Got to be Smarter
Funny moment last night at the Fire game when I turned to a buddy and said something about how the Fire has several extremely young guys. No more Demarcus Beasleys, Carlos Bocanegras, Josh Wolffs or Damani Ralphs. Almost immediately after noting this, Logan Pause got himself booted from the game for being an over-excited boob and very unsavvy vet-like.
Yup, Pause is this week's recipient of the What the Fuck Were You Thinking? award. Last week it was coach Dave Sarachan for substituting one forward for another with the Fire ahead of FC Dallas 2-1 late in the second half of a game being played in 100 degree weather. Very suspect decision. Very. Why not add another midfielder or defender to hold off Dallas in the final minutes as the heat weighs continually heavier on the visitors? Hey, I appreciate an attacking move as much as the next person, but sometimes you have to hunker down and hold onto the win.
Last night it was Pause, who picked up his second yellow card and subsequent ejection for harrassing Freddy Adu on a throw-in in the 51st minute. It was arguably the most stupid foul I've ever witnessed. Harassing a guy trying to throw the ball in? Really? That was retarded. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Pause's energy. I'm glad to see he was so enthused about shutting down Adu - who, admittedly, was very quiet much of the game - but at some point you have to know when to stop short of killing your team, and playing a man down for the final forty minutes against the league's top club is suicide.
Or a 1-1 draw instead of a win.
On the positive side, the Fire has played tough against the two conference leaders, which is a start. They led Dallas 2-1 in the second half twice only to lose both games 3-2 late. Against DC United, the Fire went down only 1-0 in the capitol and could have won last night. For an overall young team, this is a positive first step and, hopefully, the Fire will now learn to finish games better and avoid brain lapses akin to Pause's gaffe.
On Adu: He spent the first 80 minutes or so hiding out wide on the left flank, doing pretty much nothing and wasting away. In the final ten minutes he moved into the center and looked very dangerous on a couple of runs. Very dangerous, in fact, as my heart came up to my throat as the Fire was trying to hang onto the tie while down a man. I was wondering why Adu didn't play a similar role earlier in the game, but I'm not going to argue with Nowak's tactice with a team on 14-game unbeaten streak.
Eskandarian's headgear has to go.
The crowd of nearly 16,000 was a respectable number and the atmosphere remains lively with the potential to do even better. It was Polish night, not to mention Peter Wilt's induction into the team's Ring of Fire, so the mood was joyous and hot young Polish chicks were scattering about. I'd like to see that attendance number continue to rise, especially as the playoffs get closer. That said, considering it drizzled the entire first half and the White Sox were playing simultaneously on the South Side, it was a solid crowd.
More on Wilt later...