Shorthanded Mount Carmel team rallies by Seton


Shorthanded Mount Carmel team rallies by Seton

Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
11:05 PM

By Patrick McGavin

The Mount Carmel starting five had a different look at the start Friday night against Seton in South Holland.

The most glaring difference was Tracy Abrams, the Caravans do-it-all guard was on the bench. So was Wyn Bradley, the teams normal starting center.

Tracy missed practice because of an illness Monday, and we have a team rule that if you miss practice, you have to sit the first quarter, Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. Wyn was late and thats why he was out at the start.

Despite the absence of two starters, Mount Carmel did not skip a beat. Junior guard Alex Austin scored 16 points as the team received scoring contributions from 11 different players as the Caravan rolled to the 74-57 victory.

Junior guard Malcolm Hill-Bey started quickly, scoring seven first-quarter points in propelling the Caravan to a 22-15 first quarter lead. Once Abrams did enter, it did not take him long to make his presence felt.

On the opening possession of the second quarter, Abrams nailed a long three-pointer. Seconds later, his steal and beautiful feed to Bradley jump started the Caravans 10-0 run as Mount Carmel (4-2, 2-0 Catholic East) seized a 40-28 lead at the break.

I knew once I got in there, I had to bring energy and contribute to the team, Abrams said. At the same time, Abrams was comfortable the team would have his back. Coach put a lot of emphasis on other guys having to step up because they knew I missed practice earlier this week, and I wasnt going to be there at the start.

Austin helped turn the game into a rout by sparking a third quarter closing 18-5 run. The Caravan was especially good at the start of quarters. They held the Sting scoreless the opening three minutes of the first, second and fourth quarters. Austin scored eight of his game-high total in the fourth quarter.

We got excellent contributions from different guys at the start, and then once Tracy and Wyn got in there, they just added to it, Flaherty said. We got a little sloppy at times at the end, but otherwise, we played well.

Hill-Bey scored all nine of his points in the first half. Foul trouble limited his play in the second half. Bradley recovered from his slow start to add eight points and six rebounds.

Kamal Sashi scored 11 points to lead the Sting (3-3, 0-2). Sophomore Mark Weems added 10 points.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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