Simeon captures city title

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Simeon captures city title

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com
Simeon coach Robert Smith called senior Steve Taylor out in front of the media after the Wolverines semifinal win over Orr, saying that Taylor had to return to the high-level of play he displayed in the first half of the season.Taylor rose to the occasion Friday at Chicago State, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the Wolverines to a 53-49 win over Curie in the city championship game in front of 4,700 fans, including mayor Rahm Emanuel.Simeon junior Jabari Parker picked up two early fouls and spent the entire second quarter on the bench. Taylor and junior Kendrick Nunn held down Curie in his absence as the Wolverines outscored Curie 11-3 to take control of the game.When Jabari went out I had to step up and be a leader, Taylor said. We didnt miss a beat.A three from Parker put Simeon ahead 41-24 to start the fourth quarter. Curie mounted a comeback near the end of the quarter, cutting the lead to four on a dunk from Cliff Alexander with 27 seconds to play. That wasAlexanders first field goal of the game. He finished with four points and seven rebounds.Alexander doesnt really have a post move yet, Taylor said. Hes a good player and I respect his game. It was important for me to be able to stop him.Cliff Alexander was a very big factor, Parker said. If he could have gotten things going earlier it would have been big for them.Senior Devin Foster led Curie (24-2) with 19 points and five rebounds and Malcolm Hill-Bey added 10 points.Parker scored 11 for Simeon (25-1) and Kendrick Nunn led the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Point guard Jaleni Neely added nine points.Its the sixth city championship for Simeon, the first since 2007. The Condors had never played for the city title before, not in the 112-year history of the tournament.We just werent tough enough for the first three quarters, said Foster.

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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