The season opened but things never seemed to get started for the Fire in Sunday’s 4-0 loss away to defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.
The Fire actually did alright to sustain pressure from the Galaxy in the first half as Sean Johnson came up with a couple of big saves on Mike Magee.
The team even had two quality scoring chances from Maicon Santos and Chris Rolfe before Magee took advantage of a bad deflection sequence in the back to put LA up 1-0 in the 38th minute.
“The first half, we had those two chances and maybe that changes,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “I think as the game went on – I just thought the team looked fatigued and made a lot of mistakes.
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“I don’t know if that’s because we’ve been on the road too long. I know this is not an easy place to play, they are a good team, but I just thought our legs weren’t there.”
Around the hour-mark the Galaxy began to put their stamp on the match as Magee tallied from Robbie Keane in the 68th minute.
The Fire began chasing the game, trying to pull back from a 2-0 deficit but Magee caught them out once again to complete the natural hat trick in the 74th minute before Keane added one himself in the 80th.
With six saves, some of which were of the spectacular variety, only goalkeeper Sean Johnson stood out for the Fire in the match.
For different reasons, five of the team’s starting 11 were different than what the Fire ended with last October.
Three new players – Jeff Larentowicz, Dilly Duka and Joel Lindpere slotted into the midfield and while the trio looked good in preseason, showed they still have more to learn about playing with each other.
After two years away with an Achilles tear, Steven Kinney replaced injured backline mentor Arne Friedrich (hamstring) while Santos started the match ahead of Dutch forward Sherjill MacDonald.
“You have depth in a team and you are always looking through trainings, through preseason, and I felt that the guys we had on the field leading up to this game seemed to have a better combination when we had the ball and giving a little better rhythm, but it’s just one game. We do have depth in the team, we have options,” said Klopas.
Captain Logan Pause also missed the match due to a quad strain and along with Friedrich will be evaluated ahead of Saturday’s home opener vs. New England.
While Sunday’s game was disappointing, it would be wrong to see it as a reflection of the type of team assembled.
“It’s one game and it’s behind us,” said Klopas. “We have to go home and regroup. It will be good for the guys to be back home, sleep in their own beds and we have to get ready for a big game on Saturday.”