Fire host Revolution, boosted by return of Accam, Maloney


Fire host Revolution, boosted by return of Accam, Maloney

It's been some time since all three of the Chicago Fire's designated players graced the pitch at Toyota Park in unison.

May 30 -- a night underlined by arguably the team's most complete, 90-minute display of an otherwise topsy-turvy season in a 3-0 trouncing of the Montreal Impact -- was the last time David Accam, Kennedy Igboananike and Shaun Maloney were all at head coach Frank Yallop's disposal.

As the Men in Red gear up for Saturday's MLS regular-season clash with the New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. CT; CSN), the prospect of the trio's involvement from the outset appears increasingly likely.

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"It would be great," Yallop said after training Friday. "I'm looking forward to seeing if they all start; all three of them on the field and doing their thing. Kennedy comes alive in the Orlando game, gets two goals, which gives him a ton of confidence going into this match. I thought Shaun and David were back to their best.  

“Finally, we’ve got guys that can make a difference in the match. We saw that [Wednesday]. You can play however you want to play, but they make a big difference. Minutes is obviously an issue, but making sure we don’t get these guys re-injured is the big plan."

Having succumbed to various injuries and called in for international duty since the beginning of June, Accam and Maloney's injection into the lineup yielded unmistakable results for the Fire in Wednesday's 3-1 U.S. Open Cup triumph over Orlando City SC. Maloney's vibrant introduction paved the way for Igboananike's stellar 25-minute cameo, which, spurred on by Accam's insertion, triggered a ferocious and late onslaught from an attacking unit that will be much different than the group that tasted defeat to the Revolution on June 13.

Since the two sides squared off at Gillette Stadium, the Revolution lost five straight in league play before snapping their skid with a 1-0 win over New York City FC on July 18. Despite winning the last two meetings in Foxborough, Jay Heaps' outfit has struggled mightily in Chicago, taking three points away from Toyota Park just once in their last 10 visits. 

[MORE: Report: Fire, Impact vie for Didier Drogba]   

“[The Revolution] have talented players, and they’re a good side,” Yallop added. “They’ve not maybe had the best of runs lately, but every team’s dangerous in our league. All of a sudden, they get on a run, and they’re confident, and they go.

“We’re the same. I'm not sure everyone's looking forward to playing against our attacking corps, once we get going. That makes other teams maybe look at us a little bit differently than we showed them the last time."    

Barring Jeff Larentowicz (neck) -- expected to resume full training next week and render himself available for next Sunday's match against FC Dallas -- and Mike Magee, who's tending to a lingering sore knee and the birth of his son earlier in the week, the Fire emerge from a grueling spate of games fairly unscathed, much to the delight of Yallop.

"Hopefully most of them," Yallop replied, when asked how many starters from the Open Cup game would return to the lineup Saturday. "We had a good performance, and we're hoping to keep some continuity in the team. It's never easy with a quick turnaround."

NOTE: Retired defender Gonzalo Segares will be recognized for his 10-year Fire career prior to Saturday's match. At halftime, the club will also honor the Chicago Fire Academy U-18 team, which claimed the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championship on July 18.

Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?


Ever wonder what a Portillo's soccer jersey would look like?

Portillo's has become a staple in the Chicagoland area due to its popular hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and now, its soccer jerseys.

OK, maybe one of these does not belong with the others. Regardless, Twitter user @JTHazzard created mock-up soccer jerseys mashing MLS teams and restaurants based in that team's city, and the Portillo's jersey is sweet. 

From the Portillo's logo taking center-stage to the picnic blanket pattern to the discrete Chicago Fire logo, this jersey is absolutely brilliant. The only change this writer would make is including the logo below instead.

Valspar is the current sponsor featured on the Fire's uniforms. If the team ever needs a new sponsor, though, Portillo's would be an excellent replacement.

Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon


Fire sign veteran MLS forward Alan Gordon

As far as notorious players in MLS with a history of scoring big goals, Alan Gordon is one of the first names on that list.

The Fire signed the 36-year-old forward on Friday, continuing to add depth to a roster that appeared paper thin throughout the preseason. Gordon, who had been on trial with the Fire for part of the preseason and even after the season opener, signed a one-year deal.

Gordon adds plenty of experience from being in the league since 2004 and having scored 55 goals with five different teams. For the past few years he has been used primarily as a substitute, but has still maintained his reputation for scoring goals late in games.

At 6-foot-3 he brings plenty of size and strength to the team and is one of the best players on headers in the league. Last season the Fire failed to score directly off a set piece, which was both due to consistently poor service from corner kicks and a lack of players adept at finishing them off. Gordon should give the Fire a late-game option in that area.

Elliot Collier had impressed the Fire enough to earn a contract as a third-round pick and an international player and even came off the bench in the opening loss to Sporting Kansas City, but it appears the team wanted more experience at forward with Gordon.