Charleston 3 Fire 0 (Penalty Kicks)

The Fire don’t have additional fixture congestion to worry about in the coming months after bombing out of the US Open Cup competition again.  This time on penalty kicks in front of a small crowd of 2,526. 

After a fairly listless first half, the Fire controlled a good portion of the run of play during the second half and the overtime but were not able to find a score.  Charleston dropped just about everyone back to defend during the latter portions of the match and the home team was not able to answer. 

Patrick Nyarko’s insertion to start the second half along with Wilman Conde’s ability to play the midfield position picked up the pace for the Fire.  Several scoring opportunities resulted in shots placed directly at Charleston goalkeeper Tim Melia.  Carlos De Los Cobos decided to start several players who have not seen much time this year based on the short turnaround after the New England match and the upcoming Columbus match on Saturday. 

During the post game press conference the coach explained his decision further by emphasizing league play and SuperLiga ahead of the US Open Cup.  “It was for me an opportunity to see other players.  We had control of the game but we didn’t score” said De Los Cobos.  “I want to concentrate on our league and SuperLiga.  For me these are the most important tournaments.”

The match was decided in rather embarrasing fashion as Brian McBride, Krzyzstof Krol, and Wilman Conde all missed penalty kicks leading to a home defeat against a USL-2 side.  McBride’s attempt sailed over the cross bar.  Krol’s low shot to the keeper’s right was saved and Conde’s shot hit the crossbar.  Charleston converted all three of their attempts.

You can listen to the entire De Los Cobos post game press conference here.

Misc Notes

We should have an update on Collins John’s situation from the team doctor tomorrow.

Julio Martinez, Justin Mapp, Baggio Husidic, and Tim Ward were not available tonight due to injury.  In Ward’s case, he is close to returning but not fully fit yet.

De Los Cobos wanted to see Conde play in midfield which is why he was inserted for Pause in the second half. 




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  • The US Open Cup is not an important tournament for de los Cobobs? Maybe the Fire should have put an incentive clause in his contract that would pay him a bonus if the Fire win the Cup. It's no wonder that no more than 2500 people could be bothered to come out an watch.

    What a load of crap. Good thing this wasn't a Bonus Game in my season ticket package.

  • Not exactly what any one wants to hear, but MLS as a whole does not take the US Open as seriously as it used to. Despite the organization's assertions, the US Open Cup does not seem to be a big priority.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Cup certainly used to be a priority. That's why the Fire won so many of them in the early days.

    I wish that the coach had called me the day before the game instead of Logan Pause. Then I would have gotten the official word that it was OK to stay home and forget about this game. Logan wanted me to come out and support the team. Why support the team if the team doesn't care?

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    I think it's probably not accurate to say they don't care, it's just an unfortunate reality in MLS today that priorities need to be established in terms of importance which "trophies" to pursue. The MLS season will always be #1, SuperLiga has some international prestige and monetary value, and the US Open will suffer because it's the least profitable of the three.
    They care but just not as much as the regular season and SuperLiga. Fans apparently feel the same way as evidenced by attendance for each event.

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Fire are bad at PK shootouts.

  • In reply to fire1020:

    More than just bad.

  • In reply to cesba:

    This is officially an awful season as of now. We're terrible an we lost to a team called the Battery. Duracell? Energizer? Who knows? All I know is that this is embarrassing. This offseason we were [promised exciting soccer with great new players. De Los Cobos is no better than any other coach we've had and Collins John and Julio Martinez rarely play. We have money and dp space but no dp. I'll give the Fire till the allstar break. Then I throw in the towel and watch Barcelona and Liverpool, teams that I support that are good.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Then the Fire should decline to be in the US open cup. This was sad to hear that they did not take this serious. They may as well ack off now becuase next year they will have 1000 people.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    It's not a matter of taking seriously really, because I think they do take it seriously. Let's look at it this way.....If the Fire would have beaten Charleston yesterday (2 days after playing in New England)they would travel to Columbus on Saturday then play Columbus again in Peoria on Tuesday in another Open Cup match only two days before having to play Real Salt Lake on Thursday night at home.
    They took it seriously but DLC had to budget his players minutes by starting the young guys hoping to get a result.
    The US Open Cup sacrifice is just reality for MLS teams. They can't just ignore the tournament because that would be sort of an F you to USSF and the tournament but then again they can't go all out with their best squads either. It's a catch 22 with no easy answer.

