Fire coach Frank Yallop admitted Thursday that he was disappointed in his team's performance last Sunday in a 3-2 season-opening loss at Chivas USA.
"We just didn't do anything right on Sunday," Yallop said on a conference call from Los Angeles before traveling to Portland for Sunday's match against the Timbers (2 p.m., MY-50). "I was sitting there kind of in a little bit of shock, to be honest, watching us play. I couldn't sort of work out why we were so bad."
Contact information ( * required )
Yallop said his players didn't make the adjustment to regular-season play after a strong preseason.
"We're playing for real now," the first-year Fire manager said. "For some reason we came out flat. I never make excuses and I'm not going to do it now. ... We just didn't get going. You've got to be ready to play every game right from the first minute."
The schedule only gets more difficult at Portland, a team the Fire has never beaten. The Fire has also struggled on turf the past few years.
"We're going to a tough place in Portland, I'll tell you that," Yallop said. "I'm looking forward to seeing our guys step up now after a poor game and seeing what they're made of. We can't have any passengers up there for sure."
Yallop said reigning MLS MVP Mike Magee is still nursing a hamstring injury and might not play again at Portland. Yallop figures Magee is at 80 or 90 percent and wants to be cautious with his forward.
Yallop added Magee has "not really done much" in training this week. "Obviously, Mike is a big question mark right now."
Dilly Duka also tweaked a hamstring and Chris Rolfe has a sore foot, which Yallop disclosed required off-season surgery.
Benji Joya and Quincy Amarikwa, who played well as second-half substitutes at Chivas, could see increased playing time, possibly as starters at Portland.
"I thought the two guys were wonderful," Yallop said.
Repairing the defense:
Yallop and technical director Brian Bliss made an effort to improve the defense during the off-season, acquiring new starters Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Lovel Palmer. The defense was a strength during preseason matches, but it gave up three goals against Chivas.
"We have opportunities on all three goals to get better," Yallop said.
The injury Ward:
Tottenham man Grant Ward impressed during a two-week preseason trial with the Fire, but he tweeted that he injured his foot after returning to England and had surgery on it. The Fire had hoped to work out a loan deal to bring Ward to Chicago, but that deal is on hold now.
"Hopefully, it will all get sorted out, he'll have a quick recovery and be back with us," Yallop said.