Earlier last month Fire club president Nelson Rodriguez stated that the club was still looking for an “a classic #10.” Now seven days before the home opener against Sporting Kansas City and the Fire is still looking for that mystical unicorn.
In an interview with MLSsoccer.com, Rodriguez says that “The roster’s incomplete, as it has been.” Such an understatement.
But to give N-Rod and co. some credit, they have been trying to remedy the situation. They’ve signed Tony Tchani from the Vancouver Whitecaps. They’ve also signed Eliot Collier and Diego Campos – but those two will most likely be heading off to Tulsa.
Despite that, the Fire is still lacking in the midfield that isn’t a defensive position.
Come stage right, Lee Nguyen.
The Fire is still reportedly interested in the midfielder. But why?
Nguyen is a proven player and one that the Fire needs. During his first five seasons with the New England Revolution, he had a hand in 86 league goals for the club – netting 53 and assisting 33. During Jay Heaps’ tenure as head coach with the Revs, he built his earlier formation around Nguyen – although that tactic was later exposed by other teams.
If the Revs eventually let Nguyen out of the basement and the Fire does sign him, how he will fit in the squad?
With Michael de Leeuw and Djordje Mihialovic out until later this summer the Fire has little to no options at attacking midfield ever since trading David Accam for some MLS Funny Money. Of course, there is Aleksandar Katai, but he seems best suited for the wings. There’s also Mo Adams and Jon Bakero, but those two aren’t proven in MLS – yet.
Nguyen can fill up this attacking midfielder role for the Fire assuming Veljko Paunovic goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation. It’s worth noting that Nguyen scored a career high of 20 goals in the 2014 season.
When De Leeuw returns to the squad, Nguyen can move to a more classic #10 role or remain as an attacking midfielder with De Leeuw on the wing.
The Fire needs to act soon, whether if it’s getting Nguyen or not. But that this point, I think we are better off accepting what we have right now and hope for the best.