Fire Reserves win, Johnson set to return, and Aston Villa Friendly

The Fire opened up MLS Reserve League play with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.  The lone goal was scored in the 8th minute as Corben Bone volleyed home a ball that was headed in his direction after a throw in.  Bone played well throughout the match on both ends of the field and Frank Klopas was happy to see the Fire bench produce in order to stay ready when called up during the regular season.  "He (Bone) looked very good today and I think he's pushing, you always have to make some difficult choices.  It's good to see that in games like this that guys come out and have a very good match, all the guys are sharp and ready to play and ready to step in and contribute if they're called upon.  During the season they will be, that's why these games are important for everyone to use this to push themselves so that they're ready," said Frank Klopas after the match.

The starting back line saw three Fire 2012 draft picks accompanied by a 2010 pick, come together to maintain a clean sheet.  Tony Walls, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Austin Berry, and Hunter Jumper all had good moments during the match.  "We saw Austin, Hunter, and Tony in the back and they were solid," said Klopas.

Fire Line-Up

GK Nolly

D Walls, Watson-Siriboe, Berry, Jumper

M Robayo (Pineda 63'), Paladini, Bone, Videira

F Barouch (Mkosana 70'), Puppo (59')

Subs not used: Tornaghi, Keaton Albert, Luis Baraja, Kellen Gulley

Sean Johnson Returns Tomorrow

Fresh off of last night's disappointing Olympic qualifying disaster with the US U-23 squad, Sean Johnson will return to the Fire tomorrow.  Klopas expressed confidence in his 'keeper but has not yet decided on his status for this weekend's match.  "Sean is an excellent goalkeeper," said Klopas.  "It's hard to deal with last night but you have to look at all the other games that they've had.  It's a team.  I feel bad for the team.  It's unfortunate and I'm sure they're going to be disappointed.  Sean is an excellent young goalkeeper, that's all I can tell you."

"Right now I'm going to wait and see how Sean is tomorrow and then we'll go from there.  It's unfortunate the way things went because it's everyone's dream to be part of the Olympics.  They came short but he'll be back with us and we'll sit down and speak with him tomorrow," said Klopas.

Aston Villa Friendly 

The Fire announced today that they will be hosting Premier League side Aston Villa in an international friendly at Toyota Park on July 21.  The match is part of season ticket packages and will be designated as "Bonus Game 1".  Individual tickets are on sale to now.  Villa currently sits 15th in the Premier League table.


  • CJ Brown was on the bench for Real Salt Lake today ahead of his return with RSL on May 9, at which time he will be inducted into the Ring of Fire.
  • Will Johnson was the only "regular" player on the pitch for RSL in the reserve match.
  • Federico Puppo played well with Orr Barouch up top although neither one managed to score.
  • The midfield alignment to start the match included Robayo on the right, Videira on the left, Paladini in the holding role, and Bone in the attacking mid spot.
  • The Fire easily controlled most of the first half.  The second half was a fairly uneventful back and forth that saw limited scoring chances for either side.
  • Lucky Mkosana had an excellent chance on a break in the 89th minute but his shot was tipped away by RSL keeper Kyle Reynish.
  • Academy players Keaton Albert and Luis Barajas were available for the Fire but did not play.
  • Arne Friedrich was not in the 18 for the Reserve match but did train before the game.


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  • fb_avatar

    Looked at the replays again. That was terrible keeping by Sean. Just terrible. 99% of the time, a keeper gets that ball.

  • In reply to waam:

    Yeah, pretty depressing... We know he's better than that. Too bad no one else will now.

  • In reply to waam:

    I agree that Sean should have stopped that ball. But what's more frustrating to me are the two goals Hamid let in in the first half just minutes after getting injured and deciding to stay on, and THEN going off.

    A healthy Sean Johnson would definitely have stopped the first goal (what was Hamid doing? Showing off his ballet moves? Clearly a hobbled player who could NOT respond physically to the challenge), and I believe would have also gotten a foot on the second.

    Leander Schearlaekens (sp) pointed this out on in his player ratings, and I have to agree. Unfortunately, posterity will recall Sean as the keeper who let the tying goal in, and forget who let two goals in earlier in the game.

