. We’ll know more probably tomorrow. He just kind of extended it a little bit. I don’t think it’s as bad as we first thought. We’re hoping he’ll be okay for the weekend.”

The defender acquired in exchange for Quincy Amarikwa has yet to play for the Fire but Ty Harden is close to being available. “He’s available to be joining the 18 on the weekend. He’s trained well and looked good so we’ll see how he looks for the weekend,” said Yallop.

Jeff Larentowicz showed no ill effects from his neck injury after 90 minutes on Sunday night.

One player who won't be available on Friday night is Mike Magee. The forward is still recovering from his latest setback, a knee injury which has kept him out of action for the last two weeks. "Mike’s been injured basically for two years, if you like," lamented Yallop. "Last year he was struggling with the hip and the knee and he had the surgery and that put him back and now he’s still off the field. It’s not easy. That was the reason we had to make reinforcements in certain areas and bring in Gilberto. It’s proven correct because Mike’s not healthy. It’s a shame because he’s a good player and he just wants to get back on the field but when you have these major surgeries it’s not a quick fix. It’s a big, long haul back. He did well to get back on the field but obviously he wasn’t at his best and then he took the knock on the knee, and it put him back again. We’re just trying to work with him just to get him match fit and then hopefully he’ll be available for us."

Gilberto update

The Fire are still hoping that their newest acquisition will be ready for the game on Friday. That will depend on how quickly his visa paperwork is completed. "We just had some news that he should be getting his passport back tomorrow (Tuesday). We’re hoping that he’ll be able to travel and meet us in Portland," said Yallop before adding that it wasn't a sure thing just yet.

Transfer window

The Fire have Target Allocation Money and General Allocation Money to use before the transfer window closes on August 6. Should the club fail to get another deal done, they'll still be able to use those funds somewhere down the line but they're still looking for help now.

Yallop has mentioned bringing in reinforcements at centerback in the past few weeks but he wasn't identifying a position for the main player he's pursuing now. "We’re working on something as we speak," he said." I’m not going to say the position in case it doesn’t go through. We’re working on something and hopefully it will get announced in the next couple of days or it won’t. We’re hoping it gets done and we’re just waiting on that right now."

One player that it won't be is recently waived Orlando City centerback Sean St. Ledger. Yallop said that he is not on the team's radar at the moment.

Filed under: 2015 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • Is it just me or does Yallop only talk tactics after a win?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    He has previously.

  • thanks for the write up!!

  • Parting with do Prado is a step in the right direction, if Gilberto turns out to be the same player he was last year for Toronto. And especially if it helps us bring in quality reinforcements on the back line.

  • The Fire and Guly do Prado have mutually agreed to part ways.

    The Fire now have 26 players on the roster and 2 international spots open. Roster limit is 28.

  • How does Guly go from a "go to type of guy" the first 15 games of the season to being mutually let go? Never mind, I know, because it takes our current coaching staff 6 months to realize what everyone sitting in the stadium saw all year. I completely agree that this is a step in the right direction.

  • I haven't been following the team that closely, so forgive my ignorance; but has the Fire played any friendlies this summer? I know they usually have had a European or Mexican team swing through town during the pre-season, but I haven't heard of this happening this year.

  • In reply to Roti2000:

    No friendlies likely this year. There was some talk of one possibly in September but haven't heard anything on that.

  • Fire have confirmed that they have received an offer from Hull City for Shaun Maloney.

    At this point with little time left in transfer window to replace him,I don't think a move gets done unless there is a very significant offer.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    This wouldn't be the end of the world if he was sold. Sure he is a good enough player but I'm not sure he is THAT much better than Shipp. The move would allow Shipp to go to his natural position and also allow Nyarko to become the starter that he deserves to be. If we can recoup the money spent to get him I think we should make the move.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Yeah, my first inclination is to go ahead and sell him

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What's "significant" for someone like him? $1m+?

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Over $1.5 ish

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Of course. The one highlight name I don't have on my autograph banner...

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So here's a technical question: money that we receive in the form of a transfer fee- once we receive it, how can it be used/allocated?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    It's real money that can be used toward improving the club.
    After the initial transfer fees are covered, MLS gets 1/3 of the fee though.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So it can pretty much be used however the club sees fit? (Payroll, future transaction fees, new water bottles?)

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Depends on the amount but a big percentage of what's left over is used as allocation bucks. Any left over after a certain amount goes to operations.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    He really hasn't been that good of a "final piece of the puzzle" that Yallop has claimed him to be. I think there was a reason why he was playing on a team that got relegated from the English Championship last season when we picked him up.

  • Both Maloney and Igboananike are relatively quiet personalities, too, which doesn't help to endear them to fans as DPs. Accam wears his heart on his sleeve on the field (not to mention his speed and mad skills). If Maloney or Igboananike were more like Lovel Palmer or Dom Oduro, they would have more fan support.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I do have one issue with Accam, he complains to the refs a little too much. Every time he gets touched or fouled he always looks to the ref for a card or a foul when none is called. What ever happened to players actually playing to the whistle instead of worrying and complaining about the ref's call/no-calls?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Every player wants a foul called when the feel they are fouled.

  • If the Fire beat Philly they will host the USOC finals!

  • In reply to Arklow:

    Is the Kharma Train finally on the right track?

    Kings of the Cup
    Fire in playoffs
    Sounders out of playoffs

    I am so ready for this to happen!

  • In reply to Doug:

    1 of 3 wouldn't be bad and I'd take #1 over the rest.

    The tension of next Wednesday is already gnawing at me.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    The list was certainly prioritized.

    And yes, it will be a tough game to watch.

  • The Fire have won a blind draw!

    They will host the U.S. Open Cup Final on September 30 if they can beat Philadelphia next week.

  • Per a club source, the Fire have rejected a bid from Hull City for Shaun Maloney.

    They are not looking to move him at this time.

    Also, Matt Watson has received an additional game suspension for that tackle on Sunday.

  • G, does maloney want to stay or go? If he goes so does the cup imo

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Good question Krasov, I was wondering the same there mutual interest between Maloney and Hull City, or were they just taking a shot at prying him away? I might be in the minority, but I like Maloney and I'm happy the bid was rejected.

  • In reply to jimmyblackcloud:

    I have not heard one word about Maloney wanting to make the move.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Good to hear, thanks.

  • In reply to jimmyblackcloud:

    You can be part of the minority of two now.

    I think Tomaz mentioned on old time (correct me if I am wrong, please,) that Maloney is a player that gets better when better players are around *him*. I'm fine with that. In my eyes, he carries the presence of a professional that's good to have on the field (and I would assume the locker room as well.)

    In the back of my mind, I'm starting to wonder if we've turned a corner.

  • Picks tonight

    Montreal over New York RB
    Toronto FC over Orlando City


  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    picks were:

    mtl-nyrb tie
    tor-orl tor

    xx-xxx (misplaced my flash drive with the list....)

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