3 POINTS: Duka alright, Johnson displeased with challenge and Rolfe up for Save of the Week?
Sean Johnson not happy with Paponi challenge
Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made amends for his mistake that led to the first goal in Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal defeat, making three saves, including a point-blank stop on Justin Mapp in the 39th minute.
Though he didn’t get a save on the play, Johnson came up huge when Montreal’s Daniele Paponi’s touch into the box in the 80th minute was just a bit too heavy, giving the U.S. international a read on the ball to quell a potential Montreal equalizer (WATCH ABOVE).
Still, the Italian forward slid in as Johnson collected it and continued to jostle for the ball even after referee Juan Guzman had blown his whistle before showing Paponi a yellow card for the incident.
Asked about it after the game, Johnson said, “I think it was an extremely dirty play by Paponi. I made a good read on his touch, I got to the ball and he just went two feet into me – into my knees. I wasn’t very happy about it, but I was able to come away and finish the play.”
WATCH: Chris Rolfe for MLS Save of the Week?
Dilly Duka – Ankle Tweak
With Patrick Nyarko already out for Saturday’s game with concussion symptoms, the onus was on Dilly Duka and Joel Lindpere to step up their play out wide.
Lindpere bagged a deflected goal early while Duka’s individual effort in the 23rd minute ended up being the game winner.
There was a moment for pause though after Duka was assisted off the field by Fire training staff in the 71st minute after receiving a bad tackle from Montreal’s Felipe.
Asked post-game about the injury, Duka didn’t seem to think it would keep him away from next week’s match at New England, saying, “I tweaked my ankle. I planted, he got my planted foot. I normally tweak my ankle like that. Its just a couple days and I’ll be back.”
Chris Rolfe - Defensive Contributor
Capping a three-game in eight day stretch, Chris Rolfe only did light training with the team on Friday with head coach Frank Klopas eluding to the fact that both he and strike partner Mike Magee were day-to-day with knocks heading into Saturday’s game at Montreal.
While Magee missed his first game as a member of the Fire, Rolfe did dress and entered the match for the injured Duka in the 71th minute. Normally his contributions have to do with offensive production but on Saturday night his biggest play came as he cleared Matteo Ferrari’s 93rd minute header off the line to preserve the 2-1 score line.
To end his post-game press conference Saturday night Klopas was playfully asked by Hot Time in Old Town’s Rubin Tisch how disappointed he’d be if Rolfe didn’t get a nod for MLS Save of the Week.
Amid the laughs in the room, the Fire manager took a second, smiled and just “Listen, [it was] a very good one.”
Rolfe on the other hand wasn’t quite as diplomatic, asked the same question post-game he said, “100 percent [I should be].”