After watching his side dig deep to earn their tenth tie of the year at the home of reigning MLS champions Sporting Kansas City, the Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop believes his team may have turned a corner in what has been a frustrating season.
A composed Mike Magee finish in the 40th minute saw Yallop’s men tie the game after Dom Dwyer’s opportunist opener six minutes earlier, and a battling second half display saw them leave Sporting Park with a well-earned share of the spoils in the form of a 1-1 draw.
“As frustrating as it is I feel that we can turn the corner after this good performance,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com via telephone after the game. “We are tending to get punished for the little things we do and even though we are creating enough chances to win games, we’re not quite getting there. We’re building blocks again, once we hopefully add some players in this window, and then obviously next season, if things go well, we’ll be fine.”
Sporting took the lead when Dwyer took advantage of a hesitant Patrick Ianni 25 yards from the Fire goal, picked his pocket, and made no mistake with a clinical finish past the advancing Sean Johnson.
However, Yallop was impressed by his side’s first half performance, which saw Magee have a shot cleared off the line in the second minute and the reigning MLS MVP hit the post with another effort two minutes before SKC’s opener.
“I thought we played really well first half, we had our chances and probably should have been 1-0 up,” Yallop said. “I thought the first half performance was probably the best we’ve played in terms of creating chances, and other than their goal, I thought it was a good 45 minutes of soccer. I thought we created three or four really good chances to score, gifted them one good chance to score and they took it.”
He added: “We gave them it, but that’s football and to come here and get a point away from home is good. We’ve got a ton of injuries and stuff going on right now and I will say the guys fought, did well and got a result.”
Yallop praised the spirit and fight in his team, who dug deep in the second half as Kansas brought on USA World Cup star Graham Zusi as they went in search of a winner.
“The thing for me is that we don’t quit…and we didn’t,” he insisted. “We kept going and tried to do the right things and moved the ball well. Today was a good fight and spirit, with injuries and with stuff that went on. To get a point here, as you guys know, it is very difficult.”