The Fire suffered their first defeat away to Atlanta United. The Fire lost 4-0 in their third game of the season. Defender Johan Kapplehof saw red in the 11th minute for an obvious denial of a goal scoring opportunity. The match got off to a horrible start in the 4th minute as Brandon Vincent scored an own goal in the 4th minute. The Fire put up a brave fight until the 68th minute when Atlanta’s prolific goal scorer Josef Martinez scored the First of his 2 goals on the night. Hector Villalba added the third of the night in the 67th minute. Forward Michael de Leeuw was a late scratch with a hamstring injury. Playing a man down for 79 minutes the Fire struggled to find any offense in the match, and were shut out for the first time in the pre-season and the early 2017 season. Velkjo Paunovic said after the match “I think the game started very badly for us and we weren’t capable of reacting and adjusting.’
The Fire have a three home matches starting April 1st against three Eastern conference foes, Montreal, Columbus, and New England. They will look to bounce back at home. Paunovic said “Playing with a man down,10 men it’s never easy, and even more difficult when you don’t have a good result. So we move forward.” The Fire have a couple of weeks to regroup due to the International break March 25th. Kapplehof will be suspended due to the red for the April 1 match, Paunovic will look to second year defender Jonathon Campbell. Fans will be hoping de Leeuw can return to the pitch for the match, he is part of the engine that the Fire attack runs through. With John Goossens sidelined for 6 months Paunovic will have to be creative with his lineup. Perhaps central Midfielder Matt Polster will be once again available after a long injury lay off. Dax Mccarty has received a call up for the United States Men’s National team for their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
So is it time for Fire Fans to panic thinking Deja Vue? Is it the past two seasons all over again? Don’t panic fire fans this is not the same team and McCarty has said over and over again “He hates to lose.”