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Although the match ended in a draw, our very own Men in Red have won their first trophy of the year. Let's hope there are a couple of more to come in 2013
Maicon Santos put the Fire ahead in the 57th minute with a shot from just outside the top of the box. It was a nice goal, and it was made even better by the fact it came from a Fire forward. There was some Twitter banter yesterday about whether we should be worried by the lack of goals from forwards this pre-season. While the quantity may not be there, the midfield has certainly elevated their game with a lot of goal contributions.
And that's what it really is all about. Obviously we need the forwards to score, but I am not too worried right now. Part of the plan is to have multiple weapons so teams can't just focus on shutting down Chris Rolfe. And, that's what we have right now. Mackie and Rolfe are opening up opportunities for the midfield, and they are taking them. As long as the goals are coming, I am not too concerned with where they are coming from.
Getting back to the match, the Whitecaps would equalize on a penalty kick in the 67th minute from Darren Mattocks. The match would end in a 1-1 tie, and that gave the Men in Red enough points to win the CCC. The Fire ended the pre-season with an overall record of 4-1-2, and that my friends is a very bright point. It's definitely the way you want to head into a new season, especially one that starts on the road against the defending MLS champs. For those that missed some of the action yesterday, here's a short highlight video:
Sean Johnson was splendid yesterday. The fact that we have come to expect this and it's more routine than surprising shows his growth in talent as a player. He made several key saves to keep the Fire level. And, while this is a debate for another day, Jalil Anibaba looked good too. He had a splendid through ball to Sherjill MacDonald that the Vancouver keeper ended up saving. He once again showed that, in my opinion, he is clearly the best option to start at RB. Alas, my name is not Frank Klopas so I don't get to make that decision. Let's hope that Frank comes around and sees that Jalil really is the best way to go.
The regular season is now just 1 week away. That's right, only 7 more days! My excitement level is through the roof. We will be back to our normal routine here at HTIOT. You know the drill. 3 question exchanges (and usually more) with the opposing team's blog. Game previews. Gamethreads. And of course FULL recaps. It's much easier to do a proper recap with a high quality, working stream/tv feed. While the USL stream was better than nothing, it left something to be desired in terms of quality- at least on my laptop.
My prediction for this season is a top 2 finish in the East. We have almost every piece now (consistent goals from forward being the only point of debate). We have good defense. Goalkeeping goes without saying. Our midfield has their ears perked up, they are much improved (both in play this year and in personnel), and depth is now there at most positions. The likely addition of Quincy Amarikwa and the for sure addition of Yazid Atouba will be an even bigger boost. This could turn into a very special season Fire fans.
As for playoffs, we will go deep. I really do believe that. We have a good mix of youth and veteran leadership, and this team is built much better for the long season ahead. How deep will we go? Stick with us here at HTIOT all season long and find out. 7 days until the home opener. Our City, Our Club. Kings of the Cup. Tradition, Honor, Passion. Got you excited yet for the 2013 MLS Season?