We done won again.
Our cups runneth over with the sweet, sticky liquor that is victory. I've almost forgotten how to react. Almost. Join me after the break as we make drunken passes at our favorite players of the evening. What are we drunk on? Victory~!
Somebody put in an order for bigger cups.
I think I love you, Can I take you home?
Cory Gibbs: On an evening where FOUR players can be discussed in man of the match honors Cory takes it home. His fantastic header on the second goal was just the finishing touch on a comprehensive defensive performance. He was a dominating force. One single play encapsulated his evening. He chased down Sana Nyassi, easily dispossessed him of the ball inside the area, walked the ball towards the end line, calmly turned and then walked the ball up and out of the box all while Nyassi was trying to get the ball back. The little Nyassi was so frustrated by his inability to do anything against Gibbs that he fouled him out of anger. To top that off after Gibbs, rightly so, took umbrage with the little man's angry attempt at an intimidating tackle Nyassi pushed Gibbs in the throat.
Cory's continued on field excellence makes everyone around him better. Most notably he has been the common partner during successful runs for Mikulic, Cuesta and Anibaba. He is the glue that makes the center back position hum. What I'm saying here is you people better start giving this man his props.
Sebastian Grazzini: Everybody's favorite Argentinian was at the top of his game again. You wanted a player to make an impact? Well it looks like we have one. Grazzini was the magic sauce in the middle of the second goal. He was able to be effective against one of the better central midfields in the league. He went the full 90 again. An excellent sign for a player who routinely did not go 90 minutes in Argentina.
Dominic Oduro: He is one away. Dominic Oduro is one goal away from becoming the first Fire striker in 7 years to have 10 goals (Damani Ralph 2004). Dom's goal tonight was evidence of his growth as a finisher. He made one of his patented runs down the right hand side. Instead of blasting his shot high and wide (a normal occurrence) he kept the ball low and easily beat former Fire keeper Matt Pickens (and his beard) for the opening goal of the game. I can't state this strongly enough. This was a great finish from a position that Dom routinely gets himself into. We can only hope that he has found a comfort level from this position and can keep the ball on frame.
I'd like to personally thank all the Houston fans who booed him off the field after their first game of the season. I'm pretty sure Dom has a certain date in October circled on his calendar.
Pavel Pardo: Pavel's contributions in the first half merit a spot at the top of the honor roll for this game. He assisted on both goals this evening. Most notably his pass to Grazzini on the second goal. This pass was a thing of beauty. He put it over a defender and into space for Grazzini to get to and work his magic. His defense was again top notch as Colorado was unable to build through the middle of the field (Logan Pause was again stellar working next to Pardo). It feels so good to be able to shut down the middle of the field defensively. It makes life easier for everyone. Pavel left after the first half with a reported calf strain. Get better Pavel, preferably by Tuesday.
Sloppy Drunk Kisses:
Patrick Nyarko: Another fantastic outing from the Ghanaian. His continuous effort on the wings has been a bright spot all season. As the team gets stronger you can see Patrick getting better. He was able to win balls from multiple defenders are more than one occasion. His passing was solid and he created some decent chances. He also ripped a halfway decent shot at goal. If he can improve his shot, Nyarko will be a terror in the years to come. He continues his consistent high level of play.
Sean Johnson: I always take Sean's performances for granted. He was awesome per usual tonight.
Dan Gargan, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares: Best performance from the back four all season. Sega was on point, Jalil was really good, and Gargan was his usual hard hitting, stick a foot in between your legs self. We can only hope this is a sign of things to come.
Overly Long Awkward Hug:
Daniel Paladini: For his quality second half. While he isn't Pavel Pardo he is a more than capable back up who can come into the game and hold his own. Was physical and assertive. Extra squeeze on that awkward hug for his goal saving line clear off a Colorado set piece. Tough ball to clear out and he did it well.
Currently Frank the Technical Director is paying huge dividends for Frank the Coach. Dan Gargan is paying immediate dividends as are Pardo and Grazzini. Three new starters found in the last month, all at positions of need. Well played Klopas well played.
This was the most comprehensive performance of the season for the Fire. The offense created chances and the defense kept them at a minimum for their opposition. The level of work on the field was high. Defensively everyone on the team worked hard (Marco Pappa your defensive improvement is noted). This team looks to be gaining momentum as we head into the most important game of the season on Tuesday against Richmond.
Now lets get our asses to a cup final.
Merwin can be reached on twitter @merwin_6