Fire-Earthquakes Preview

The Associated Press

Coach Frank Yallop's first season with the Chicago Fire hasn't exactly gone as planned, but he still has his sights set on making the playoffs.

Beating his former team could give Chicago a much-needed boost down the stretch.

Yallop visits San Jose for the first time since departing in the middle of last year as the Fire take on the last-place Earthquakes on Wednesday night.

After spending a combined 8 1/2 years over two stints with San Jose, Yallop left last June after the two sides mutually agreed to part ways. Yallop led the Earthquakes to MLS Cup titles in 2001 and '03 as well as the 2012 Supporters' Shield.

"It's going to feel really different. You go back to a place that you were at for such a long time - it'll be an interesting feeling," Yallop told the Fire's official website. "I have a lot of good memories of San Jose and good people there. I look forward to seeing them but of course I'm trying to win for Chicago."

Wins haven't been easy to come by for the Fire (3-4-11), who sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. However, they are just three points behind New England, Philadelphia and Columbus and four in back of fourth-place New York.

"There have been disappointments this year but we've persevered and we keep in mind that we're three points out of the playoffs with games in hand on almost everyone in front of us," Yallop said. "We have opportunity to make up ground Wednesday. ... We want to come out in San Jose and get a result."

Chicago has gone 1-0-3 over its last four after playing to a 1-all draw against Philadelphia on Saturday. Jeff Larentowicz gave his team the lead in the 60th minute before the Union scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time.

Defender Gonzalo Segares was whistled for a hand ball inside the penalty area on what Yallop said was "one of the worst calls I've ever seen."

"It's frustrating, it's tough to swallow, but we have to keep moving forward and working hard," Segares said. "We've done well lately and we need to keep the same intensity and the same tenacity that we've been showing the past couple of weeks."

San Jose (4-8-5) had been outscored 5-1 during a four-game losing streak, its longest since 2009, before pulling out a 1-all draw at New York on Saturday. Steven Lenhart's first goal of the season tied the match in the 85th minute.

The Earthquakes are averaging 1.00 goals, tied with Montreal for the league's worst mark. San Jose is 3-6-6 against the Fire since 2004 after dropping last year's only meeting, 3-2 in Chicago.

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