BRIDGVIEW, Ill. – Harry Shipp would love to repeat his finest MLS moment, but hat tricks, well, they don’t come around often.
On Saturday night, the Chicago Fire’s rookie sensation will get another crack at New York Red Bulls hoping to repeat the hat-trick heroics helped earn a stunning 5-4 victory the last time the sides met.
The fourth-placed Red Bulls visit Toyota Park on Sunday evening (8 pm ET | Univision Deportes) anxious to avenge their explosive defeat to the Fire (3-5-13) on May 10, in which Shipp announced his arrival to the nation with a spectacular set of goals to secure a rare three points for Frank Yallop’s men.
“I think it would be awesome if I could repeat that, you never really plan to do that,” Shipp told reporters after practice at Toyota Park on Thursday. “They’ve got a very good attacking five and I think one thing we showed last game is they can be exposed at the back. Hopefully we can take advantage of that again this weekend.”
Shipp shares top spot on the club’s goalscoring list with Mike Magee and Quincy Amarikwa with six tallies, while his five assists see his him top that chart after 21 games.
However, Shipp has had to be content with cameos off the bench as the Fire stretched their draw count to 13 with home ties against the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Columbus Crew, with Yallop giving the 22-year-old the opportunity to recharge his batteries after a hectic start to his debut season.
“I think having those two games last week to come off the bench, it really got my legs back underneath me,” Shipp admitted. “We had a lot of games before that and I felt that my legs were real heavy from the previous month.”
The Notre Dame graduate was rewarded for his early season performances with a place on the MLS Homegrown team that drew 0-0 with the Portland Timbers’ U-23 side on Monday, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed but put a few more miles on his legs as well.
“The game aside, I think the whole experience was pretty awesome,” he said. “To get to play with a bunch of guys that you’re playing against on a weekly basis was fun in a type of All-Star atmosphere.
“There was a good mix of guys, like myself, [who have played in the league] and guys who haven’t gotten to that stage yet or that experience in the league. For us, it was about trying to play well but also showcasing those guys, letting them do their thing because they haven’t really been on the big stage before yet this year. It was awesome, the whole staff at the MLS was great the whole week.”