Monday, August 2, 2010

Game #15 Summary

You almost forget how fun these Fire games can be from time to time!  My expectations for the LA Galaxy game were quite low but I was on cloud nine just five minutes into the match.  Carlos de los Cobos visited his pre-season formation of 4-1-4-1 and it played out to perfection.  In the 4th minute, Collins John and Baggio Husidic completed beautiful passes to set up Marco Pappa  who calmly slid the ball home into the net.  Just one minute later, Patrick Nyarko started a breakaway with a one touch pass to Collins John.  The Galaxy defense was simply outpaced and it became sprinting attacker vs. goaltender.  John lost the ball for a split second and was suddenly boxed in by two defenders with no options to pass - and then he struck the ball in perhaps the only foot of space Galaxy goalie Donovan Ricketts left open.  I have not been a fan of Collins John this season but sign me up for the bandwagon.  His speed seems to be at full form, he was aggressive in fighting for space and his non touch on a pass from Patrick Nyarko allowed Marco Pappa to send in a shot where Mike Banner scored on the rebound in the 18th minute.  Some questionable PK calls in the 37th and 81st minutes allowed Landon Donovan to make the score 3-2 but the Fire held on to win the game.

Sean Johnson started the game and has to have won the starting job.  His reactions to the first PK were terrible but he almost got a hand on the second one.  This is probably MLS Save of the Week.  He did a very good job in directing traffic and getting the ball to the right players.  I know LA is on a slide but to hold them to no goals in the run of play at the Home Depot Center wins me over.

While still enjoyable given the lead and the debut of Freddie Ljungberg, the rest of the game had a bitter taste.  We once again hunkered down with a lead (4-6-0 formation while up 2-0 against Philly anyone?).  We did not push back on the Galaxy especially after Demo Kovalenko's terribly obvious and egregious red card studs up yellow card on Krzysztof Krol.  Someone of the team should have upped the ante and shown this team won't be pushed around.  We allowed a studs up tackle in SuperLiga without much retaliation either.  If you play soft and let teams push you around, you will only encourage that behavior.  MLS referees are closer to Rugby Union than English Premiership.  So next game, more fighting and more offense, not too much to ask, right?

Overall you can't complain.  The Fire dialed up a great performance in Los Angeles and left town with 3 points.  5-5-5 is an unreal area code on TV shows and it is just as unreal to think that 5-5-5 is the Fire's record after everything this team has been through.  Let this be the beginning of a new Fire team and the road to a MLS Cup.  It is the only hardware chance we have.

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