It may not mean much come March 6, but this Fire team continues to look more prepared, disciplined, and competitive than they did at any point last season. Results during preseason aren't necessarily an indication that the good times will continue once the games start to count, but a young team looking to build confidence can use any boost they can get. A 4-0 win over NASL side Minnesota United FC isn't reason enough to believe that the roll will continue, but the win was expected and carried out showed that some of that youth can contribute.
Homegrown Player Joey Calistri scored a brace in the first half to give the Fire a 2-0 lead at half time. Calistri started preseason playing at right back and his ability to finish while in an attacking role is a good sign. Michael Harrington played an important part in both goals. His service into the box in the 24th was partially cleared away before the ball found its way to the foot of Calistri, who glanced a shot off the post and into the net. The second resulted from a good team buildup. Harrington's pass through the front of the goal mouth found Brandon Vincent running toward the end line. The rookie left back connected with his fellow first year pro for a clean side footed finish in the 35th and a 2-0 lead.
Kingsley Bryce looped a header into the net from a Rodrigo Ramos service for the third goal in the 60th minute, Alex Morrell was tripped in the penalty area in the 88th. Arturo Alvarez buried the spot kick to finish the scoring.
"Even though it's preseason, it's another opportunity for us to prepare how we want to play during the season, so we always have 100 percent the same attitude and preparation from the staff and the players. I'm very happy for the guys, I'm very happy that we're improving but there's still a lot to do and we have to increase the level in the next game and in the training sessions that we have coming up in preparation for March 6," said Veljko Paunovic at the conclusion of the match.
The Fire will close preseason on Saturday night against MLS Cup Champion, Portland Timbers.
GK Matt Lampson^ (Patrick McLain 60')
DEF Michael Harrington (Rodrigo Ramos 46'), Johan Kappelhof (Joao Meira 46'), Johnathan Campbell (Vincent Keller* 60'), Brandon Vincent (Patrick Doody 46')
MID Matt Polster (Drew Conner 46'), Michael Stephens (Razvan Cocis 60'), Joey Calistri (Alex Morrell* 46'), Nick LaBrocca (Kingsley Bryce 60'), Collin Fernandez (Arturo Alvarez^ 60')
FWD Kennedy Igboananike (Christian Volesky^ 60')
*unsigned draft pick
Filed under: 2016 Pre Season