James Bridget Gordon: Happy Monday, everyone! The Fire won! And it was probably their best performance of the season!
How are we feeling?
Ruben Tisch: I like winning.
James Bridget: Hey, same!
Ruben: I find that it took this long to get it right from a lineup astandpoint a bit disturbing, especially since everyone in the Fire community called this lineup the best XI before the season started.
James Bridget: On the other hand, Toronto has a much stronger roster than we do on paper and they’re bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Obviously I’m not disputing your central point that the Fire took way too long to pop their clutch. But, you know, context.
Ruben: They’re compromised by the Champions League, though.
James Bridget: I don’t know, the Red Bulls had a deep CCL run too but they’re doing ok. I don’t doubt that it’s a factor but with the depth and quality Toronto has, they should’ve been able to handle it.
Ruben: That’s thanks to how good their academy is and how successful they are ad finding talent at the end of the bench. NYRB 2 is better than TFC 2.
James Bridget: I don’t know, I think there’s more going on with Toronto than just fixture overload.
Adnan Bašić: We won’t see as bad of a Toronto team that lined up against Houston, but at least we won’t probably have to deal with Jozy or Giovinco.
James Bridget: We can talk about the upcoming game with Toronto a little later, right now I want to focus on the win over the Red Bulls.
Adnan: What a game that was.
I think the biggest thing was that Pauno finally got his starting XI correct. Giving Adams his debut at Red Bull Arena was a risky decision but it paid off.
James Bridget: I was relieved to see Katai start. I would’ve really soured on Pauno if that didn’t happen, because it would’ve demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that he was willing to let the team tank in service to a personal beef.
Adnan: Yup now we’ve just gotta hope that whole situation is in the past because Katai was especially good. Obviously the volley and winning the penalty were great but he just adds so much to the attack with his technical ability.
Saul Garcia: Mo, Katai and Sanchez played really well, tchani should not start willingly again.
James Bridget: I’m really happy to have seen Sanchez turn a corner. It’s been building for a few games now but he was just heroic against RBNY. I’ve given him a lot of crap and I’m very happy to eat some crow right now.
Adnan: Hopefully Sanchez can make sure we don’t throw a DP contract at Casillas
Saul: That would be a bad idea. Iker was bad at Porto.
Also, the defense is not as bad as many fans seem to think it is.
James Bridget: It’s not great right now, though. If it were doing okay they wouldn’t have had to drop Basti back.
They never got around to replacing Joao Meira in the offseason, and that plus injuries means that the back line has struggled. Sure, some folks in Fire fandom are being needlessly doom-and-gloom about it, but “not as bad” is kind of a loaded term.
You know who was pretty good though? Mo Adams. I’d actually argue that Mo playing as our D-Mid was part of why the defense fared better this week. His work shielding the backline and forcing turnovers was just phenomenal.
Adnan: Lillard made a couple of mistakes that could’ve lead to goals but I really do think he has a future. Mo and Dax as a double CDM combo did a really good job of protecting the backline.
Ruben: They did look good. And I was impressed. The defensive machine is getting better, and Adams has a lot to do with that.
James Bridget: So let’s talk Toronto. How are we feeling about the game next weekend?
Adnan: I’m afraid to get excited, but I’ve got a good feeling the fire that ride a bit of momentum against a Toronto team that will be tired after a grueling CONCACAF CL campaign.
Fire 2 (Niko, Katai) Toronto 1 (Aketxe)
Saul: Excited, Pauno keeps same squad I can see a win, 2-0.
Ruben: 9-0 Fire. Or Something.
James Bridget: smh
I’m going to say 2-1 Fires and one of our goals will be kinda flukey.
Adnan: My one change would be Conner for Ellis. Because Ellis gave the ball away too often for my liking and doesn’t offer as much going forward as Drew does.
James Bridget: That sounds about right. I’d also leave Tchani on the bench and then send Gordon to Tulsa.
I don’t mean like, have him play for the Roughnecks. I mean literally just drop him off in Tulsa and then leave him there.
