A majority of the in the know pundits have the fire finishing near the bottom at the end of the 2017 season once again. I say bring it, count us out, it will only make us more motivated to prove you wrong. The more you say we can’t, the more we will prove we can. I will now attempt to give my thoughts on the Fire season. It will most certainly a non-technical from the gut opinion.
First of all, Juninho is suspended for the Columbus Crew game. He received a red card in his last game he played in Mexico with Club Tijuana. The Fire made an appeal to FIFA but it was denied. It is my thinking that the John Goossens will play in that position. It would have been nice to see how the new pairing of Juninho and Mcarty would have worked in the match. The new combination of Accam, deLeeuw, Alvarez and Nickolic should prove a handful for opposing defenses. The Fire struggled to score goals last season, but the addition of goal machine Nickolic should solve that issue. It remains to be seen if the back line and new Goal Keeper Bava can keep the balls out of their own net. The preseason have given fans hope as a less leaky defense only gave up 7 goals, while scoring 19. It is my thought that last year they struggled with focus and the mental side of the game, finding it hard to put in a focused full 90 minute match. I think the Fire suffered from the absence of a true leader. This season they added Dax McCarty, who was a captain with the New York Red Bulls, is a very vocal leader both on and off the field. Given the new found passion of the team they will return to the playoffs.
The first game that counts is tomorrow in Columbus, the Fire really struggled on the road for the past few seasons with head Coach Veljko Paunovic recording the only victory in Montreal. So a victory in Columbus would be huge for the team going forward. It would give the team a whole lot of confidence. Paunovic has already proved that he can win on the road, a win would be extra sweet against bitter rivals the Columbus Crew. The next test will be against Real Salt Lake at home. A winning stat to the season would be huge as the inevitable slump that comes with a long season. All that matters is that the Fire is above the playoff red line come October.