White Sox

Fire's Anibaba, Klopas suspended

749754.png

Fire's Anibaba, Klopas suspended

Neither Fire coach Frank Klopas nor defender Jalil Anibaba expected any disciplinary action from Major League Soccer immediately after Saturday nights 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Toyota Park.

Both were wrong, though. Anibaba was handed a red card by referee Michael Kennedy and Klopas was dismissed for defensive and abusive language towards the officials in Kennedys game report filed with the league. Neither knew about Kennedys report after the match, and the club and league announced the penalties on Monday.

The red card means Anibaba cant play in Friday nights match against Chivas USA in Los Angeles, and Klopas wont be on the sidelines. Its expected that Fire assistants Mike Matkovich and Leo Percovich will fill in for Klopas on Friday. Matkovich and Percovich were assistant coaches for Chivas earlier in their careers, when Preki was Chivas head man.

Anibaba and midfielder Marco Pappa were the Fires central figures in a post-game scuffle after Saturdays loss. Anibaba admitted he had a role in the post-game issues.

"I went in to make a play on the ball, and it turned into a scuffle," he said. The red card was assessed for a challenge Anibaba made in stoppage time, according to Kennedys game report.

Pappa, who scored the lone Fire goal, wasnt penalized and will throw out the first pitch at the White Sox game on Tuesday.

Most of the players on both teams were embroiled in the post-game melee.

"There were some emotions at the end, but we just have to control that," Klopas admitted in his post-game press conference. "At times the referee has got to make the right calls and keep things under control. Our guys put a lot into our games, and they wore their emotions and passions on their sleeves. I know there were some arguments...I didnt see anything else happen.

Klopas was critical of the officiating in the match, which was filled with controversial calls. He disputed the interference call on Dominic Oduro, which resulted in a Pappa goal being waved off in the second half, and also felt that Rafael Robayo was fouled from behind in the box during the tense final moments.

Anibaba admitted it was "a hard-fought match and emotions were running high."

"But there was nothing malicious on either end, he said of the post-match scuffle.

With Cory Gibbs sidelined for most of the season following recent knee surgery, Anibabas loss could be painful for the Fire (2-2-2) on Friday. Captain Logan Pause could move to the back line or rookie Austin Berry, who has yet to play in an MLS match, could get the call. Berry was the Fires first-round draft pick out of the University of Louisville.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chuck Garfien on Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox

yasmani_grandal.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Chuck Garfien on Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox

SportsTalk Live is at the United Center for Blackhawks Authentic Fan Night. David Haugh, Charlie Roumeliotis and Scott King join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The Blackhawks look to get back in the win column with the Lightning in town.

5:00 - Chuck Garfien joins Kap to talk about Yasmani Grandal signing with the White Sox. How much will this help the Sox sign more free agents? Plus the panel discusses how much this improves Willson Contreras' trade value as the Cubs reportedly shop him.

17:00 - Chase Daniel said Mitch Trubisky looked great in practice. Will that translate to the game on Sunday?

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

Subscribe:

Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

adam_miller_illinois_from_his_twitter.jpg
ADAM MILLER

Morgan Park's Adam Miller another program-changing recruit for Illinois

Illinois and head coach Brad Underwood landed their most important recruiting target for the second time in three seasons on Thursday night.

Morgan Park senior guard Adam Miller became the latest Mustang guard to commit to the Illini and Underwood when the preseason co-favorite for Player of the Year announced his decision during a public press conference at the Jordan Brand store on State Street.

A consensus top-40 national prospect in the Class of 2020, Miller's commitment to Illinois gives the program another highly-regarded in-state prospect. Just two years earlier, at the very same Jordan store and under very similar circumstances, Morgan Park guard Ayo Dosunmu announced his college decision to go to Illinois -- a commitment that changed local recruiting momentum at Illinois during Underwood's first full season.  

Although Miller's commitment shares similarities to Dosunmu's, Miller's pledge is also slightly different from his former high school teammate. Any program can win one major recruiting war over the big boys. By doing it twice in three years, it's a major signal that Underwood and Illinois are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to local recruiting. Landing Miller's commitment in a hotly-contested race over his other finalists of Arizona and Louisville, Miller's announcement on Thursday signifies that Illinois and Underwood are ready annually to compete with national powerhouse programs when it comes to keeping local talent at home.

While former Illinois coaches like Bruce Weber and John Groce failed to consistently keep, and develop, top in-state talents late in their tenures, Miller's commitment is a significant indication that Underwood and his staff are making positive recruiting inroads at home that could continue to last.

The term "pipeline" has become cliche in the recruiting world. But it certainly can't hurt Illinois to be continually involved with Morgan Park's best players. The Mustangs continue to churn out Division I prospects every single season. And Morgan Park has another high-major junior -- guard Brandon Weston -- waiting in the wings that Illinois is already recruiting. 

Illinois will certainly need to spread its recruiting efforts more throughout the Chicagoland area to maintain recruiting stability of top in-state talents. Grabbing a top-50 player in two out of three classes -- particularly in a basketball-crazy hotbed like Chicago -- is significant.

During his junior season, Miller took the city by storm as he was the state's most dominant scorer. The lefty averaged 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game -- putting up multiple 40-point games and looking virtually unstoppable during certain stretches of play. Even as opposing defenses threw exotic zones and double-teams his way, it didn't do much to slow Miller down. 

Miller already faced a tough set of local expectations entering the 2019-20 season. Morgan Park returns a loaded, nationally-ranked team. There's a baseline expectation for Miller to replicate his stellar junior season. Those local expectations now become enormous since Miller is staying home and going to Illinois. 

Now that Miller's commitment is under his belt, he can focus on pushing Morgan Park to a potential city and state title as the preseason's No. 1 team in the area. Illinois can focus its recruiting efforts on getting additional reinforcements for Miller and his fellow 2020 recruits. And by the time Miller reaches Champaign next season, Illinois is optimistic that they'll be a consistent NCAA tournament presence once again.