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Roundtable: Preseason, Dax, Whatevering

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Hot Time writers ponder that yearly concern: how much do preseason results matter?

Orlando City SC v Chicago Fire Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

James Bridget Gordon: So this week I think we're just going to have an open topic and talk about whatever.

Sean Spence: So we’re ‘whatevering?’

James Bridget Gordon: Sure, whatever.

Sean Spence: Perfect.

James Bridget Gordon: To get things started: the Fire had their first preseason game over the weekend, a 1-0 win over FGCU. Nikolic with the goal. Who here saw the game? What were your first impressions?

Mike Tooley: I caught some of it but I keep telling myself not to read into anything quite this early. Once we start playing some of the other MLS teams later in preseason the picture will begin to get more clear. Two biggest things I will sort of be keeping an eye on as preseason progresses are... (1) Who will solidify their spot in the forward positions and attacking midfield roles now that Pauno actually has some options? (2) Who is going to play RB on opening day? Or will we not even play with 4 at the back?

John Carollo III: Tried to watch, couldn't see much in play, but the big issue was the stream. It was absolutely terrible and I could've probably done a better job streaming on my own.

Mike Tooley: You didn't miss much...

Sean Spence: Weird thing is, they’ve had streaming issues for years despite going back to FGCU for a while now. It’s almost like they’ve gotten rid of everyone who previously figured out how to make this stuff happen … like I said, weird.

Brian Bottei: I didn't watch the game. The signings so far this offseason indicate that we are just trying to add more quality and maintain the same general style... run at people out wide. It’s probably going to start off in a 4-2-3-1 that we saw last year, and tbh, I think the talk of the 3-5-2 is all overblown. It will be interesting to see who we get at right back to start, as well as down the stretch. Polster wouldn't be the worst option in the world.

I think that 10/11 players pick themselves rn, because we are just putting out a better version of the style from last year. Bava, Campbell, Vincent, Juninho, Dax, Artie, de Leeuw, Accam, Nikolic, kappelhof. Kappelhof could go in 1/2 spots. The other guy depends on where he goes.

Mike Tooley: I agree with you on formation and that they talk of 3 at the back is overblown, which really makes right back the biggest question mark so that’s where my eyes will be. I'll be skeptical if they plan to permanently move Polster to right back after what he's done for us in the middle, so I’m still hoping for a new signing or someone else to emerge there. I think Accam and Nikolic will be automatic selections but there is some room for internal competition and that’s a good thing.

James Bridget Gordon: The next friendly is on Thursday against Philly down in Bradenton. Who do you want to see get some minutes?

John Carollo III: I found a great idea on Twitter: Play Calistri at right back. He was there in the preseason last year for some stupid reason, but the more I think about it, the better it sounds. Since he's an attacker, he can totally whip a cross in for Niko and De Leeuw. He may need to up his defensive game a bit, but if we try to condition him there in the preseason it could work out. He's also going to have a solid CB pairing helping him out and an already amazing friendship with J-Camp. Also, if we release the fullbacks we can all scream "RELEASE THE DRAGONS!"

This is toooooootally not affected by him being my favorite Fire player. Tooooootally has nothing to do with him being the one guy I always want to say hi to at Fire events.

James Bridget Gordon: I mean, preseason is a great place to try out ideas that might otherwise seem bonkers. I'm into it.

Brian Bottei: The most important thing for the fullbacks is that they know when to be a possession outlet and when to overload the flank. i do not think Calistri has that in him yet, but if he does, great. its just that in a system that demands a lot from fullbacks mentally, he might not be able to get it down by the time the preseason starts to be able to start off the bat.

I think Harrington at right back is honestly still our best bet.

John Carollo III: NO!

Brian Bottei: … I also know that I am the only person in that boat.

John Carollo III: Although, Boyd Okwuonu looked decent when I've seen him at the practice and in the game.

Brian Bottei: Maybe he's our option then.

John Carollo III: Still a trialist.

Brian Bottei: Yeah, there's that.

Kappelhof needs to be at center back in my opinion though, so i think we need to be getting Harrington, Okwuonu, and Polster looks out there.