Saul: Or give Ramos a shot, he can get vertical, but is a bit of a hot head.
James Bridget: We do like Hot Heads at Hot Time.
And then before we do the shift change, I want to talk about the new stadium name deal. Specifically, we gotta start workshopping a new nickname. I saw “The Geek” being floated on CF97 Twitter and that’s pretty good, but I feel like we can do better.
Ruben: HomerYellingNerds.gif Park.
James Bridget: Listen you,
Ruben: Seriously, I like The Firehouse.
James Bridget: I mean, same, but SeatGeek Stadium is just too ripe with possibilities for hilarity.
Claire Watkins: Ok y’all, hear me out.
SeatGeek is for sure gonna just end up being shortened to SG Stadium in conversation eventually.
SG. S(cam) G(ang). Scam Gang Stadium.
Ruben: Bump and +1
Claire: It’s meant to be.
James Bridget: YES
Honestly I think the Fire should buy into the Scam Gang thing and adopt a flavor of it as their identity. And one great way to hammer that point home is Scam Gang Stadium.
Claire: I would say, in general, my WoSo bristles go up at the idea of a nickname that only favors the Fire. Gotta be something that works for both or what are we even doing here.
James Bridget: I’m inclined to agree. And I think the only folks who would really object to that are the “WOSO SUX” crowd in CF97 Fandom and, well, fuck ‘em.
(Except don’t, because they’re gross.)
Ruben: We can have multiple nicknames. We can write them all on a large tapestry and have someone announce them. Like a Herald.
James Bridget: But realistically one of them is going to catch on.
Ruben: And it will be, of course, Homer Simpson Yells Nerds dot gif Park.
Claire: I don’t mind The Geek. Better than The Seat I guess.
James Bridget: There are going to be so many Magic Missile jokes.
Ruben: A friend of mine called Guaranteed Rate Field “The G-Spot.” We are no longer friends.
James Bridget: Tough but fair.
Alright well we’ve got time to figure this out. For now: shift change!
My friends, the Scam Van ran out of gas on Saturday. The Gang could only manage a draw.
Claire: I’d like to think they achieved a draw, but you’re right, a few more lucky bounces and CRS gets all three this weekend.
James Bridget: That’s totally fair. I don’t want to undersell their achievement here, seven points from their last three games while fielding their B-team is pretty great.
Claire: When the second half hit, it was definitely clear that the lack of available subs was going to be an issue.
James Bridget: Yeeeeeeup. Injuries plus weird league rules about roster size and academy call-ups make this a really difficult spot to be in.
Claire: Yeah, especially with the players CRS have on the 45-day DL, they’re restricted in what they can do in calling up replacements. I think the game plan on Saturday was probably to bring Comeau in as an impact player, but that blew up right before kickoff.
James Bridget: Yeah, I hope whatever’s up with Sam Johnson isn’t serious or long-term.
Claire: Same. The Red Stars have been consolidating well, but holding it together is only gonna get harder.
But hey, Sam Kerr graced Scam Gang Stadium with her presence on Saturday, even if just on the bench. Look out everybody she back.
James Bridget: Heck yeah, Future BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year is here and ready to scam.
Claire: I promise this isn’t shade, but I really love how active Kerr has been in cheering everyone on so far, and going straight to Bridgeview immediately after flying in means a lot
Rosie White’s been in town for a bit too, don’t want to forget her.
James Bridget: Absolutely. I’m just really excited to have them both in the team soon.
Claire: And Julie Ertz maybe! Off the bench. I can’t wait.
James Bridget: Ugh, it’s going to be so good. I also can’t wait for Casey Short to be back, that’s going to be a party.
Claire: Yessss. And then Arin Gillilands true reign of terror can finally begin.
James Bridget: This city isn’t ready for Scam Gang in its final form.
Claire: As Kerr’s arrival does feel like the beginning of a new chapter, I want to shout out Sofia Huerta. There’s one game left but she’s player of the month in my opinion.
James Bridget: She’s been phenomenal and I would vote for her for president. Of anything, I don’t even care.