While the Fire deny that any search for a new coach is taking place Frank Yallop continues to address the rumors admirably. Questions about the status of his employment were again a topic of conversation during his weekly conference call with reporters. “I’m just here doing my job. There’s always going to be rumors when you’re not doing well,” said Yallop. “I don’t worry about it. My focus is on the team and that’s all I’ll say about it. Worrying about it and thinking about it all the time, that’s not good. Rumors are always going to go around.”
Yallop alluded to the team’s continually growing list of players that have missed time this season while keeping his sense of humor about the rumors. “I’m just going to get on with my job and make sure I do it as best I can. Maybe we need to get a doctor involved rather than a coach. We’ve had a lot of injuries and it’s been tough but we’re trying our best and I’m sticking with it and Andrew’s been fantastic with me.”
He also reiterated that he hasn’t discussed his job status or talked about the reports with owner Andrew Hauptman. “Not at all. We spoke just as normal about trying to get the team in the wining column in the league and any potential moves we’ve got. No. We’ve not discussed my individual position. No. Not at all.”
Captain Jeff Larentowicz will miss the Seattle game and additional time after that. Just before the Houston match, the Fire announced that Larentowicz would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a herniated disc. He missed the USOC match against Charlotte with what was identified as a groin injury. “He’s always had the neck issue, along with the groin,” explained Yallop. “He felt it in the DC game and managed it a little bit. He played in the Open Cup. It’s a disc issue. He’s seeing a specialist tomorrow (Tuesday). We’ll find out the extent of how long he’s out. I’m not sure the signs are great.”
The Fire are hopeful that the prognosis is good and Larentowicz will resume training soon but the actual timetable for a return hasn’t been established yet. “Right now it’s up in the air what time he’s going to back. Tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday we’ll know what the situation is with the neck,” said Yallop.
The loss of Larentowicz coupled with possibly losing Adailton for the next match means the Fire’s depth at centerback will be tested. Adailton suffered a groin injury of his own late in the Houston match and that could thrust newly acquired Ty Harden into a starting role. “We seem to pick up a lot of injuries, which is obviously tough, but I expect that Ty, who’s not played for a little bit because he had a little bit of a hamstring at San Jose (will start). He hasn’t been in full training yet. He’s done a lot of running and he’ll be ready to go on the weekend I’m sure.”
The good news on the injury front is that both Patrick Nyarko and Mike Magee are back and contributing already. Nyarko may not be 90 minutes fit just quite yet but he’s working his way into it. “Patrick’s played 45 minutes and played 20 minutes in the Cup three days before the game. Each game he’s building up his minutes. I’ve got to decide how he looks and how he trains this week to see if we can get a start out of him. I’m very happy for Patrick. He looked good in the game when he played. He’s got a good ability and we’ve misses him. We’ll see for the start,” said Yallop.
Should Nyarko be ready to start that could move Harry Shipp into a more central role in Shaun Maloney’s absence.
While Yallop is hoping that Nyarko is ready to start some Saturday it also seems that Magee is ready to step in now.
Transfer window talk
The league’s secondary window opens on July 8 and the Fire are looking to be active. MLS shared the details of the rumored “core player” rule with team executives last Wednesday but have yet to make those changes public. The Fire will have room to add a player and the injury situation at centerback may determine in which direction they go for top targets. “We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now,” said Yallop. “Sometimes your focus changes with a couple of injuries. If Jeff is struggling, we’re going to maybe look at that. and if Adi was out for a while. We’re looking to strengthen for sure.”
He added that no deals were imminent but sometimes agreements come together within a matter of days. “We’re trying our best to nail it down. We’re hoping Jeff gets through his (test) tomorrow and then we can re-focus on what we’re trying to do.”
Yallop was asked about the roles of Razvan Cocis and Guly do Prado in the side. The latter wore the captain’s armband against Houston in Larentowicz’s absence. Yallop noted Cocis’ recent play as the main reason for the honor. I think Razvan’s been very good this season, he said. “He’s in the middle of the field so he can influence and talk to the referee a little bit if he needs to. I think he deserved to have the armband in this game. I think he’s been doing well. There’s no hidden meaning behind it.”
Guly do Prado hasn’t produced a goal or many actual chances but Yallop didn’t have an issue with his play in the second half against Houston. “I thought Guly had one of his better games for us. He is that type of roaming player that tries to get on the ball a lot. I thought he did well late in the game when he went up high and Mike was underneath. He’s getting used to teammates and the league. I just want him to be goal-dangerous. Be dangerous around the goal, which is your job as a second striker or a striker. We don’t need to be keeping it in our own half. We need to be up around the edge of the goal and I thought he did that best in the second half, with the move that I made.”
Offside on a CK?
The Houston match ended in bizarre fashion with what appeared to be an offside call on a corner kick. FIFA rules eliminate that possibility during corner kicks and throw-ins, so what exactly Fotis Bazakos and crew were thinking is a bit of a mystery.
“I don’t know (what the reason for the call was). What we were trying to do is pull someone out and Harry was going to serve it. We just talked about it and we wanted to get it in the box. We were going to play a short one and take a touch and serve it. It was probably the last kick of the game because the time was up. That was the plan but he called him offside as he played it to him. I didn’t know you could be offside from a corner, to be honest.”
“I was dumbfounded. Weird one. I’ve never seen that to be honest.”
Yallop is looking for a better offensive performance than the last league game at Toyota Park against DC United. The Fire failed to generate many chances but the hope is the insertion of Magee, Nyarko, and possibly Accam will change that. “I just want to have a more forceful game than we did against DC. I don’t think we were dangerous enough in that match,” he said.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of getting that point on the road (in Houston). Another day we could have maybe nicked it but they had some chances. They had a good side out there that is very dangerous and very hard to contain. I though we defended very well against that unit.”
The defensive effort t will be important against a Seattle side missing Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, and Marco Pappa. The mindset won’t be any different from the coach’s perspective however. Yallop said one point against Houston wasn’t necessarily the goal. “We’ve tried every game to try and win. I’ve never gone out to just get a tie. Everything we’ve planned is to get a win, maybe it doesn’t always look that way but we’re trying to.”