Injuries continue to be a big issue ahead of the Eastern Conference Final rematch tomorrow night against Real Salt Lake. Brian McBride is questionable with a leg injury although he did participate in light running today at training. If McBride can't start, which seems likely, Stefan Dimitrov will get the nod against RSL.
Tim Ward and Justin Mapp both participated fully and De Los Cobos is hopeful that Mapp will be ready to start tomorrow. Ward may return next week.
Dasan Robinson has a hamstring injury and his availability tomorrow is up in the air.
Collins John is back training but he is not ready to return yet.
Patrick Nyarko is still suffering from concussion symptoms and will likely not be available tomorrow.
Steve Kinney may get a start tomorrow if Robinson can't go.
It's possible that De Los Cobos will play Conde more in midfield. If that does happen tomorrow night it won't result in a move to right back for Logan Pause. De Los Cobos wants to keep Pause in the middle to deal with Javier Morales.
Questions for Klopas
According to Frank Klopas, the Fire are pretty close to bringing in reinforcements possibly in midfield and at forward. "We're looking for guys that have some pace, that are more dynamic in the midfield and right now we need a little more depth in the forward position" said Klopas, "Maybe you bring in two midfielders and you have options with Patrick at forward. Or (maybe) a midfielder who's a little more dynamic who can play different positions and then maybe you add a forward".
Jeremiah White's salary demands apparently were the determining factor in the decision not to continue his trial. Indications are that White's agent was not realistic with his demands.
Bratislav Ristic has gone back to Serbia, but the Fire may still be interested in bringing him back. "He's a good player that can play different spots in the midfield. He's dynamic, he's technically good, he's got pace, he can play out wide, he can play two or three different positions. I thought he did well here so definitely he's a guy we're looking at".
With regards to Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Klopas offered "Yeah, all options are open. Every decision has to be evaluated to make our team better, now or next year. Everything is based on that decision alone...on the field." When asked if Blanco could make the team better, the Technical Director responded, "He's an experienced player. Definitely you have to play different with him when he's on the field, we all know that. He's an experienced guy but you also have to have other pieces on the field to compliment him."
Klopas also shared his thoughts on possible designated player additions not named Blanco. "We're looking at different guys, but some guys aren't finishing (contracts) now. Some guys are finishing in November or December depending on the league that they're playing in. So we're looking at options there. It just depends if it's something for now. We're looking at guys we feel can help us but guys with situations that are finishing in November or December would be for next year."
CJ Brown Not Happy With Team's Mindset
"It was a tough loss for us in Columbus and we're just not doing enough to get wins" said Brown "I think this week of training was set up right but the attitude hasn't been that great". "The individual attitiudes haven't been that good. But at the end of the day we're all grown men, you've got to learn how to focus yourself". There are alot of factors contributing. "It's hotter this week, we lost in Columbus, some guys aren't playing as well as they want to play, we're not scoring goals, we're not stopping them from scoring goals." "Maybe it just came out this week and it might be done."
"We haven't paid attention to details and it's been crushing us. That's one of the frustrations the guys are having. Now we're starting to see individuals who are starting to make the same mistakes over and over and that's what you can't have. Once you start having that it starts to build." "It's the frustration of the season, being up and down."
De Los Cobos addressed the team's mindset as well. "When you don't have a good result we have to think about the next day." The coach thought the attitude of the team this week was more about frustration over some difficult results rather than growing discontent.
Jeremiah White and Bratislav Ristic are no longer around but 20 year old Mexican defender Victor Perrales is still training.