Sunday night’s 2-0 win over F.C. Dallas was a bit closer to what Fire coach Frank Yallop envisioned. It’s just a vision that’s rarely been realized.
David Accam used his speed to score in the fourth minute and gave Dallas fits all game. With Jeff Larentowicz back from a neck injury, the defenders looked like a cohesive unit and were able to absorb pressure and hold on after Matt Watson’s red card in the 79th minute. Though Mike Magee (right knee) and Gilberto (immigration) were absent, the Fire inched closer to full-strength and clearly outplayed a Dallas team that had won five straight.
“When we have our team, we’re pretty good,” Yallop said. “Tonight, you saw our guys.”
Unfortunately for them, the Fire haven’t had most of their guys over long stretches. Whether it’s been due to injury or international call-ups, the Fire (6-11-4, 22 points), haven’t been able to say they’ve played their best 11 together.
The price has been steep for the Fire, who won for the second time in 10 games and climbed out of last place in MLS and to within five points of Montreal for a playoff spot. But if that lowly outlook is frustrating Larentowicz, he did a good job of hiding it.
“The past is the past,” said Larentowicz, who made his first appearance since June 24. “We’ve got games ahead of us we’ve got to win. That’s it.”
Because of their struggles, the Fire will have to win plenty of their remaining 13 games to make the playoffs. Though that looks like a longshot, the Fire gave their fans some hope it could be possible with a win Shaun Maloney sealed on his 85th minute penalty kick.
“For me, I always say we have a lot of quality and talent on this team,” Accam said. “We just need to get our things right and keep working hard and I think this win can push us to great things.”
Yallop has stressed the main thing would be getting his team on the field. Sunday showed he could be onto something, albeit with not much time left.
“It is what it is through the season. Yeah, we haven’t won enough games but I know why,” Yallop said. “I think we proved tonight that we ain’t a bad side against a very, very good team in Dallas. I thought we deserved to win.”