Larentowicz: 'The belief is there, the result and the product isn't'


Larentowicz: 'The belief is there, the result and the product isn't'

Eight games through the 2015 MLS regular season, the Chicago Fire already have five losses to their name and have failed to score from the run of play since a first-ever goal from David Accam against New York City FC on April 24 lifted the Men in Red to a third win on the trot.

Since then, a dispiriting 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City in a hostile environment followed by Saturday's home defeat to Real Salt Lake without the suspended Ghanaian has casted even more doubt over the team's dearth in goal production from open play, which, discounting Jeff Larentowicz's penalty kick, has stretched to a span of 250 minutes. What's more, the Fire were strapped for vim and vigor, an unabating narrative that still overhangs Frank Yallop's side.

"I thought we had chances, and limited them to not much, but I thought our energy wasn't there like we've had the last three home games," Yallop told reporters in his post-match press conference. "I told them at halftime that we have to pick it up, and felt like the effort was there in the end, but it was kind of too late. We didn't really make that final pass again, and not just the final pass, but the calmness to finish too. They maybe had three chances, we probably had similar, four or five chances, but they had two goals and we don't get any.

"We just have to figure out as a group, and I'm the leader of that, of getting a way of grinding results and getting back into games, and not giving up goals when you're kind of on the front foot, I think we did that today. We're pushing a little bit and then giving up the goal, and we did the same in the second goal."

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Over the course of 90 minutes against Jeff Cassar's delegation, the Men in Red fired 14 shots at Nick Rimando's goal, three of which hit the target and two that called for top-notch saves from the U.S. international to complement a plucky performance from the visitors and deny any chance of a late Fire equalizer by day's end.

Larentowicz, whose 88th minute goal sent him to the top of the Fire's scoring chart, reaffirmed Yallop's sentiments in the locker room following the match while brushing aside feelings of a sapped morale within the team.        

"The belief is there, the result and the product isn't," he said. "I think that at times, we're a little naive in thinking that we're better than we are. But we're playing better, together as a group, this week and last week, there are lessons we have to learn to move forward.

"At times we're a little naive, I think that there's times when we feel like we're on top of the game, we take our foot off the pedal, and we don't score that goal. You have to reward yourself when you're on top of the game, and we haven't done that."

[RELATED: Fire fall to Real Salt Lake despite late rally at Toyota Park]

In the face of adversity amid a season laden with moving parts, Yallop still finds comfort in knowing the Fire have leadership aplenty — beginning with the club's captain — ahead of two impending away fixtures at NYCFC and Columbus Crew SC.

"We've got Jeff and he's been around the block a lot," Yallop said of Larentowicz. "He's very positive, he'll come out of this game with positive thoughts and we don't get too high when you win and too low when you lose. People like Jeff will realize that it was one of those games were we couldn't just get it together, we lost, you got to pick yourself and get ready for the next two games, which are away from home and that's always tough in our league. Funny things happen, we'll have two games away and maybe get a result like Salt Lake did to us."

Chicago Fire's 'MLS is Back' opening match postponed due to COVID-19

Chicago Fire's 'MLS is Back' opening match postponed due to COVID-19

MLS announced on Tuesday that the Chicago Fire’s first game back after the season was suspended due to COVID-19 has been postponed.

The Fire were supposed to play Nashville SC on Wednesday in their opening Group A match of the MLS is Back tournament. But since arriving in Orlando for the tournament, five Nashville players tested positive for COVID-19 and four others received inclusive results, requiring more testing. As a result, MLS is now evaluating Nashville’s participation in the tournament.

The Fire will now return to play on July 14 against Inter Miami CF.

The Fire also announced that the Drive-In Matchday event that was scheduled for Wednesday’s game has been rescheduled for their July 19 game against New York City FC. Fans who registered for that event will have the opportunity to sign-up again for the new date.

This is the second Chicago pro sports match altered as leagues try to return to play. The Chicago Red Stars also had a game cancelled in late June due to Orlando Pride players testing positive for COVID-19.

As MLB, the NHL and the NBA gear up to return it remains to be seen how they will react in a similar situation.

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MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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