“I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.” - Marvin, the Paranoid Android
Marvin is character from the widely loved Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, known for being depressed, sometimes for absolutely no reason. I identify with him a lot at the moment. The Fire have won their last game at home, but I still feel empty from it. Though they played very well in comparison to previous games both in general and against the Revolution, the Fire should’ve been playing like this all year. But let’s get into what happened out there today.
The first major event came before the match. The line-up contained no homegrown players, sticking with Pauno’s comments after the last match about wanting to try everything to win out the season. In fact, there were only two changes from the previous match: Khaly Thiam for Razvan Cocis and David Accam for John Gossens. We were lucky this didn’t seem to affect us that much, but it was still a very peculiar decision.
The first goal came in the 9th minute, where rookie all-star Brandon Vincent played a good 1-2 ball with Accam, opening up space for a cross right in front of Micheal De Leuuw. The best part of that sequence was seeing Vincent finally performing up to his ability. He was drafted at the 4th spot for a reason, but hadn’t shown much of that class that was predicted by many analysts (including me). I’m really hoping this means good things for next season, but I’m still disappointed that it hasn’t happened much this year.
Next in the 29th minute, a very bizarre yellow card was shown. There was a free-kick given way outside the box on the Harlem End. Kei Kamara, apparently overheated in the nether region, decided to take off his shorts right in front of Section 8. Not only did he remove the shorts, but he removed TWO layers of underwear (thankfully leaving on the third). He got his shorts back on and ran out, only to get a yellow card. There is a bit of confusion as to what that card was specifically about (the official call was “Re-entering the field of play without permission”), but the Section decided upon chanting “Indecent Exposure” as it seemed more appropriate. These are the moments of humor that you always look for in a season like this.
Back on track, the lone New England goal came from Diego Fagundez in the 43rd. Sean Johnson attempted to put a pass up to Matt Polster, who appeared to look away as the ball was kicked. This caused him to lose track of the ball and allowed the Revs to gain quick possession and try to regroup. And regroup they did as Lee Nguyen laid it off to Fagundez for the goal. It looked like Sean Johnson saw the ball going to a certain spot all the way, but the ball had taken a slight deflection from Jonathon Campbell causing both the direction and the spin of the ball to change just enough to get it past the Milkman.
By the way, J-Camp had an amazing day today on defense. That deflection is probably the only thing you can put against him. He made it his job to shutdown Kamara and led the team with 7 clearances, one of which led to a goal on the other end (we’ll get to that later). I had said before the draft that he was my favorite this year and unlike Vincent he has fully lived up to my hype. I expect him (and his new beard) to be a solid rock in the back. If I had my way, he would be a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year. But, alas, he is a defender so he probably won’t make it onto the ballot.
Moving on in the game, we come upon one of the two red cards today. This one was a very stupid off-the-ball foul by Luis Solignac in the 54th. I don’t know what exactly was said, but he just flat out tripped London Woodberry. In turn, the referee “flat-out” gave him a red card. It was a fair call and Pauno needs to have a talk with him about that. That was his last moment this season and can quite possibly be his last moment on this team.
The next red card had a bit more intrigue in it. Fortunately, I was right there for it. What had happened was that Accam had missed a chance in the 73rd and was lamenting it right in front of Section 8. He then took a moment and thought something that not many other forwards have thought, “What if I just hide behind the keeper and steal the ball from him when he least expects it.” And Accam did just that as Brad Knighton was focused on putting the ball forward when he ran out from behind and took it. A tangle of legs occurred and Knighton pulled Accam down by the pants, leading to a straight red from the official. I’d like to applaud Accam for the clever trickery and deception on the play. Honestly I thought he was the one who got sent off, but watching the replay I saw what the ref saw and it was definitely Knighton’s foul.
7 minutes after the playing field was leveled, Accam decided to mess the newly subbed keeper Bobby Shuttleworth. J-Camp had moved out wide with the ball and pounded it forward just before midfield. This meant only one thing, Accam was going to burn whatever defender was there (which just so happened to be Jose Goncalves). Accam easily pushed it past Shuttleworth’s right side and right into the bottom corner. Cue celebration.
There were some other good chances, but that was the part of the game that I think kind of got to me. They looked good. The Fire didn’t lead possession, but they seemed to be handling business. If only this was the team that played in the USOC semifinal, but instead they play this well in a meaningless game (at least for the Fire). Sure, they’ve postponed the Wooden Spoon and kept New England out of the play-offs; but this looks like a team hitting a stride. Unfortunately it was the second to last game of the season. The team’s won, but I’m still left with an empty feeling that we aren’t going to see a better team next year either and that even if this game shows that the club has “finally gelled,” this isn’t going to matter next year if there’s another huge overhaul.
“I’m not getting you down at all, am I? I wouldn’t like to think I was getting you down.” - Marvin
Maybe it’s just me and I’m feeling a little depressed after my fantasy football team tanked two weeks in a row. (What is Zach Ertz’s issue?). If you have any feelings about this game or any final feelings about this season’s home stands, please sound off in the comments. I’d like to see what other people think of this game.