Fire Preseason Norwich City

Chicago Fire Battle Norwich City FC to Scoreless Draw

NORWICH, ENGLAND (Feb. 5, 2015) – The Chicago Fire opened their slate of preseason friendlies with a scoreless draw against Norwich City FC on Thursday afternoon at Norwich’s Colney Training Centre. The team split the match as Fire Head Coach Frank Yallop utilized a total of 22 players on the day.

Scroll down for Yallop's post-scrimmage remarks

The Fire nearly opened scoring in the first minutes of the match when Kennedy Igboananike was played a ball into the 18 just behind the Norwich defense. The Nigerian DP tried to chip the Norwich ‘keeper, forcing him into a diving save to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The Canaries' best chance in the match came in the 29th minute when they were awarded a free kick 30 yards out. The ensuing kick found the head of a Norwich player, who snapped his header off the crossbar and latched onto the rebound, but the follow up shot was hit straight at Fire ‘keeper Jon Busch.

In the 52nd minute, the hosts had their best look of the half on goal when a Norwich forward hit a well-timed volley on frame after a quick cross but Alec Kann quickly got across the face of his goal and was able to block the shot to preserve the shutout.

Chicago Fire Lineup:

Jon Busch (Alec Kann 46’); Lovel Palmer (Kingsley Bryce*46’), Adailton (Chris Ritter 46’), Eric Gehrig (Matt Polster 46’), Joevin Jones (Greg Cochrane 46’); Alex (Franck Songo’o^ 46’), Razvan Cocis (Bryan Gaul^ 46’), Matthew Watson (Michael Stephens 46’), Harry Shipp (Collin Fernandez 46’); Shaun Maloney (Quincy Amarikwa 46’), Kennedy Igboananike (Guly do Prado 46’)

*2015 MLS SuperDraft pick
^ Guest Player


Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz sat out the match with a contusion on the lower half of his person ... Shaun Maloney captained the side in the first half and Quincy Amarikwa wore the armband for the second half ... The Fire are due to remain in Norwich until Tuesday, Feb. 10, when the club heads to London to train at the home of Premier League side Queens Park Rangers.

Head Coach Frank Yallop
Post-Scrimmage Quotes:


His thoughts on Tuesday’s scrimmage…
“It was very good. We had two completely different units from the first half to the second, so 22 players got to play a 45-minute spell, which is always good. I thought our unity, after nine or so days of training, and some of the stuff we played was quite bright. Getting a clean sheet is always important for the bonding and team-building. So all in all I’m pleased with the efforts and what we did against a mixture of professionals and U-21s from Norwich, and they’re in midseason, too. It was a good exercise.”

On the progress of the training trip so far…
“They’ve really worked hard, they’ve stuck together and I feel there’s a good vibe in the group. It was nice to get Shaun (Maloney) back after a couple days finishing his affairs up with Wigan, apartments and cars and what not. He came in and trained yesterday and played today. I’m really pleased with everybody’s efforts and the vibe.”

On his timetable for additional roster moves…
“There’s always a chance of doing trades and that sort of thing. We’re not over the cap and we’re not at too many players. We’ve got trialists in so I’ll make some decisions on those guys. We won’t be making any cuts of the guys we have [while in England], we may talk to other clubs about other things, but at this point we’re pretty good with numbers.”

On the starting lineup played vs. Norwich…
“I wanted to get the balance right to start with. It’s day one. I wanted to put out a team I thought would play well together and it ended up that way. Whether I play with two forwards, I might experiment with two forwards, or one forward, but it’s pretty close I would think to the starting group [for the opener]. We’ve got David Accam coming back, Jeff [Larentowicz] wasn’t there, and there’ll be some tweaks along the way. You haven’t seen the game, but we played really well with the group. I’ll never say it’s the starting group because it’d be unfair to the guys in the second group… Quincy [Amarikwa] played in that group and he had a good season last year. It’s just the way I wanted to look at things. Everyone’s valuable to the team.”

On the lineup’s formation…
“A 4-3-3. We had Shaun underneath, and Harry and Alex pinching a little bit, so we had good numbers and good possession in the middle and it allowed Joevin Jones and Lovel to get forward, so it’s a 4-3-3 as such. Again, I’m learning about our players. Until you start working with guys you don’t know what they’re capable of.”

On Jeff Larentowicz’ status…
“He’s got a strain, had an MRI, it was cleared, he had some bruising in his knee, so we just wanted that to go away. He’s been swimming and working out with the fitness coach, it feels pretty good, so he’ll be back on the field pretty soon. He’s a fit kid and has been doing his running so I don’t expect any problems with him. It’s not a long-term thing.”

On any standouts in the scrimmage…
“I think Eric Gehrig did a real nice job in the back, I thought Matt Polster in the second half had a good outing at centerback. That was obviously a position that I’ve got to find out quickly the depth. Adailton was solid next to Eric. So a clean sheet from both units was great. We had chances, didn’t quite finish them but it’s early. The creative stuff tends to come when you get a bit more fit. Shaun was his normal self, bubbly, buzzing about, Harry (Shipp) played well. Both teams did well so we’re very happy to start.”

On the chances of signing any current trialists…
“As of right now there wouldn’t be an offer for anyone at the moment. Our draft picks have done pretty well which is good. It’s just trying to sort through what we’re trying to do and what the team needs. It’s just making sure that when we offer something it’s exactly what we want to do. I would think if we’re going to sign somebody it would be after this trip, so we’ve got about a week or so to finish it off and see what we do.”

On utilizing Matt Watson and Razvan Cocis…
“I played it as a bit of an inverted triangle with Shaun being underneath Kennedy [Igboananike], and then the two with Matt and Razvan as the ‘8’. Just two guys that are going to work hard. We had a lot of good possession, we broke free, both Matty and Razvan got forward at times, so football-wise it worked very well. So I’ve just got to make sure the personnel fits what I want. Maybe I turn it around and play two attacking midfielders and kind of sitter, if you like, so I’m just trying to get to the bottom of everything. So I was pleased with our technique and possession and thought process in this game. Those two guys in the middle of the field, it’s normal stuff for them, they get the game, they work hard, they’re the stalwarts and the carriers, and they’re talented as well. They did a nice job today.”

On the retirement of Gonzalo Segares…
“I’m very happy for Gonzo. He’s a great person and has been of great service to the club. I’ve had many chats with him after the season. We wanted to make sure he got a position that he wanted and that was good for him. [Joining the Academy coaching staff] is perfect. He wants to be a young coach, he wants to be involved, he loves his club. You saw the same thing with Logan, little different capacity but same sort of thing, keeping real loyal, terrific people on board with us. I’m super happy for him, he’s going to do very well in that role.”