Chicago Fire 1-1 Toronto FC

Scoring Summary

CHI – Lovel Palmer (Sanna Nyassi) 11’

TOR – Dwayne De Rosario (Gilberto, Nick Hagglund) 89’

Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop

On the impact the missed penalty kick had on the match

“I want to say that penalty kicks have haunted us this year, especially at home. We still have to see the game out, though. Forget the penalty kick; 1-0, late in the game, we have to find a way to sort it out. It’s just lax marking again, not having that real, last do-or-die spirit to win the game; that’s what’s missing. I can’t fault the guys for their continued efforts, but their mental breakdowns have hurt us. I think that’s a big thing for us. We’ve tied another game; we should’ve won it, to be honest. We had a few chances late, but we should have put the game away. But we didn’t; what happens in football if you don’t finish up an opponent early is giving them a chance to get back in the game. They actually could’ve won it. I haven’t seen that play on video, but they could’ve won 2-1. Just disappointing. Same old story. I felt we were in control of the game, doing great. I thought we had some nastiness to us, and some real drive, and created some good chances, had a good spell in the first 20; Toronto came into the game a little bit, then we had a good spell towards the end of the first half. Second half is even-ish, but we had some good chances on the break. We had the penalty kick which would have sealed the deal, I think. And then we missed it, and then we conceded late on a set piece goal, which is really disappointing.”

On the controversial no-call late in the game

“I haven’t seen the play. It didn’t look like it was a foul, or whatever the ref called. We got lucky on that one. But we need to win; another tie is not great for us. Usually, you find a ways to lose matches as a group, as a lot of coaches say, but we find ways to tie matches, when we should be winning them. It’s frustrating, but it’s where we are at. I’ve never made excuses, and I wouldn’t hide behind anything either, but we’re not quite good enough. It’s what we are. We need to make changes and make sure we’re better moving forward for sure.”

On the playing surface

“It’s not great, to be honest. If you look at the two chances in the first half, when Quincy [Amarikwa] had a chance, I think Alex had a really good chance right before halftime; if the surface is a really clean, tight-knit surface, it’s a little bit easier to concentrate on the actual finish rather than where the ball is going to bounce. It’s not great, not great at all. They play football games, high school soccer games, and all that stuff on our field. We have no control over that. The stadium has control of it. We rent the field, so they do whatever they need to do on it to make money. We’re at the mercy of that, and that’s what we get, not a great surface.”

On the spirit of the club after another tie

“You have to ask the players, but I think from a coaching staff and from a club point of view, we’ve never given up. I think we’ve always had a positive attitude in our approach to every game we’ve had. I’m a realist; I don’t mince words when we’ve not played well, I will tell you that. If I think we’ve been a little bit unlucky, I’ll tell you that as well. I think a little bit more luck our way this season might have helped us. But again, every team will say the same thing: that we could have won that one, should’ve lost that, etc. We’re not quite there, and I think that that’s the big thing. We’ve got a couple of injuries at the wrong time. It’s nice to see Patrick back on the field at home; we’ve not had him for two or three months, and he’s a good player. Robbie Earnshaw comes in and makes an impact in two games, then gets a calf strain, and we haven’t had him for two weeks. Mike Magee had surgery, and he’s out. These guys are difference-makers in matches. Again, I’m not making excuses at all, because we should have got three points tonight, no matter who’s out, because we played well enough to win. But we couldn’t get it done. But we’ll keep going, we always do. I think my positive attitude is to do the best with what we have, and move forward, try to build on it, and it won’t be any different heading into the end of the city.”


On the team’s play:

“I thought in the first half that we were a little timid.  We sat back a little bit, we needed more movement ahead of the ball, and we needed to move forward a little more.  We came out with, what one could argue, a slightly more defensive posture but really was wanting Michael [Bradley] to push forward a little bit more, and Kyle Bekker to push forward a little bit more.  They were getting on the ball, which is good for us, but we didn’t have much to move forward.  Not as much as we wanted to.  So the second half came out, and we knew at some point we were going to push forward with bringing another forward with Luke, and more importantly, we got aggressive.  We had guys moving forward, we had our outside backs getting forward; we were playing the ball forward instead of sideways and backwards.  We started to put their back line under pressure.  When we did that, we created opportunities.  I think I saw we had ten opportunities in the second half.  It can’t go without saying that Joe [Bendik] made some phenomenal saves that kept us in it but, that’s what seasons are about and this can be a turning point.  This group learned a little bit tonight about itself.  They learned about the character and fight they still have in them, and I think that they are unhappy with what they thought was three points.  It should have been three points by all accounts except for one guy’s account. We should have gotten more out of this game.  In the end, we had to stick around, but in the end, we should have gotten the three points.”

On whether the referee gave an explanation for denying Toronto’s second goal:

“There’s never an explanation from the referee.  He told us to look at the replay and that we would see it on the replay.  That it was a foul and I got about 40 texts on the contrary so it is what it is.  The referees are there and they do what they do.  At the end, I am proud of my guys and the fight they put into this.”

On the last ten minutes of this game setting a tone for the last remaining games:

“Definitely. They just laid it all out there.  There wasn’t this concern of holding back.  Guys were moving forward and at the end of the day, if you want to create chances, you got to get numbers ahead of the ball.  You have to play the ball forward and put the opposition under pressure.  And we did.  I think it’s a learning moment for us, and hopefully a turning point.  We can play larger stretches of games like we did, then we finish this game.  There’s always urgency at the end of games.  We need to start the games with that type of urgency.”

On starting games with urgency and not giving away early goals:

“We have to be better. Again, another set piece goal. We need to be better at it.  It comes down to individual accountability; it comes down to concentration and fighting through things.  I thought in the first half, we were a little too nice.  They were winning their spaces and skipping out of challenges.  We needed to be a little stronger and our challenges a little tougher on the field.  It shows that we are present, and ready for the battle that is there.  I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.  Those are the little things we have to learn over the course of the game.  We need to put it all together and rip off a match.

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