Two wins over weakened Columbus and San Jose sides have fostered some optimism. Regardless of how the games looked and whom the victories came against, it's a positive sign that the Fire were able to finish both teams off at home. This match certainly wasn't pretty, but they did enough to win and the defense returned to form. The Fire gave up possession but limited chances and still managed to create a few of their own.
"We are getting there," said Veljko Paunovic after the match. "There is a long way to go, but at least finally, we passed the maturity test today where we create a couple of times and the momentum of where we can step to the next level and we couldn't for different reasons but I think today that was perfect, the perfect day. I think we have to do what we are doing so far and believe in our process."
The Fire will get a boost in their next league match. Michael de Leeuw will be available for the game in Toronto on July 9.
A sliver of optimism still exists with the start of July, the summer transfer window opening next week, and another US Open Cup match in a few weeks.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Made two saves. There appeared to be an instance or two of miscommunication in the first half but the second save, a leg stop against Quintero in the 60th, was a quality move that kept San Jose from tying the game two minutes after the Fire took the lead.
D Rodrigo Ramos (6.5) - His last two games have been very good. Service from the right side was excellent and he was involved throughout his entire run. San Jose didn't have much from his side either.
D Johan Kappelhof (6) - Helped limit San Jose to only 6 shot attempts. Apparently back in form with Campbell.
D Jonathan Campbell (6) - Other than an early chance in the 15th minute, Amariwa and Wondolowsi were rather ineffective.
D Brandon Vincent (5) - Still struggling to find some consistency in his passing and decision making and had a few issues on defense that were covered by teammates.
M Khaly Thiam (5.5) - Not involved much offensively but helped Meira and Stephens absorb possession and protect the back line.
M Joao Meira (6) - Has had plenty of questionable appearances this season but this was a solid effort. Helped defensively and forced a save from Bingham with a long blast in the 39th. Led the Fire with 40/44 passing.
M Michael Stephens (5.5) - Helped in combination. Although there wasn't much that stood out, he played a good "team" game.
F John Goossens (6.5) - Showed that he can make a difference when fit. He may have had some help from Bingham and Igboananike, but his goal in the 58th stood up for the game winner. 30/31 passes completed was impressive as was his ability to move the ball forward positively, something the Fire have struggled to do all season.
F David Accam (5.5) - San Jose focused their efforts on stopping him and that may have helped create some space for others. HIs only shot attempt in the 64th was just wide of goal.
F Kennedy Igboananike (5.5) - Screened Bingham just enough on Goossens' shot to get it past him. Had some chances on counters and was involved offensively but decision making and final touch weren't always there.
M Razvan Cocis (5.5) - Replaced Thiam in the 73rd. The Fire tightened up and didn't allow many looks late in the game. Completed all 5 passes made.
D Michael Harrington (5) - Subbed in for Ramos in the 79th. Completed 3 of 4 passes.
M Nick LaBrocca (5) - Came on for Goossens in the 79th. A good defensive sequence in the 94th was preceded by a yellow card one minute earlier.