Accam ready to take knocks from opponents

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David Accam has always been one of the fastest players on the field. He’s used to opposing defenders using any means necessary to stop his runs, even if that means taking him to the ground and fouling him.

It’s something that has continued early in Accam’s MLS career with the Fire (3-3-0, nine points), and something that doesn’t seem to alarm the Designated Player even as he becomes the focal point for opponents.

“I think it’s normal for a player like me, because I’m a skillful player and a lot of defenders will try to bring me down,” Accam said. “It’s an advantage for the team. For me, I know I’ll just keep getting the knocks, so I just need to keep working hard.”

Entering Sunday’s game at Sporting Kansas City (2-2-4, 10 points), Accam has been the exciting and dynamic player the Fire expected and needed. He’s shown the ability to be something of a one-man counter attack, tilting the field with his speed and providing an outlet if one of his teammates is in trouble with the ball.

That, of course, has plenty of advantages. There aren’t many defenders in MLS who can keep up with Accam when he has a full head of speed, leading to desperate tackles like the one New York City FC’s Andrew Jacobson executed last week for a straight red card that gave the Fire a man advantage for most of the match and led to their third straight win.

Those tackles, however, can be dangerous for a player as speedy as Accam. Other than his attacks from the wings, one of the most common sights of Accam has been him down on the ground and in pain after a challenge from an opponent.

Fortunately for the Fire and their fans who have taken to his style of play, Accam has generally popped up quickly and ready for play to continue.

“I just think the quickness of David is catching a few people by surprise and they’re kind of fouling him. He’s tough and ready for it. He’s fine,” Fire coach Frank Yallop said. “It’s part of the game, and I’m sure teams are going to focus in on trying to stop David, and fouling’s part of the game. We’ve just got to be ready for that.

“He’s not complaining. He’s fine.”

NOTE: Midfielder Michael Stephens (ankle) isn’t expected to travel for Sunday’s match. Stephens hasn’t played since leaving eight minutes into the Fire’s win over Toronto on April 4.

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