Frank Yallop

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Chicago Fire sack head coach Frank Yallop


Frank Yallop is out in Chicago.

The club announced that Yallop’s tenure as coach of the Fire has come to an end, as the club currently sits in last place in the Eastern Conference with the fewest points in the league.

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Yallop becomes the second MLS coach to be fired this season, as Montreal sacked Frank Klopas in August. Chicago’s Technical Director Brian Bliss will take over as interim coach.

Not only is Yallop out, but so is most of his staff, as the Fire have decided to make big changes behind the bench.

Below is part of a statement released by the club earlier today:

Chicago Fire Soccer Club today announced the appointment of former MLS veteran Nelson Rodríguez as General Manager. In addition, the Club has parted ways with Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop, as well as assistant coaches Marc Bircham and Clint Mathis, naming Technical Director Brian Bliss as the Interim Head Coach and former Fire Captain Logan Pause as Interim Assistant Coach. Rodríguez will join the Fire on October 19, all other changes are effective immediately.

Last season was Yallop’s first year in charge at the club, as Chicago missed the playoffs and finished in ninth place in the East. Things have gotten worse this year, as the Fire currently have the worst record in all of Major League Soccer.

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Many thought things would turn around for Chicago when Scottish international Shaun Maloney joined as a Designated Player in the offseason, bringing a wealth of top-level experience. However, Maloney’s tenure did not go as planned, as he left the club after just eight months to join Hull City in August.

After going to three straight Eastern Conference Finals from 2007-09, the Fire failed to reach the playoffs in four of the next five seasons.

Chicago adds Designated Player striker from Swedish powers AIK

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Chicago missed out on Jermaine Jones in the summer and vowed to bring in some firepower this offseason.

And now they have their first Designated Player slot filled with a man who can add goals to the Fire’s repertoire.

Kennedy Igboananike, 25, is coming to Major League Soccer from Allsvenskan powers AIK. The Nigerian-born Swedish player had an offseason last year, scoring just 6 goals in 31 appearances, but has numbers on his resume. He scored a goal every other game the previous year.

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The question is whether the style of play will translate to MLS. After all, Allsvenskan is arguably a lesser league.

Nonetheless, from

“Kennedy is a dynamic goal scorer with a track record of producing,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said in a club statement. “He’s young and exciting, a player with incredible pace, and we look forward to adding him to our roster to bolster our attack.”

A product of Dynamos Football Academy in Nigeria, Igboananike made his professional debut with Djurgårdens of the Swedish Allsvenskan on June 19, 2007. The next year proved to be Igboananike’s breakout season, when he transferred to lower-division club Vasalunds and scored a league-high 18 goals, garnering the Division 1 golden boot in 2008.

It’s a risk, to be sure. Put plainly: AIK teammate Celso Borges of the Costa Rican national team scored four times in 18 games last season. How big of a signing would he be considered if he came to MLS?

Only four teams scored fewer goals than the Fire last season, and they certainly need an injection in offense. But will Igboananike be an answer, or even part of the answer?

Chicago Fire pleased with former Tottenham Hotspur Jaime O’Hara on trial

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Ending their 2015 season with a win over the Houston Dynamo, the Chicago Fire’s ninth-place finish in the Eastern Conference wasn’t exactly where they hoped to conclude the year.

However, it’s clear, after Frank Yallop’s team missed out on World Cup standout Jermaine Jones in a blind draw, that the Fire are looking to better their roster with talent overseas, as Chicago has brought ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jaime O’Hara on trial for the past couple of weeks.

Impressed with the technical abilities of the midfielder, Yallop and the Fire would be glad to have the footballer on their side.

“Jamie’s done well,” Yallop said to “We brought him in to see what he’s all about, and heard good things about his football. I know him from his Tottenham days, and Wolves and all the teams he’s played for.

