Preseason results will mean very little when March 6 rolls around but for a team that needs to build confidence, the Fire will take victories any time they can. After wins against the University of South Florida and the Philadelphia Union, one of the better teams in the Western Conference would certainly provide a better measuring stick for where the revamped side is right now.
A 3-2 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps featured some shaky moments for a defense that had most of the presumed starters in place for the first time this preseason, but also showed some promise from the high pressure style that coach Veljko Paunovic is looking to deploy.
Trialist John Goossens continues to impress, scoring another goal and playing a good field game. His score in the 5th minute came as a result of pressure on the ball from Matt Polster. An unfortunate bounce in the 24th minute led to an own goal by Johan Kappelof and generous team defending resulted in the second Vancouver score. Gilberto drew a penalty against Kendall Watson in the 51st and converted the spot kick to level the match.
Watson was on the hook again in the 81st when he whistled for a foul on Collin Fernandez in the box, leading to Kennedy Igboananike’s penalty kick winner.
“We think that this tournament will help us to see where we are with our roster and at the same time where we are in the preseason and our preparations,” said Paunovic after the match. “We were very happy to see that we were capable of playing a good game against a talented rival. The result obviously helps for our confidence to continue improving and building our team.”
GK Johnson (Lampson 79′)
DEF Harrington, Kappelhof, Meira (Campbell 70′), Vincent
MID Polster, Cocis (Stephens 79′), Alvarez (Fernandez 79′), Goossens (LaBrocca 70′), Calistri
FWD Gilberto (Igboananike 79″)
- Razvan Cocis continues to wear the captain’s armband this preseason
- David Accam missed the game due to illness and did not practice on Saturday