Frank Yallop's weekly press conference call centered around the impending transfer of Shaun Maloney to Hull City. On Monday, Yallop said that he hoped the deal would be completed within the next "24-48" hours. The reasons for moving Maloney continued to be a topic of conversation and Yallop clarified the Fire's side of the story. "He came to me a few weeks ago with a (request that) he wants to move back to the UK to be with his family," Yallop explained.
"It doesn't need to be public what that is but that's the reason I got. You could always say whatever you want afterwards but the main or the reason that Shaun is being sold to Hull is that he wanted to move back to be close to his family, which there's a certain thing, unless he wants to let you guys know what it is, is absolutely private and the club, myself, and Andrew Hauptman, the owner have been very accommodating and making sure that can happen. I didn't want to lose the player. Yeah, maybe he didn't quite get the numbers and didn't quite do this and that but when Shaun was on the field for us, I thought we had a good team," said Yallop before adding that the club has to replace Maloney. "I didn't want to lose him, I think he's a very good player. When a team is losing it looks (bad) and you'll point fingers at everything. I'm no different when (looking at) what's happening and what are we doing and how can we fix it. I thought Shaun, for the most part, maybe the last couple of games maybe his mind was elsewhere because of the reasons we talked about, other than that I thought he gave everything he could for the team and the club."
When asked about the transfer fee from Hull City, Yallop wasn't as forthcoming with details. "It's not gone through so I don't want to say anything. No real comment on that," he said. He did however address the net total when comparing the fee paid to Wigan last January. "We're going to be fine. It's going to be a good transaction for all parties once it gets done and obviously we move on once it's done. If it gets done."
Yallop wasn't ready to add Maloney's name to the line-up of Fire DP busts either. "It's a blow losing a good player. Everyone wants me to say he didn't play well and he didn't do this and did t do that. I thought he did fine. It takes a while to settle and set into our league. I think that when we had Shaun on the field I thought we looked a good team. I'm not going to ever say anything different to that. He left because of personal reasons and that's it. We can keep talking about it but in the end that's the answer and that's it. You'd have to ask Shaun, but absolutely no issues that he wanted to leave other than being close to his family which is a very important thing to him and he had some things going on during the year that we talked about. The opportunity to get back was coming up with this move to Hull and that's it."
Maloney's absence would seem to indicate that Harry Shipp assumes a more central role consistently. Shipp played in the underneath forward spot on Saturday night against the Rapids but the move didn't result to much in the final third. "I think it's difficult for any of the players for me to say, okay you've got to start to do this and that and the other," said Yallop of Shipp's new potential responsibilities. "I think Harry's played pretty well this year. Maybe the numbers don't show it but he's played a number of good positions. He's not a natural forward. He's an attacking type midfielder, I think. Sometimes if I want to play with two forwards, Harry is going to have to play in the midfield area. I thought he played well on the weekend. He was fine. We moved the ball well. I thought we created good chances, maybe not directly straight through Harry but he's in that spot but I thought he did a nice job of reaching out by coming a little deep and getting involved in the build up and then being involved around the edge of the box to try and create something. It's a difficult position to play for anybody because you've got to be creative and stats do come from that position for sure."
The Colorado game saw the Fire control the bulk of possession but they couldn't generate a score despite subbing in more attackers in the second half. "At the end if the game we have five forwards on the field. We were trying to get a goal and get back in the game and trying our best to have guys that may score a goal on the field. We played a good eighty minutes and hadn't and that's the reason I put Mike on," said Yallop.
"I'll look at the system. I don't mind playing the two forwards at all. (I've) Just got to tweak the system. Sometimes for us, when we had Shaun in there we kind of played a 4-3-3 type position with two holding midfielders and one number ten, which was Shaun. We got to make sure, and it depends who we're playing against, that we want to be able to counter attack and do things that we want to do. Especially at home and use our speed. We had a lot of joy wide in the game with David and Patrick. David didn't quite get free of their defense but I think they packed it in. Once they scored, they packed it in pretty good and it was difficult to break them down."
