OTF Roundtable: Chicago Fire Week Nine
Back from break, the Roundtable looks at some Frank Yallop tape…
This week’s Roundtable homework? Watch what follows and read the boys’ two cents…
“It was piss poor defending.” That was the nicest thing Frank could have said.
As a manager, it is important not to call out players, but in this situation it needed to be done. Frank also said he needed to find players who would be punching and fighting for 90 minutes. Could this be a veiled plea to ownership?
Frank, as one could easily tell, was quite frustrated with his squad, yet some of the blame can be placed on his shoulders for certain ineffective tactical decisions. Nevertheless, he didn’t allow three goals after the 70th minute — his players did.
Yallop is doing the best he can with the squad that was left for him. Certainly, moving Joya to the middle was a positive step, as the young man seemed to pull the strings. But the problem this match was defending, and the Fire do not have much depth in that department.
Center back Austin Berry was traded to provide cap relief, and perhaps to pay Money Mike, but the defense has yet to keep a clean sheet this season, so last year’s problem remains. And speaking of money, the second-highest salaried player on the team is center back Bakary Soumare, who didn’t even seem to jump to defend what turned out to be RSL’s second goal, so maybe he’s the problem.
As a whole, the Fire look completely out of sorts and Frank was right in calling out his team’s heart. To give up three goals in such a short time span after being up two at home is unacceptable, and the players must be held accountable.
“Piss Poor Defending” that’s the line that sticks with me the most. Yallop seems like he is finally fed up with dumb mistakes, and hopefully the lineup in New York this weekend reflects it (READ: Ride the pine Baky). Unfortunately, the final score showed Chicago’s lack of diligence during the closing minutes.
I like that the manager took a dig at his players, by saying the game is 90 minutes; it always has been. Maybe if Magee buries the 1v1 in the 63rd minute, three would’ve put the match out of reach at that point? He didn’t though, and after his miss it looked like the Fire became too relaxed — not a smart thing to do against an undefeated team that missed winning MLS Cup last season on penalty kicks.
Bottom line? Frank Yallop looks tired and frustrated. Hopefully, he sends the message through action that no one’s spot in the 18 is secure, and makes some needed lineup changes this Saturday. The summer transfer window cannot come soon enough.
Rob Thompson is on vacation this week.
As we all know, 2014 is already a lost season for Chicago Fire. Eight games in, only six points are earned, with five to seven lost points from the previous three home games. Good teams have trouble when they leave that many points on the table in such a short period. However, for a team that is mediocre at best, such events doom it to be on the outside looking in. That said, after watching Coach Yallop’s press conference after the meltdown versus Real Salt Lake, I think the team is in good hands.
For one, this year’s Frank talks about tactics and clearly understands them. He adapts his game plan to give his squad its best possible chance to win each match. This is a far cry from the previous Frank’s one-size-fits-all game plan.
Another change is players being held accountable. Based on Saturday night’s postgame presser, Coach Yallop is going to put the eleven on the field that will get the job done, regardless of standing or salary.
Finally, despite his obvious anger from the result, the gaffer maintained control in front of the press. This reminded me of my drill sergeants from basic training who transmitted clear messages amid their fury. There is a method to the madness.
In a lost season such as this one, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon because the club’s Director of Soccer and Head Coach actually gets it. I just hope his players will too, and not a moment too soon.
*Thanks to our friend Guillermo Rivera at Fire Confidential for posting the complete presser on You Tube.
Follow OTF Soccer on Twitter @OTFSoccer