Chicago Fire player movement sign of Frank Yallop's efforts to improve struggling club
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Sitting on just two wins from 15 games, Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop is working tirelessly to bring in quality recruits to help arrest the club’s season and make a late push for the playoff spots.
Yallop, together with technical director Brian Bliss, has been busy shedding some of the fringe players in the squad to free up some cap space and roster positions ahead of the opening of the MLS transfer window on July 8.
Designated Player Juan Luis Anangono, who scored just four times in 28 appearances since his high-profile arrival from Argentinos Juniors last July, is the latest player to move on after securing a six-month loan deal with LDU Quito in his native Ecuador.
Anangono’s switch follows the recent departures of fellow strikers Orr Barouch and Guiseppe Gentile, which means Yallop is on the lookout for another striker to provide competition for regular starters Mike Magee and Quincy Amarikwa.
“Right down the middle of the field is always a good spot to start; we’re looking at a lot of positions,” Yallop said on Friday as he prepares his team for Sunday's showdown against Sporting Kansas City (3 pm ET; ESPN). “I don’t want to say exactly who in case it doesn’t work out, but we’re looking at a lot of positions in our team right now, defensively, middle of the field and up front.”
That will be music to the ears of Fire faithful who have been frustrated by the team’s inability to win during a season in which they have tied nine times. Reigning MLS MVP Magee acknowledged that the squad does need strengthening and is excited by the opportunities that lay ahead for the club.
“When you’ve only won two games out of 15 you know changes are coming, so I’m excited,” Magee said. “It’s no secret that the team needs to improve, and obviously that means bringing in some better players and some more competition. Frank has said since Day 1 he’s trying to improve this team, which all good teams are trying to do.
“We have all the faith in the world in Frank and know that he will do what’s best for the team.”
With a striker and perhaps a central midfield partner for captain Jeff Larentowicz high on Yallop’s list of priorities, US World Cup star and current free agent Jermaine Jones has been touted as a potential recruit for an MLS franchise.
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Is he on Yallop’s radar?
“He’s been bounced around,” Yallop said. “We spoke to a number of agents of the guys coming back with the US, and he is one of them. He wouldn’t be a yes or a no. Right now we’re looking at what these players will earn, how we value them and how they will fit into our cap."