What a glorious evening of soccer. Three points were taken at home! This, for me, was the best win of the season so far (he comments hopefully). It had solid play from the new comers, quality play in the defensive end, Sean Johnson being Sean Johnson, Marco Pappa playing defense (!), a coaching sub I agreed with, and most importantly NO TIE.
Follow me after the break where I will basically give sloppy wet kisses to everyone in the organization. Seriously I have nothing bad to say tonight. I'm drunk on happiness. No lie, I danced my way out of the building tonight.The Awesome:
Dominic Oduro: Dom created several chances this evening and had a terrific finish on the first goal. Who knew he had that kind of finish in him? I sure didn't. I've realized that Dom is a volume shooter. You give him enough chances at goal and he will score one. Oduro now has EIGHT goals on the season. Two more and he will be the first player in a long time to have ten goals in a season for the Fire. I hope he gets it. His continued hard work on the field has been one of the bright spots all season long.
Sebastian Grazzini: The real deal. The attacking midfielder this team has been lacking since a certain someone went to Irapuato to eat strawberries. Another stellar outing from the Argentine. This time we got 80 plus minutes of goodness out of him. He held the ball, passed the ball, and helped to create chances. Just wonderful to watch. The Grazzini signing is looking more and more like an amazing coup by the Klopas FO. Knowing that Sebastian is signed for next season makes me feel a lot better about this team going forward.
Dan Gargan: Scoring against the team that recently traded you has to feel pretty good. Dan was again very solid in his role as right back. From what I could see he handled his position well and made a very nice play on Toronto rookie sensation Jao Plata inside the box. Dan has a future with the Fire. Here is another guy that is going to help contribute to the squad next season.
Sean Johnson: CLEAN SHEET! Yay! Sean made a couple of big saves in the first half and was helped by the post twice. Seriously this team has earned more than a few post shots by the opposition. Dear rest of the league: please call us after you hit the post 25 times. Until then you don't get to complain about it.
The Super Duper Goodness:
Cory Gibbs: Cory would be higher but he missed an easy chance at goal. Why dwell on that when we can talk about how silky smooth he was tonight defensively. In the first half Cory had a wonderful inverted header to clear a ball away. It was beautiful. As far as I'm concerned Fire fans don't give Cory his due. He has been nothing but fantastic for this team when healthy. At 30+ years old he isn't going to be a 3,000 minute player but if he can give you 20-25 starts a year he is worth keeping on your roster. There was a reason he was in the mix for a starting World Cup spot several years ago before the unfortunately timed knee injury. Very classy field general to have on your back line.
Patrick Nyarko: Instrumental in the buildup to the first goal. His sneaky back heal unlocked the TFC defense (does TFC's defense actually have a lock?) and freed Segares up to make his run down the flank. The rest of his night was the standard hard working and solid passing evening you expect from Patrick. Easily the Fire's most consistent player as he has been doing these kind of things game in and game out all season long.
Marco Pappa: Worked hard defensively and did create a few opportunities going forward. His one shot attempt was completely predictable and frankly should have been better. Yet tonight is not the night to wax negative. Marco's defensive effort was needed as he helped to cover for Gonzalo Segares' runs. This needs to continue to happen.
Gonzalo Segares: Solid in defense and got the assist on the first goal. Gonzalo was aided tonight by the aforementioned defense of Marco Pappa which allowed him to get forward without exposing the team to counter attacks down his side. While his assist wasn't the prettiest of assists it got the job done. Couldn't be happier for Sega and I hope this helps his confidence for the rest of the season.
Frank Klopas: Easily his best coached game. Made the correct substitution bringing Barouch on for Pappa. The team's possession game immediately perked up and took pressure off the defense post sub. Frank's other substitutions were late game moves to kill time. These were well placed moves. It was nice to see Orr play again. Just in case someone didn't hear me; IT WAS NICE TO SEE ORR PLAY AGAIN.
Orr Barouch: Orr came in and made an impact. He played the roll of target striker well and brought some much needed effort to the pitch at the right time. I quite liked his game this evening. He ended up putting his lone chance just wide of the goal. Still a high quality 25 minute shift for Barouch. IT WAS NICE TO SEE HIM PLAY AGAIN.
Overall: This was a great night. Winning is awesome. Let's do this again soon.
You can find merwin on twitter @merwin_6.