Jack Kelly: Was anyone else a little unimpressed by the fact the Fire only beat FGCU 1-0? NYCFC downed Jacksonville University 9-0 in their first preseason outing. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I expect a little bit more in the finishing third when professionals are playing college kids. Also, I wasn't too impressed with the Fire's play that led to their goal. It was an ugly finish, and could be considered lucky by some. Overall, I think that a 1-0 could be cause for concern, given the poor offensive form from the Fire over the last three seasons, but more likely than not, it's just growing pains.

John Carollo III: Everything about that game was terrible, from the play, to the goal, to the stream.

Brian Bottei: In one game, shit happens.

It is not until such things become overarching trends that i would worry.

Jack Kelly: Fair point, Brian. Nonetheless, a 1-nil win isn't exactly inspiring.

John Carollo III: I wouldn't panic until after three preseason games.

Jack Kelly: I'm just waiting for the season to start and for the Fire to go three matches without scoring a goal. Then I'll be worried. For now, I'll just continue to moan on about the little things while waiting for the season to actually start. It makes the time go by faster.

John Carollo III: That's just what we all do anyways, right? Or is it just me?

James Bridget Gordon: I'm just playing a lot of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It's a good game. I recommend it.

John Carollo III: Heard it was good, but I'm sticking with my Daisy Ridley to cf97 FM16 run.

James Bridget Gordon: Her new boyfriend is pretty cute.

John Carollo III: Much better than her old one.

James Bridget Gordon: I'm so ready for Episode 8.

Sean Spence: Recently won a Cultural Victory as the Iroquois on Civ V, so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

Brian Bottei: i cannot wait until Dax gets here. he is the real game changer right now. his ability to singlehandedly corral possession, and basically play as his own line behind everyone else is going to benefit everyone on the team tremendously.

John Carollo III: Dax is certainly good, but will he feel at home?

Brian Bottei: Also, that hockey assist that he had against Jamaica? That's his frickin’ pass. If i had a dollar for every time Dax hit that pass at Red Bull, I wouldn't be paying for college.

Dax McCarty hits that fricken pass until the proverbial cows come home.

John Carollo III: But it's all about mentality and comfort level. Reading assignment for everyone reading this roundtable - read Soccernomics.

One of the major reasons players underperform is because they aren't made comfortable in the city. I don't know quite how much he'll be affected, but I don't know if he'll be the Dax from NYRB, especially after that rough of a break-up.

Brian Bottei: I've read soccernomics, i know exactly the chapter you are thinking about. Olympique Lyon used to be so good at that sort of stuff.

John Carollo III: Do you think our club will pay for that sort of accommodation? Or is?

Brian Bottei: Guillermo Rivera posted a really great quote the other day about how dax was feeling, let me see if i can find it.

John Carollo III: If our training staff can turn a month knee injury into a season ending one, do you really think we have those accommodations?

Brian Bottei: Human resources and athletic training are two entirely different departments.

John Carollo III: But the money flow ...

Brian Bottei: I would like to think that since Nelson and Velko flew out to California to talk to the guy, they'll give a damn about his new wife.

James Bridget Gordon: Institutional fecklessness has been an ongoing theme with the Fire for many, many years. And that affects all manner of club operations.

Brian Bottei: Everyone here knows my overarching opinion of the current regime is vastly different from the majority opinion. i think that Nelson knows how much money he dropped on Dax, and will buy a little insurance to go along with it.

I wouldn’t be too happy if I got traded the day after I was married, either. Maybe he is just kissing up to Guillermo and everyone else. We will find out when the ball starts rolling in a few weeks.

Ruben Tisch: Looking at the scoreboard on the first game of the year is foolhardy. I thought they played okay for a team not in game shape.

Mike Tooley: I have faith that Dax can be the same guy he was in New York. He is a hard working guy, always has been. He won't take losing lightly. But damn, the Polster injury is a blow. I know it is preseason but there is never good timing for an injury. But it is especially a blow when its the time of year to compete for spots and get into top shape. Hopefully it is a swift recovery.

{... a few hours pass, and Dax’s quotes about leadership hit the internet …}

John Carollo III: Scratch everything I said about Dax, he's playing angry. I like him. Give him the armband.