Chicago Fire coach Frank Yallop sat back in his chair at Saturday's postgame news conference, a look of stunned disbelief on his face.
"I just really feel empty because we've put a lot of effort into the games we've had and you don't get rewarded for it," Yallop said after the Fire repeated a particularly frustrating and inventive way to steal a draw when a victory was within reach, blowing a late penalty kick. Saturday's game against New England at Toyota Park finished 1-1, the Fire's sixth consecutive draw. The team is winless in its first seven games of the season, a dubious milestone it had never before reached.
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"It wasn't a good penalty kick," Yallop said. "Mike (Magee)'s missed his last one. Jeff (Larentowicz) scored a penalty. I'm 50 yards away. I can scream whatever I want, it's up to them to sort it out, who's taking it. And they decided Juan's going to take it."
"To see that once this year is tough, but twice is even worse," said a glum Larentowicz, the team captain who tried to take the blame for the PK. "It's tough. It's tough to take."
It was a mixed day for forward Quincy Amarikwa individually also. He scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 16th minute, then earned a second yellow card for a 73rd minute foul, a decision he believes should be overturned by the league. If not, he'll miss the Fire's next game, May 3 against Real Salt Lake after next week's bye week.
New England tied the game when it converted its penalty kick, Lee Nguyen scoring in the 31st minute.
"We know we should have won two more games, and maybe three," Yallop said. "But we haven't, so that's the disappointing part. It's not like we've fumbled through the game and been average in games. I thought we played well today. I thought we played well, we dominated. ... It's just disappointing we don't have a win yet."
Like Fire fans, veteran midfielder Patrick Nyarko has seen difficult streaks like this before.
"It's a little different this year," Nyarko said, "just because of the fact that we are out dominating teams. ... We know we can play the soccer. Now it's how to make ourselves, how to find a victory, whichever way it comes. That's the test for us right now."
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