This losing is a new experience for Harry Shipp. It’s not one he’s enjoying.
During his four years at Notre Dame, Shipp and the Fighting Irish went 53-16-15. In 2013, his college career ended with a national championship, sending the Lake Forest native off as one of the most successful players in school history.
Since turning pro that success has continued personally for the fan-favorite Shipp, who has clearly been the Fire’s best and most important player early this year. His goal last Sunday in San Jose is the Fire’s only score of the season, and Shipp has shown growth after a strong 2014 rookie campaign.
The team success, however, hasn’t followed as the Fire are 6-13-18 since the start of Shipp’s career. Entering Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Union (0-1-2, two points), the Fire are 0-3 and the only team in the league without a point
“Trust me, it’s more frustrating than you know. I take team results really personally and it affects me, it bugs me,” Shipp told the Sun-Times. “This is kind of the first time in my life I’ve been not on a really good team in terms of results.
“It’s tough and I think you go to practice every day and it becomes a grind. When you’re winning, things are easy, things come easy. Goals seem to come, whereas now it’s like everything seems like a struggle,” he added. “I think it just takes one or two games to kind of flip that switch and that’s why you keep working hard every day – you know you’re going to get to a point where we know it’s going to turn. It’s just hopefully a lot sooner than later.”
Getting that turnaround Sunday might not be easy for the Fire. They will be without Shaun Maloney and David Accam because of international commitments, further hurting a lineup that clearly hasn’t meshed or threatened the opponents the way coach Frank Yallop and the Fire were hoping.
Shipp, though, is confident the team will gel and the success will come. Like everybody who follows the Fire, he knows about Maloney’s exploits in Europe and saw what Accam did during his strong 45 minutes last Sunday in San Jose.
He just wants all of that to add up to better results soon, because he knows the league won’t wait for the Fire to click.
“You see that potential and that’s what keeps you going on a daily basis because you see that potential and you see flashes of it every day in practice,” Shipp said. “You see flashes of it in games, but for us it’s just about building consistently and putting together 90 minutes, which is something we haven’t done yet.
“It’s something we’re going to need to do if we’re going to start making results go our way.”
NOTE: The Fire acquired midfielder Victor Perez on loan from Spanish club Real Valladolid. Perez, 27, last played for Levante, where he was also on loan. Perez will not be available for Sunday’s game.