Jeff Larentowicz calls for Fire to step up after loss to Sounders

Written By BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media Posted: 07/09/2014, 12:36am

After the Fire’s 3-2 loss Saturday at Toyota Park to the Seattle Sounders, captain Jeff Larentowicz took no solace in the team staying close to the league leaders.

There were no moral victories for Larentowicz. Nothing really for the Fire to look at as positives. The Fire took their fourth loss, and it was their 12th game in 14 without a win.

“It’s incredibly hard to take. Maybe the toughest so far,” Larentowicz said. “You might put it up with the [3-2 loss in the] Salt Lake game. They came at us. Seattle didn’t. They were content with their lead, waiting for us, but ­somehow they still got the better of us, which is difficult.”

The Fire (2-4-8, 14 points) got two goals from homegrown rookie Harry Shipp, but those scores cut two-goal leads by the Sounders (10-3-2, 32 points) in half. The visitors got two first-half goals from Obafemi Martins before he was ejected in the 42nd minute for violent conduct against Fire midfielder Benji Joya, soon after Shipp’s first.

Playing most of the match with 10 men after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was sent off for his second ­yellow card in the 37th minute, the Fire pressured the Sounders and goalie Stefan Frei in the second half and had plenty of chances to tie the match.

But in the end, the Fire are 14 games through their league season and hit the MLS World Cup break well out of playoff contention.

That was hard for Larentowicz to take as the captain of a team that has to figure out how to proceed.

“We have to decide,’” he said. “Everyone has to go home this week and figure out if they’re content with where we are, figure out if they’re content with coming in after games and saying ‘Ah well, we did all right. We didn’t score’ or ‘Ah, we didn’t finish that chance.’ Or they can make a difference. They can make a change.”

The change can’t come soon enough for Larentowicz.

“We’ve got to make a move [in the standings]. We have to stop ­being content with half chances and one-goal losses and ties at home,” he said.

“It’s not the effort. It’s critical moments in the game when players make a difference, or don’t make a difference,” he added. “And at the moment, we’re not making that difference.”

The Fire don’t play another MLS game until July 2, and to avoid having this season spin out of control, they’ll have to find ways to do what Larentowicz said they aren’t.

“There’s no attendance award,” he said. “You have to come and you have to do something.”

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