The Fire is all set to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps and Arizona Sahauros in today's preseason doubleheader. I'll be providing updates -- including in depth descriptions of the goals courtesy of some phone calls from the Fire front office -- throughout the afternoon/early evening so stay tuned.
2:58 p.m. --
The Fire and Whitecaps are just about ready for kickoff in Phoenix. The Fire has released their starting lineup. It'll be the first chance in a Fire uniform for both first round pick Corben Bone and the high-profile trialist Collins John. Head Coach Carlos de los Cobos has elected to use a 4-1-4-1 formation.
GK: Andrew Dykstra
DEF: Aleman, Izzy Iriekpen, Dasan Robinson, O'Brien Woodbine
MID: Jamie Cuesta, Gonzalez, Baptista, Corben Bone, Calen Carr
FWD: Collins John
3:10 p.m. --
Collins John scores his first goal in a Fire uniform. According to the Fire's twitter feed, he blasted a right footed shot to the far post off of a partially cleared corner. Good start to the preseason for the Fire.
More after the jump..
3:17 p.m. --
Here's more on the goal from Becky Carroll of the Fire front office. Becky is at the match.
"In the Fire's first corner kick of the match, Jaao Baptista sent
the ball into the box. After two failed clearances, John collected the ball,
turned and buried the ball into the back of the net with a right-footed blast
past the keeper to the far post."
3:23 p.m. --
The Fire make their first substitution as second-round draft pick Drew Yates comes on for fellow rookie midfielder Corben Bone. I've inquired with the front office about Bone's play.
3:27 p.m. --
Quick word on Bone's play from Brendan Hannan of the Fire front office.
"He looked good. Crisp on the ball. Good vision."
3:30 p.m. --
More on Bone, this time from Becky Carroll.
"He was strong, but was taken out in the 22nd minute after taking a hard hit."
3:35 p.m. --
Collins John's second goal of the match gives the Fire a 2-0 lead. The ball deflected off of Drew Yates and landed near John, who half-volleyed it into the back of the net.
3:37 p.m. --
According to Becky Carroll, Bone tried to play through the hit but the staff elected to take him out. There won't be any lasting effects of the collision.
3:40 p.m. --
On-trial defender Izzy Iriekpen takes down a Whitecap in the box, conceding a penalty. Vancouver converts. 2-1 Fire.
3:46 p.m. --
It's halftime in Phoenix with the Fire leading 2-1. Big news of the first half is Collins John scoring both pf the Fire's goals. Good to see him producing and acquitting himself to his teammates early on.
3:58 p.m. --
Fire with three halftime changes as Sean Johnson comes on for Andrew Dykstra, Northwestern product Mark Blades is in for Gonzalez and goal-scorer Collins John is off for Stefan Dimitrov.
4:11 p.m. --
Stefan Dimitrov puts the Fire ahead 3-1 in the 53rd minute. Awaiting word on the specifics of the goal.
4:20 p.m. --
The Fire extends the lead to 4-1 as Stefan Dimitrov heads in his second goal of the half. Dimitrov was assisted by Mark Blades.
4:24 p.m. --
A little info on Dimitrov's first goal, courtesy of Brendan Hannan.
"The ball fell to Stefan's feet [presumably in the box] and he put it past the keeper with his right foot."
4:50 p.m --
It's gone final in Phoenix, with the Fire defeating the Whitecaps 4-1. Stefan Dimitrov and Collins John scored two goals a piece and first round pick Corben Bone looked good before he had to leave the match in the 22nd minute due to an injury. He shouldn't miss any time with the knock though.
Kickoff for game 2 of the doubleheader -- against the Arizona Sahauros -- is at 5:30 p.m. central time.
5:38 p.m. --
The Fire and the Arizona Sahauros are underway in Phoenix. Unfortunately twitter appears to be having some issues so no word on the starting lineups as of now. However, my contacts in the front office are working on emailing the starting 11's as I type this so I should have them up soon.
5:48 p.m. --
Finally have the starting lineup (twitter came back on my computer!!). Here it is:
Krol, Conde, Kinney, Ward;
Pause, Pappa, Mapp, Thorrington, Martinez;
Only surprise is rookie Steven Kinney at center back. Would expect C.J. Brown to be in there come opening day...
6:05 p.m. --
Still scoreless in Phoenix as the game approaches halftime. However, per the twitter feed, the Fire seems to be performing decently, just not finding the back of the net.
6:15 p.m. --
John Thorrington puts the Fire ahead in the 38th with his conversion of a penalty kick. Marco Pappa won the penalty when he was taken down in the box. Should have more on the goal in a minute.
6:28 p.m. --
The Fire head into the half with a 1-0 advantage. We'll see if de los Cobos elects to make any changes coming out of the break.
6:38 p.m. --
The second half is underway and the Fire has made one change, bringing on Patrick Nyarko for Marco Pappa.
6:52 p.m. --
Baggio Husidic is comes in for Justin Mapp. Hoping to get an update on how Mapp and Pappa performed in a few minutes.
7:20 p.m. --
It's gone final in Phoenix and the Fire has held on, defeating Arizona 1-0. Kind of a disappointing margin of victory for the Fire -- who played one of their strongest possible lineups -- especially when you consider that it came against a semi-pro team. Granted, it's only preseason (and the first game of preseason at that) so this isn't something worth getting worked up about. There's still a lot of time and a lot of training left before the regular season opens up...
The Fire staff has promised post game summaries for both of the matches but I have yet to get those. I'll post them as soon as they come in.