-Sean Johnson is headed to California to join the Fire camp and has arrived earlier today. This will allow Sean to get some pre-seaosn work in for the next 2-3 weeks before the season kicks off on March 2nd. Fresh off the USMNT's very disappointing and lackluster performance yesterday (I know, don't get me started), Sean figures to get a couple of regular season games in before leaving for USMNT camp again. The US plays their next Hex match on March 22nd in Colorado, and I expect Sean to be in camp just before that.
-Good news on the roster front, as Patrick Nyarko seems to be ready to go. he should see his first pre-season action Saturday as the Fire take on San Jose at 8PM CST. HTIOT should once again have a live stream and gamethread up on the site, so we encourage you to join us Saturday night.
-Speaking of Patrick, how great would it be to see Nyarko on one wing Saturday night, with Atouba on the other? The young draft pick continues to impress, notching his 2nd pre-season goal earlier this week against Chivas. I apologize to all of you for the lack of a recap. I was not able to listen to the game live, so I couldn't give an accurate representation of the game. i will definitely have my re-capping hat on for Saturday's game.
At this point, there is no way that Atouba doesn't make the team short of a conspiracy of FIFA/Sepp Blatter like proportions. OK, maybe that is overstating it a bit, but the kid has some real skills. it's great to see him doing so well, while also giving us a danger at wing. I don't expect we will see very many first team minutes for Atouba in 2013, but the future is looking bright so far if you are a Fire fan.
-On the opposite end of the spectrum, Neal Kitson is no longer in camp. That's not a shock to anyone, and it's a wonder he lasted this long. While I am not privy to how he looked in every practice, games are what count and he certainly laid an egg when given his chance. Maybe Frank was in a generous mood after the first stage of camp. Either way, best of luck to him but there is a reason the strongest candidates are still in camp.
-We have some good stuff coming up from Mark O' Rourke, so keep an eye on this space in the next day or so for an pretty interesting analysis about goal scoring and playoff teams. Let's just say that his findings paint the picture of the Fire playing a bit of roulette last year and possibly this year depending on how the final roster turns out...