The competition was a PDL side but there were still plenty of positives to take from the Fire's 2-0 win over FC Tucson on Saturday afternoon. The starters were pushed for ninety minutes and although there was some fatigue evident late in the second half the team registered their fifth clean sheet in six pre-season contests. The defensive improvement along with the impressive start from the young "B" group are probably the most encouraging stories so far.
Alex made a case for holding on to his starting spot with a goal. Bakary Soumare provided the second tally by connecting on a pretty one-time volley off of a cross from Patrick Nyarko. The Fire had several other opportunities to provide an even bigger cushion but still won comfortably.
Patrick Ianni started at centerback alongside Soumare but don't read much into that. Ianni would have started with the "B" team on Wednesday night if not for a small knock that moved Jhon Kennedy Hurtado into service for the midweek game. On Thursday, Frank Yallop said that the starters were likely to play about two and a half of the remaining three games so the next two matches should display which way he's leaning for the opener on March 9.
The Fire face New England at 4:30 cdt on Wednesday before the final contest of preseason on Saturday March 1. A 6-0-0 start in exhibition may not mean much come March 9 but the signs are encouraging.
Fire line up
D Segares, Ianni, Soumare, Palmer
M Larentowicz, Nyarko, Alex, Duka, Rolfe
Subs not used: Reynish, Walsh, Franco, Atouba, Kinney, Gentile, Shipp, Joya, Pineda, Amarikwa