With two games left before Major League Soccer takes a break for the World Cup, the Chicago Fire would love to get a couple of wins and finally build some momentum.
"Getting points right now is really important," veteran midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. "I think we're a few games behind the rest of the league in terms of games played, so if we can get some points this week, which we're definitely capable of, and go into a little bit of a break and then the Open Cup (June 18 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds), it's kind of the same time last year we started to win some games.
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"Right now it doesn't look good on paper where we're at. But to have only lost three games, to really have only been outplayed once, we're doing all right. But the points have to be there, and this week is a good chance."
It won't be easy to go to Colorado on Wednesday (8 p.m., Channel 50). The Rapids are playing well for new coach Pablo Mastroeni, and they always have altitude as an advantage. Larentowicz knows all about it from his three seasons in a Rapids kit.
"You just have to expect it," he said. "You know, it's going to burn. There's no telling when it's going to start, but you just have to expect it. The most important thing is to hydrate before the game because showing up the day before, you can't really acclimate in time. You just have to push through it."
After Saturday night's match against Seattle at Toyota Park, the Fire will take the next week off before regrouping to prepare for its U.S. Open Cup opener.
In the trainer's room:
Forward Mike Magee and midfielders Patrick Nyarko, Logan Pause and Alex will miss Wednesday's match and possibly Saturday's because of injuries. Defender Patrick Ianni was not expected to travel to Colorado due to illness.
With three games in a week, plus the injuries, Yallop knows he has to go a little deeper into his 28-man roster.
"It's always good because guys that haven't played in a while or haven't played much get to play," said Yallop, who likes to look on the bright side. "And it's exciting for me to see them. They're usually excited to get a chance to play too."
Yallop singled out rookie midfielder Chris Ritter, who made his MLS debut Sunday against Los Angeles and played 90 minutes.
"Chris Ritter comes from nowhere and plays great," Yallop said, adding he doesn't want players to "be afraid of the moment."
Yallop added he can't afford to gear his lineup toward winning one of the two remaining games this week instead of the other.
"We've only won two games," he said. "I wouldn't say we're experts on that front. We've done a good job of not losing many. Obviously as a coach you'd like to couple that with a bunch of wins as well. It hasn't quite worked out for us that way."
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