Freddie Ljungberg's number might be 8 but he turned it up to 11 against the San Jose Earthquakes last night. In addition to his usual box to box play, he was instrumental on every goal scoring opportunity. The other stars of the game were clearly Bratislav Ristic, who provided great runs, good passes and tough defense from the right wing and Sean Johnson, who racked up another shutout.
More thoughts after the jump
I'm sure glad that Freddie did get the start last night. Some soccer 'experts' were calling for Corben Bone to get a start. Yeah, see about that, I will eat my crow with a side of humble pie please. I will also say that if Freddie Ljunberg is going to play like that every night, we should look into signing him for another year or two.
He first linked up with Steve Kinney on a corner kick in the 39th minute of the game. It looks like Jon Busch could have used another couple of inches of height there, he almost got the save. Kinney just smashed it in with his head as Ljungberg provided perfect service. Freddie scored himself off a pass into traffic from Patrick Nyarko in the 72nd minute. All he had to do was dribble through two players and loft the ball over Jon Busch to rack up the goal. Pure class from the Swede. In stoppage time, it was Freddie who would assist Patrick Nyarko with a pass back in the box to seal the deal.
Everyone seemed to be at the top of their game tonight but I will give extra props to Bratislav Ristic. When Patrick Nyarko was having his concussion symptoms in August, that seemed like it would have been the perfect time to bring Ristic on. I've gotta place some blame on Klopas or Carlos de los Cobos for having him on trial and not signing him sooner. HIs presence does provide a dilemma though - do you not start Nyarko? Do you move Ristic to RB where he didn't look as good as he looked last night? Maybe it's time to talk about moving Nyarko back to a F position... I sense long discussions on this and a couple of posts in the future.
My sense is that this is all little too late but step back and realize that these guys have basically been playing together for two months while everyone has been playing together for seven or more. I wouldn't be surprised if the Fire finish strong. Freddie is finally getting his timing down with his teammates. He and Calen Carr have a really good connection going even though it didn't lead to any goals last night. Thoughts on the performance? Time to get the 'Sign Freddie in 2011' campaign going? Oh what a feeling, three points, no late goals... at least not from the opposition! Get ready for Saturday Fire, there's still one trophy we have a chance at.....