The last ten
Don't expect a starting eleven full of younger players just yet. Yallop will play for wins while the Fire are still statistically alive for post season. "We're not out of the playoff hunt yet so you've got to go with the strongest line-up that you think is going to win games," he said. "Mathematically we still have a chance. Obviously it's a big ask but we're going to try our best. You just can't give up and send a bunch of youngsters in which wouldn't be fair on them either. They need to come into a team that's playing well and buoyant and I don't think you play them all at the same time. I've played Collin (Fernandez), not for long, but he's gotten on the field which is good. Patrick (Doody) had done fine when he's played. We'll see but as of right now we're still shooting and trying for the playoffs."
Matt Polster may even continue to see starts at right back. The choice at that position will be determined on a game to game basis against certain match ups. "He's got versatility and I think he's done pretty well there. The goal on the weekend was one of those things where he tried sort of play the offside and got caught trying to hold the line and they got a quick break and got a goal. Just in general, he's a good player and I want all our best players on the field. He's very capable of playing that position, obviously it's not his most natural position but I think I've seen growth in him. I think he drove on quite well in the game," said Yallop. "We'll see."
With the rest of the season in mind, Yallop also noted that the team didn't stop playing after going down a goal early against the Rapids. "We really feel, and I do, as their coach and leader that we haven't been as bad as the record shows in performances. We feel that we still have a good side that's not got the right results. I think Saturday night was a good example. We played pretty well but whether we dominated is another thing. We created some good chances to score and we didn't, but they had three shots and
scored one goal. It seems like we're not quite getting the right combination of putting our chances in and scoring and the percentage of chances that go in against us. Having said all that, our leaders have not quit. They're vocal, they're encouraging, and they haven't quit. I feel that the performances at this part of the season we're trying our best to get it right. Especially when we got a goal down in a minute, we could have crumbled and give up but we didn't. It says a lot for the guys on the field and the guys that are the leaders in Jeff (Larentowicz) and Sean (Johnson) and Jon (Busch) and Razvan (Cocis), who didn't play but he's very uplifting and trying to help everyone arid do him. We've got just keep plugging away and see where the end of the season takes us."
Cyrus still not in Chicago
The Fire acquired defender Daneil Cyrus on loan just before the close of the transfer window but he has yet to join his new teammates. Cyrus is still in Trinidad & Tobago awaiting clearance on paperwork. "You've got to file for the work permit, you've got to give them your passport, and then you've got wait for it to come back," Yallop explained regarding the delay. "They said fours days, and it's day three (Monday). We're expecting it either today or tomorrow but the problem is he's getting called up by Trinidad as well, so the timing is not perfect. But again, we sign players to hopefully keep them as long as we can but its up to him to play well and do okay here and move forward from there. We expect him in camp after the Trinidad international games."
Trinidad & Tobago plays Mexico on September 3.
Yallop said he was aware of the supporter protests in Section 8 and directed fan dissension back to himself. "I saw the black sheets and stuff. When things don't go well they will voice their opinion. It's dealt with in sports. I saw the black sheets going up across Section 8 and I will say that the crowd was excellent with the team. I'm the one they can yell at because I'm the one that's in charge of the team on the field and what we've done. It's part of ups and downs. You've got to keep going and you've got to make sure that you don't waver from what you believe and what you think is going to get you out of the mess that you're in. I still believe in this group. We've got to add some guys at some point, I would think in certain spots but in general I thought the crowd was very good to the team and to us and gave us tons of support to try and win that game on Saturday night. I think the slight distraction of the sheets going up was a terrific crowd rallying type game for me. I wasn't on the field but from where I was sitting I thought it was a pretty vocal, buoyant crowd and they got behind the team, which is huge."
- Michael Stephens did not train on Monday due to illness.
- Gilberto did not train either after getting hit on the knee after Clint Irwin rolled on to him. It sounded like he would be available Wednesday.
- Patrick Nyarko was also held out on Monday after being struck in the face on Saturday night.
- Adailton had an injection in his groin to help alleviate an issue he's had for a few months. He is still sore and probably won't be in the line up against New York.
- Mike Magee missed training as he was undergoing an MRI on his ailing knee.