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Goossens can play, Paunovic backs Lampson

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Fire coach Veljko Paunovic held his weekly media call Tuesday, revealing John Goossens has his visa issues in order and once again supported goalkeeper Matt Lampson amid some public calls for Sean Johnson.

Fire coach Veljko Paunovic repeated his praise for Matt Lampson Tuesday, but did not commit to Friday's starter.
Fire coach Veljko Paunovic repeated his praise for Matt Lampson Tuesday, but did not commit to Friday's starter.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Despite some fear midfielder John Goossens could have to wait at least another week for his visa issue to be sorted, Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said Tuesday the Dutch standout is headed back to the team and clear to play.

Whether Goossens takes the field for Friday's game against Orlando City is still unknown. Paunovic said the long flight could mean Goossens might not be ready to go on Friday. That would be a disappointment as the Dutch midfielder was a creative force during the preseason and generated chances at will. I for one would be interested to see how that form carries over to the regular season.

But Fire fans have seen long flights take their toll on players such as Shaun Maloney, so it's a possibility the airplane bug bites Goossens too.

If Goossens is ready to play Friday, Paunovic could have some interesting lineup decisions on Friday. Goossens addition could push Arturo Alvarez out wide and send Kennedy Igboananike to the bench or perhaps Igboananike moves up to striker and Gilberto is kept on the bench.

Paunovic did say Gilberto is still working through the calf strain he picked up early in Sunday's contest and his availability for Friday is questionable.

The other big topic out of Sunday's match was the future of the goalkeeping position. After Sunday's match, Paunovic said Lampson played well and he was happy with the performance. Paunovic doubled down on the sentiment Tuesday, saying the team in front of Lampson did not help the keeper too much and players made poor passes back to Lampson on multiple occasions.

Paunovic would not commit to Lampson as Friday's starter and said both Sean Johnson and Patrick McLain are needed on the team, but if I had to speculate, Lampson seems like the first choice.

Paunovic spent the rest of the media call discussing the defense and how time will be the greatest asset to improving. He said the team would likely continue to use both a three-man and four-man back line as well. He praised both Alvarez and Igboananike when asked about their performances and said the team would continue to play for the win and press, even on the road.

On going to Orlando specifically, Paunovic said it is preparation as usual but the team knows the match will be different on turf and in the Florida heat.

Do you think Goossens will play Friday? Who should be the starting goalkeeper? How much patience do you have for the defense?