It was a breath of fresh air (literally) to be back in
Thanks to Bobbie’s ticket allocation scheme, we had some fine seats. For some reason, they switched the team benches and they were on the far side of the pitch, but otherwise all was well with our position slightly north of midfield.
It was a joy to see Bocanegra lead the side out, and to have Beasley, Bob Bradley and Peter Nowak all in the mix. Ten years on from the Fire’s inaugural season, the MLS side’s impact on the national team is obvious.
Bob started with Ching up front, Lando supporting, and Deuce and The Kid on the wings. Kljestan and miniBradley were in the middle, and the backline consisted of Boca, Gooch, Cherundolo and Pearce.
Overall, it was the performance the team needed and the fans expected. Speaking of fans, allow me to digress and voice my utter disappointment at the turnout. The announced attendance for the match was under 12,000. That’s just sad. I understand it was a 7pm kick-off on a Wednesday but 12,000 fans for a national team world cup qualifying game? It's not like it was a friendly or anything. And the opposition shouldn't matter -- the guys should have more support. It’s really poor and to make matters worse Bobbie pointed out that the Fire usually draw more. I for one found my trip to see the lads in the flesh for the first time since their loss to
Back to the team. Brian Ching is a poor-man’s Brian McBride but his presence can be useful. He is big and physical and opens things up for his teammates. I just can’t see him making the squad for 2010, not with guys like Altidore and Cooper waiting in the wings. Eddie Johnson came off the bench was a pathetic. I have no idea why Bob keeps picking this guy. Let him prove he can do the business in
Our defense looked pretty damn solid. The Onyewu/Bocanegra pairing is good and Cherundolo’s massive experience is a boon on the wing. I’m still not convinced by Heath Pearce, but he didn’t make too many glaring errors in this contest. And I know Landon is less effective on the wing, but he is one of the best crossers on the team, and fed some lovely balls into the area from the wide position. Until we find a true wide man for the right side, he and Deuce should continue to share that role. Finally, it was a real pleasure to see Beasley in action. He seemed to have a bit of that spark back, and I’m hopeful he can keep his injury problems in the closet for the coming campaign with Rangers. When he’s in the mood he can be a game changer, and we need more players to take the pressure off Donovan in terms of on-field playmaking.
It was a fantastic 24 hours in the