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Yallop, Fire expect goals to start coming

Fire coach Frank Yallop expects his team to start scoring more. | USA TODAY sports images

There’s been a lot to like about the Fire attack. They’ve created chances and spent long spells of games as the more dangerous team.

Just one problem: that hasn’t led to a lot of goals.

Entering Saturday’s game at Toyota Park against Real Salt Lake (2-2-5, 11 points), the Fire have scored only six times in seven games. No player has multiple goals, and no striker has found the back of the net.

And for the Fire (3-4-0, nine points) to do anything other than compete for a spot in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the goals will have to come.

“You go through spells when you just can’t seem to create anything with real conviction in the final third,” coach Frank Yallop said. “I think we’ve done it a little bit at home better, but still we’ve missed a lot of chances in the games we’ve had.”

Yallop said that’s something the Fire are looking at “constantly,” and that includes investigating if their runs are on point, whether the technique is off, or if something as basic as the confidence level isn’t where it needs to be. Regardless, the Fire will have to find a solution Saturday without attacker David Accam, who was handed a straight red card Sunday against Sporting Kansas City.

But even with Accam, too many good chances were being wasted. Designated Player Kennedy Igboananike has had trouble getting off the bench and only has taken seven shots, Guly do Prado has only two, and Quincy Amarikwa has 16 attempts but only five have been on target.

Yallop said his players are getting into good spots and “trying to do the right thing, but that last touch and that last bit of calmness just to finish off plays” hasn’t been there.

“We’ve created probably four or five good chances in most of the games we’ve had and haven’t had the goal production from chances created,” Yallop said.

After Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Sporting, midfielder Harry Shipp echoed that.

“We’ve created a lot of chances the last few games, and we said to build on that, you need to score goals,” Shipp said. “This was more of the same thing, and eventually you have to try and switch it.”

There is also the possibility that to “switch it,” the Fire will need reinforcements this summer. That could mean the recovering Mike Magee will be counted on for goals the way he was in his MVP year when he returns, or it could mean new players will arrive.

“If it’s still like this we’ll probably look to do something,” Yallop said. “I’m expecting these guys to get off the mark and get going and put that behind them.”