Fire players Gonzalo Segares, Jon Busch and Logan Pause were all named to their respective national team's rosters for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Segares's call up to the Costa Rican national squad was fully expected but the naming of Pause and Busch (neither of whom was named to the U.S.'s 30-man preliminary roster) to the U.S. roster must have come as somewhat of a surprise to the Fire.
The call-ups leave the Fire in somewhat of a bind as well as the three players could (and likely will, considering they play for CONCACAF's top two sides...) be away from the Fire for the rest of June and the entirety of July, a stretch that could include up to eight matches.
"It's tough," said starting left back Segares on the prospect of being away from the club. "It's hard to leave my team but I think there are guys that will step up and do a good job."
Personally, I think that the call ups (combined with some key injuries) put the Fire in quite the bind. Hopefully some players step up and fill in admirably for the Fire but no matter how well the replacements do, they will struggle to replace Busch, Segares and Pause; three of the Fire's most important defensive players.
Here is a more in depth look at the departing players and some likely replacements...
**Position -- Goalkeeper**
Departing Player - Jon Busch
Likely replacement - Andrew Dykstra
I actually feel pretty confident that there won't be too much of a drop off in terms of quality here. Dykstra works extremely hard in training and he'll get a chance to show off his great shot stopping ability in the next month.
The one unknown for me as far as Dykstra goes is his ability to deal with crosses. I haven't seen enough of him to know his skill in this area but given the tenacity he shows in training I suspect that at the very least he won't be afraid to go up in the air and get the ball.
Also, we'll see how Dykstra does in terms of organizing the back line. This is an area that Busch does well in but I think that Dykstra will be able to step in well here as he is certainly a pretty vocal player in training.
**Position - Left Back**
Departing player - Gonzalo Segares
Likely replacement - Brandon Prideaux
Prideaux has proven himself an able defender over the years so I don't expect very much of a drop off in terms of the back four. However, Prideaux won't bring the attacking prowess that Segares offers. As a result, the Fire's left wing (whether it be Chris Rolfe, Marco Pappa or Justin Mapp) will have to step up a little with Segares gone.
Another player we may get a chance to see in Segares's spot is Daniel Woolard.
"I'm sure that he's hungry to get some minutes," said Segares on Woolard. "I think last year he did well and he's been out for so long that he wants to get on the field and prove that he can contribute. I trust that he will do a great job."
**Position - Center midfielder**
Departing player - Logan Pause
A possible replacement... - Baggio Husidic
Who will replace Logan Pause in his central defensive midfielder role is a little puzzling to me, especially with John Thorrington still out injured. I know that Baggio has some experience playing in the role so he may get a look.
Another possible replacement could be normal right-back Tim Ward. He has played in the center midfield in the last two games so seeing him there would certainly not be a stretch. Should Ward be placed in the center mid spot look for Austin Washington or (possibly...) Dasan Robinson to get the nod at right back.