BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- A despondent Frank Yallop lamented his side’s “piss poor” defending after his Chicago Fire side threw away a two-goal lead to fall 3-2 to Real Salt Lake in a dramatic climax at Toyota Park on Saturday.
The Fire’s head coach could only watch on as his charges collapsed under a very late RSL onslaught, with two goals from Joao Plata and one from Alvaro Saborio giving the visitors all three points in the most dramatic of finales.
This arena has been no stranger to late drama in recent games, but this latest disappointing scenario means the Fire are still without a win eight games into the season and remain rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference with six points.
And a visibly dejected Yallop didn’t hold back in his post-match summary of his side’s capitulation.
“I haven’t seen the goals again, but obviously it’s piss poor defending,” he told reporters. “I don’t think we really wanted to win that game because it didn’t show. If we wanted to we would have tried, put our head through the ball and cleared things and be good at that stuff but we didn’t. So it’s back to the drawing board for us. I thought we were going somewhere but now we’ve had a total collapse in a game we should have won.”
Yallop, a two-time MLS Coach of the Year with San Jose Earthquakes, admitted his side were second best to Jeff Cassar’s side, who now top the Western Conference with 17 points.
“The first half was good, the second half we got totally outplayed. It was naïve from us," Yallop said.
"At some point you have to figure it out, we were very passive second half and I can’t do much about that. Once you start playing that game, you’re in it and you’ve got to stand up and be counted. Some of our guys ducked out of it, which was disappointing for me because I don’t think we have done that this season other than the last 20 minutes of this game.”
Despite leading 2-0 at the break, the Fire’s Sean Johnson produced a couple of excellent saves to keep his side ahead. Salt Lake dominated in the possession stakes, 65 percent to 35 percent, and it came as little surprise when their dominance paid off with the two decisive late strikes from Saborio and Plata.
“We’ve not had a collapse like that happen to us, that was a collapse in the second half,” Yallop conceded. “Take nothing away from them, but we should see that game out, even at 2-1. How about 2-2? Not a 3-2 loss, you just can’t do that.
“I’ve got to figure out who’s going to be punching and fighting the whole season and the whole 90 minutes. We’ve got to see that game through. No matter what they do, we’ve got to be man enough to make sure we don’t concede any goals, and we didn’t.”