  • It was not pretty....actually similar to a goal he allowed in Portland last year I believe. The bad thing is he was playing pretty well in place of Hamid before that gaffe.

  • Heartbreaking that the US couldn't hold on and that Sean couldn't come through. I have to say I abhor El Salvador. They should have been down at least one man after our forward got cynically punched in the mouth. I can say this. If the score was even toward the end of the game you would have seen the most despicable display of writhing and wailing this side of a war zone.

  • My family had already made plans to go to Toronto to visit friends on July 21. This really blows that they're disrupting the league season to accommodate a modest EPL team.

  • It will take me a long time to get over the U23 team's loss. I really cannot believe the officiating of the game. I agree with Doug that El Salvador should have had at least one player sent off. I feel bad for Sean because he is better than that mistake. He will bounce back, but the loss stings. Let's hope the Nat put on a good show this summer and the Women's team takes the gold medal.

  • Nothing against Sean Johnson very likable.
    I think that goal he allowed in the final minutes of of the Olympic Qualifier should not have happened and is clearly his fault no excuses!
    I think at this time Paola Tornaghi is a much
    better Shot Stopper and makes better
    decisions in coming off the line than Sean.
    Hopefully Sean can learn from him and do
    better in the future when given the chance.
    At this time I think Paola should be the
    starter and Sean the back up.

  • At this point I feel that Tornaghi should remain as the starting keeper,
    he looks like a veteran and Sean still looks like a rookie.
    The only point in playing Sean is to re-build his confidence but a bad
    game following his performance in qualifying could be a disaster.
    He'll probably need several reserve games to get him back up to speed..

  • fb_avatar

    Sean is a great shot stopper, which is why its so deflating. On the line, I believe he is a top 5 keeper. However, his command of the penalty area and coming off the line to defend always leaves me cringing at disaster, its such a hot and cold issue with him. Tornaghi in these last couple games just looks so much more assured of what he's doing. Shot stopping abilities, I like what I see, but he's still got a lot to prove as well. Still, he's younger than Sean, making me question the project Sean still is. Tornaghi's biggest detractor is probably that he is eventually going to outgrow MLS and get promoted to a bigger club in a couple years, and that will leave us with a bitter Sean, who might have developed further as a starter had not Tornaghi ripped it from his place with his better overall keeping.

  • In reply to waam:

    Tornaghi is in fact a year older than Sean...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to seaside:

    my bad. still impressed with what i see.

  • Roma announced they will play in chicago july 22.. but didn't announce a venue or opponent

  • Frank said SJ wouldn't be returning to the starting XI immediately.

    "With that position, you have to be playing games, and he hasn't played since November," Klopas said. "We've talked of a plan to get Sean back in. We have a break after the Colorado game with some reserves matches -- which I think will be beneficial for him -- and I think we'll go with that.",0,1194686.story?track=rss

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jeff Krause:

    Good move. I completely support.

  • As do I. Frank makes an excellent point. Sean hasn't seen significant playing time in nearly 6 months, where Tornaghi is already in the swing after preseason and two regular season games. I think at this point, the deeper into the season we get, the more it becomes Paolo's job to lose.

  • While I think that Tornaghi has done a great job the first two games, he does have some problems with his distributions. I'm not sure where he is sending the ball sometimes and he is lucky to get the ball to midfield with the wind at his back. For Sean, his biggest problem is his uncertainty as to when to come off his line on crosses. Its a tradeoff as far as I'm concerned. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Tornaghi has not been truly tested yet by the best in MLS so we will see. Tomorrow will reveal a lot more about him.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    Tornaghi did have some quick short distributions last week that led to counter attacks.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He also almost gave it away a few times too. Its a balance. I'm in favor of starting Tornaghi for now, but I think Sean Johnson has some serious upside and has come up big on many occasions.

    For the Aston Villa friendly, I think it will be great to see Eric Lichaj who is from Downers Grove playing against his hometown team. He might be with the US Nats again by he way he he played today for Aston Villa.

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