Head coach Frank Yallop pulled no punches in his assessment of the Chicago Fire’s 5-1 capitulation to the San Jose Earthquakes on his first return to Buck Shaw Stadium, admitting his side were “very soft, sloppy and bad defensively” as they fell to their heaviest defeat of the season.
The former Canadian international, who coached in San Jose for eight and a half years from 2001-2003 and 2008-2013, was welcomed by the home fans with a pregame display. However, the energy, movement and pace of a new-look San Jose attack made for an uncomfortable evening for Yallop and his charges as they were outclassed by their hosts thanks to stellar performances from new strike pairing Yannick Djalo and Chris Wondowlowski.
Asked by reporters what he could take away from the game, Yallop replied: “Nothing really, to be honest. We seemed not at the races at all from the opening whistle, so I didn’t expect anything other than what happened.
“We weren’t first to the ball, we were very soft, sloppy and bad defensively, and when you play against anyone [like that] they’ll punish you. I thought San Jose played very well tonight with what we gave them, which was a ton of chances and they buried five goals. We take nothing out of this match and it was really disappointing to see.
“It was a real disappointing night for our group, not just defensively, but all-round it was flat, and they seemed a little disinterested which was alarming in a game like this.”
The visitors, third from bottom of the East, were on the back foot for much of the first half, and it came as little surprise when San Jose, bottom of the West, eventually took the lead in emphatic style through Shea Salinas just before the break.
“For some reason tonight we’ve just been completely undone with any kind of movement or any kind of ball slipped through,” Yallop added. “We couldn’t handle Djalo underneath, it seemed, and it was only a matter of time before they were going to score. I thought we were going to be lucky enough to get to halftime 0-0, but as soon as they scored I thought it was tough for us.”
And while Yallop admitted it was great to see familiar faces on his first return to the club he led to two MLS Cups, his side’s abject display was not the one he was hoping for.
“There’s a lot of good memories here, I keep saying that,” he added. “But obviously when you come back with a new team you want to do really well and make a good game of it and we didn’t tonight. So I’m very disappointed in that, but all-in-all, San Jose absolutely deserved to win the game.”