Frank Yallop used words like "empty feeling" and "sickening" and "total collapse" to describe the Chicago Fire's 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
He was just getting warmed up.
The Fire's first-year coach and director of soccer let his anger show after the Fire gave up 3 goals from the 72nd minute on to turn what looked like the team's first victory of the season into a crushing defeat. Two of the Real Salt Lake goals came after the 89th minute.
"The first half was good. The second half, totally outplayed," Yallop said. "Totally naive from us. At some point you have to figure it out on the field. We were very passive the second half. I can't do much about that.
"The only thing I can do is make changes in certain things: lineups, get other players in. But once you're playing that game, you're in it. You have to stand up and be counted. Some of our guys ducked out of it."
He declined to name which players he was talking about.
"I've got to figure out who's going to be punching and fighting the whole season and the whole 90 minutes we have and who isn't," Yallop said. "I'm going to figure it out."
"I can't really describe the emotion right now," Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson added. "It's a difficult one to swallow, at home. Can't make any excuses. Not good enough."
Real Salt Lake (4-0-5, 17 points) experienced a similar feeling last week, watching a 2-goal late lead dissipate into a draw. RSL defender Chris Schuler said that disappointment gave his team the confidence to believe it could do the same to the Fire (0-2-6, 6 points).
"We had belief probably, and the fight to complete a game," said Schuler, an Aurora native. "... We closed out the game better. That's what we did better. We played better in the last 30 minutes."
The difference is this kind of collapse rarely happens to a strong club like RSL. The last-place Fire seems to make it a weekly occurrence.
Overcoming this crushing loss will be a challenge heading into next week's game at New York.
"It's definitely a test for us," Johnson said. "We've got to look at ourselves. There's nobody else to blame but the guys in this locker room. We've got to look at ourselves and come up with a solution. We keep digging a hole for ourselves.
"There's no reason at this point in the season we should be where we are in the table."
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