“I think he’d be the first to admit that he’s kind of lost his way his way a little bit in England. He’s a Premiership-type player that has qualities that would add to our team. Again, it’s a jigsaw puzzle.”

The Fire’s manager wouldn’t reveal how close they are to the acquiring him, though.

“I’d love to say that, yeah, we got him and we’re going to sign him,” Yallop said. “But at this point we will sit down with Jamie and his agent and see where it takes us. I think he’s done well enough to be on our team, for sure.”

O’Hara, 28, spent five years at Arsenal’s academy before moving to Tottenham’s youth program in 2003. As a Spur, the Englishman was sent out on a series of loans, performing for Chesterfield, Millwall, Portsmouth, and then he finally settled down with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2011. He made 41 appearances and scored two goals for Wolves preceding the expiration of his contract this summer.

Nearing season’s end, playoff-less Chicago Fire remain upbeat


About to miss the MLS playoffs for a second-straight year, the Chicago Fire want to wind down 2014 on the most hopeful note possible.

After a 2-1 defeat to the top-seeded D.C. United earlier today, Chicago saw their winless streak increased to eight games, a harsh reminder that their form hasn’t aided their postseason intentions.

Nonetheless, the Fire, who sit at ninth place in the Eastern Conference, are staying calm and reflecting on their season in a positive manner.

Young midfielder Harry Shipp has relished a career-best year, and he was able to echo the thoughts of most Fire players following their second-to-last regular season contest.

“It’s the good thing about this group, individually each game or collectively over the season we haven’t given up despite being out of the playoffs,” Shipp said, per “Everyone gave 110 percent tonight, even the guys that subbed in, Pat Nyarko on the goal played a great ball, so I think it was a good collective effort and you can’t fault anyone for giving up or not trying.”

MLS veteran manager Frank Yallop, whose job in Bridgeview is certainly on the hot seat, spoke along the same lines.

“To be honest, it’s been good working with this group,” Yallop said.

“We’ve struggled to win games, but we’ve not lost many. That was our 10th loss of the season, it’s not great, but it’s not terrible. The group itself has not given up, each player individually and collectively have been in every game. We’ve competed; the coaching staff have set them up to do their thing and they’ve executed, other than giving goals up at the wrong times, giving goals to the opposition and not finishing our chances. But that’s football.”

Chicago trades Hurtado to Chivas USA, passes judgment on own offseason

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When Frank Yallop was brought in this offseason to run the show in Chicago, the first area he addressed was defense, sending Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry away as he overhauled the main problem he saw in last year’s squad. In came Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, and what seemed like the key to the rebuild: long-time Sounder Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. Twenty-three games (and only four wins) later, the overhaul’s proved a bust, with mistakes at crucial times undermining an otherwise respectable defensive record.

Passing the final judgement on his offseason rebuild, Yallop traded Hurtado on Friday, accepting allocation money from Chivas USA in return. While it’s difficult to judge a deal when the dollar numbers are unknown, you almost never see a key, wanted piece of a team’s puzzle traded for mere allocation. With a move to Carson, it’s clear: Hurtado is no longer a key for Chicago.

“We felt this was a good opportunity to gain additional allocation money that will allow for flexibility moving forward,” Yallop said, via the club’s website.The question is where that flexibility will be put to use.

Maybe this has something to do with Jermaine Jones. Or maybe former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle is about to ink a deal. With a roster spot and a good chunk of change opened up (at least, salary-wise), there are a number of possibilities, one of which is that Hurtado, independent of any other deal, just wasn’t in the plans going forward.

It’s a reasonable choice, given what we’ve seen from Hurtado. The only striking part about the move is the 180 – a complete change of mindset from the one that acquired the Colombian this winter.

In making this swap, Yallops offering a tacit mea culpa. He messed up. His solutions failed to address the problem.

Now, in the face of a 4-6-13 record, best to approach Hurtado as a sunk cost. Chivas USA was willing to hope for better. For Yallop and Chicago, it was time to move on.