It's been a busy week for the Fire. First word of CJ Brown's departure came Monday, followed by a DP signing in Kennedy Igboananike yesterday, and now Frank Yallop has apparently filled one of the missing pieces in the back line with the addition of left back Joevin Jones. The Trinidad & Tobago international has been capped 37 times by his national team and most recently completed a loan spell with Finish first division club HJK Helsinki.
This has been a rough season for the Chicago Fire and the year appears to be closing with more bad news. The Daily Herald reported this morning that lead assistant CJ Brown is leaving the club to accept a coaching position with expansion team New York City FC. Brown, a 2012 Ring of Fire inductee is immensely popular among the Fire's fan base and this news is certain not to go over well.
This match seemed destined for yet another draw before Sporting Kansas City struck twice in the last ten minutes to hand the Fire their ninth defeat of the season. During this odd record-breaking trek, the Fire's 18 deadlocks easily surpasses the total of the next closest club in terms of ties (Vancouver has 13) but the nine losses are tied with DC United and New York for the fewest defeats in the Eastern Conference.
With the ninth and tenth place teams in the Eastern Conference facing each other nobody expected this match to be much to look at. The Fire and Impact lived up to their billing as bottom dwellers in the conference with a 0-0 draw that essentially encapsulated Chicago's entire season in one 90 minute snoozer.
A switch to a more attack minded 4-3-3 formation didn't change the results and didn't provide any more offensively than the Fire have been able to generate over the last few weeks. A few isolated chances in an otherwise drab performance in Houston resulted in Chicago's eighth loss of the season. The record breaking 17th draw will have to wait but the Fire have five more chances to claim it.
The Fire dropped a 2-0 decision to the Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly at Toyota Park. The game itself didn't provide much of interest for Fire supporters other than a first glimpse at new acquisition Razdan Cocis and a possible preview of a line up change. Jeff Larentowicz started the game at centerback in a move that Frank Yallop referred to as his "prerogative" to get a look.
Nothing comes easy for the Fire and a trip to Atlanta to face a suspension depleted NASL club with a 3-5-1 record was no exception. A gritty 3-1 victory over the Silverbacks was the Fire's first win on artificial turf since June 28, 2011. Frank Yallop fielded close to a first choice side but Atlanta still enjoyed an advantage from the run of play for long stretches in the contest.
After departing the league in 2013, former Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshawdecided he wanted to return to MLS midway through this season.
The Chicago Fire announced Monday that the clubhas acquired the former TFC striker on a free transfer, with the Welsh international set to join the team upon receipt of his visa and international transfer certificate.
In the post-apocalyptic wasteland known as The Bridge View, the Chicago Fire is incapable of anything except draws, and OTF's Alex White is losing it...
Like most descents into madness, it all started reasonably enough. After last game's clean sheet, coach Frank Yallop elected to continue sacrificing offensive fire-power (personified by rookie Harrison Shipp) for a defensive set-up that achieved an elusive feat of not-bottling-things.
The Chicago Fire added a new piece to their midfield that they hold can bring some more stability to the club.
The Fire announced on Monday that they had signed Romanian international Razvan Cocis fromUkrainian club FC Hozerla Uzhhorod. Per MLS and team policy, terms of the transfer and contract were not disclosed.
This is a busy week for Frank Yallop and the Chicago Fire technical staff. Following Sunday's 1-1 draw in Kansas City, the team returned to training today and depart for Atlanta this afternoon ahead of tomorrow night's US Open Cup quarterfinal match against the NASL's Silverbacks. They'll go from Atlanta to Boston, where they'll train on Friday in preparation for a Saturday match with the New England Revolution.
The Fire will have an opportunity to reach the seventh US Open Final in club history but they'll have to beat a team they have yet to defeat in any competition. Since coming into the league in 2009 the Fire are 0-7-3 against Seattle including a loss in 2011's US Open Cup Final. If the Fire are to reach a seventh USOC Final they'll have to do it without Mike Magee who is unavailable due to a red card ejection in the quarter final game against Atlanta.
Frank Yallop has added some support to his midfield with the signing of 31 year old Romanian midfielder Razvan Cocis. While this acquisition won't excite the masses or give the Fire a marketable name, Cocis is a veteran who last played in the Ukranian Premier League with Russia's Lokomotiv Moscow featuring as the biggest club on his résumé.
Frank Yallop got his man this time. The Fire are very high on 24 year old Ghanaian forward David Accam who signed with the club as a Designated Player. Accam had other options with Premier League clubs reportedly pursuing his signature but chose to come to Chicago and MLS based on meetings with Yallop this winter.
Frank Yallop met media yesterday to discuss the final days of post-season training and the team's plans going into 2015. Players will conclude training this week and sit with the technical staff today and tomorrow at which time decisions for options and renewals will be discussed. After a disappointing season, Yallop said that moves can be expected but stopped just short of saying that wholesale roster changes would be made.
TFC learns the "Hack-a-Quincy" strategy works with Canadian Refstoo.(Photo via MLSsoccer.com)
So this is how CF97's season looks to end, not with a bang but a whisper. OTF's Brian Howe Battle chooses to wallow on a larger scalethan just the most recent Fire draw.
Fall nears, and with it comes the familiar signs of autumn — brisk winds, colder shadows, the re-introduction of the dominant American sport of Football, and the beginning of the English Premiere League.
With the Fire on their way to breaking their own record for draws in a season, the sober reality that playoff hopes are all but extinguished seems to be taking hold. "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," said Frank Yallop after the match.
Frank Yallop didn't hide his disappointment with losing Jermaine Jones to the New England Revolution but remained politically correct and avoided any direct criticism of the the league and the dubious circumstances that led to the now infamous "blind draw". "Obviously, from a club point of view (we're) very disappointed that we didn't get him.
The Fire needed to add reinforcements before the transfer deadline yesterday but weren't able to get a deal done. Frank Yallop told reporters this morning that a deal fell through at the last minute when the club they had been working with backed out. "We had something really close, that basically in the last couple of days sort of unraveled.
San Jose is at the foot of the Western Conference, but the Bay Area has never been a happy hunting ground for D.C. United. That said, fans are well within reason to demand a third straight road win out of the Black-and-Red given their place in the standings as compared to their hosts.
Sometimes you have to really land hard to figure things out.