  • In reply to cesba:

    So it's OK to give the fans the F You? Because that's exactly what de los Cobos did when he said that the Open Cup wasn't important.

    Back in the days when the Cup was important to this club, they didn't start the regulars in every Cup match. Rosters weren't any bigger back then than they are now. Teams had to deal with fixture congestion. Yet, the Fire won the Cup four times. This all comes down to attitude and commitment. If de los Cobos told the media that the Cup wasn't important, I can only imagine what he told the players in the locker room before the game.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    I'm not saying it's right...just saying it isn't an easy decision.

  • In reply to cesba:

    Well, if the Fire are saying that it's not an easy decision, then it's a complete cop-out. The Fire have been down this path before with the Open Cup. In the past, rather than make excuses, they went out and won games.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    From the Fire's site...

  • In reply to cesba:

    Boy, Jeff Crandall did a nice job of digging deep into his bag of excuses.

  • In reply to cesba:

    i'm sad we lost, but i'm with coach here... we need to beat Columbus.

  • Lol. The Columbus game is on Saturday. The extent of Martinez's injury was not mentioned.

  • Patrick,
    The Blackhawks open training camp in just 2 short months ;)

  • In reply to cesba:

    The Battery is not a battery like in Duracell , it is named after a battering ram. Charleston is one of the better USL teams and I know they would be ready to play.
    That is amazing that the Hawks will open camp in just 2 months , what is even more amzing is that the Fire were PKs away from them and the Hawks winning it in the same season.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    The Fire basically played their second stringers and brought in their regulars late. It seemed like the Fire could careless about this game and the US Open Cup. Still, put a 100 percent effort against a SECOND division team (Triple A soccer team). Charleston...give me a break.

  • In reply to FireStingDoug:

    FireStingDoug, Charleston Battery midfielder Stephen Armstrong played for the Chicago Storm indoor soccer team from 2006-2008.

  • Martinez injury was pride as he was cut from the team. Well at least we have roster spot open now

  • In reply to lijien:

    Yeah I wasn't inpresses by him at all. I winder who's next? You know at least 2 more players going to get cut.

  • this loss doesn't bother me that much, other than that pappa was in for 120 minutes of game of low importance. i spose if i had paid for a ticket and attended it mite be a bit more upsetting, but i realized going into this game that the bench guys were gonna get more time on field so its not like a must-win game or anything

    what does bother me outside this game tho, is Collins John hasnt really gotten a good look yet. injury/illness/coaches decision, we really don't know what the problem is, and its hard to judge his play when he gets 20 or 30 minutes every 3 games and very few balls served to him in a playable way. when he does get the ball he is so isolated and set upon by multiple defenders, i don't know what he is expected to bring out of it.

    same problem i am seeing with mcbride - the forwards are not getting much support for whatever reason, but i am having trouble putting my finger on what tactical change is needed. when they do score, it seems there are plenty of midfielders in the box at those times

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    There are midfielders in the box but none of them (other than Pappa) are particularly good finishers. Service into attackers has also not been good.
    The other problem at forward lies with the fact that all three of the forwards on the roster play similarly. They do not have a change of pace forward who can create his own shot.

  • In reply to cesba:

    yeah but when the midfielders are up there, its because they have bypassed the forwards. for example, usually when nyarko is making his speedy runs down the flanks, the players that he has the choice to pass to when he arrives the box is husidic, lowry, pappa, mapp, banner (ugh) usually NOT mcbride. usually only see mcbride involved in the offense when he is recieving a cross from someone outside one of the box corners (i don't remember seeing him recieving crosses from the goal line)

    i guess i am not understanding the tactics with our forward on this team. they seem isolated, and possibly are there as a decoy to draw extra defenders?

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    McBride is always in the box when Nyarko makes his runs. It's just that he usually makes a hard run to the near post to draw defenders away from the center to open up space for the midfielders who are crashing the box.

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