Training was definitely fiery and intense this morning as the team seems to finally realize that it's facing the possibility of missing the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history. A full scrimmage followed by some spirited discussion is a good sign that the team is not taking things lightly, but the question remains whether the side can gel together in time to salvage the season.
Some notes and observations:
- Deris Umanzor trained at right back due to injuries to Steven Kinney and Dasan Robinson. Robinson trained but is listed as doubtful on the injury report with a right hamstring strain. Kinney is listed as probable with a quad contusion and a shoulder injury.
- De Los Cobos may opt for the 4-4-2 formation that worked better in the second half at Philadelphia. Freddie Ljungberg may continue to play in central midfield with Logan Pause.
- Options at forward include Nery Castillo and Patrick Nyarko or possibly Castillo and Collins John. "I'm very excited with Collins because he is improving and working very hard", said De Los Cobos. Castillo and Calen Carr is another option if more speed is needed.
- Marco Pappa is back and ready to go. "He looked very good in practice and he's excited to return" said the coach.
- Brian McBride should be ready for Saturday but probably won't start.
- John Thorrington did not train with a hamstring issue which he feels is not serious. The team will evaluate him tomorrow. He is officially listed as doubtful on the injury report.
- Regarding the Fire's formation and tactical approach De Los Cobos said "I need to adjust. It's not easy some times. I need to adjust our shape...our format because it's important for the team to play (Ljungberg and Castillo)." "I need to find the formula with these two guys because I think it's necessary to play them at the same time on the field."
- Bratislav Ristic is wearing #77 and De Los Cobos feels he can help now if needed. "He has an opportunity to play because he has experience at a good level".
Regarding Saturday's match De Los Cobos reiterated the need to focus. "We need to go to Salt Lake with a good attitude and confidence. We have a very big commitment to the fans and the club. We need to go to Salt Lake and fight and play with order."
From the opposition's side Fabian Espindola is out, Alvaro Saborio and Ned Grabavoy are questionable, and Robbie Findley is probable. Javier Morales is also out due to suspension.
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