It’s said in Brazil, no two people can agree on the eleven players that should start for the country’s powerful national team. After taking in last Saturday’s season opener at Small Bar Fullerton, I’ve learned the trend is about the same with the Chicago Fire.
When the lineups appeared on the bar’s television screens during the club’s official watch party, a collective sigh was heard. Then silence, followed by a barrage of different lineups put forward from a number of different fans -- each one seeming confident that their 11 would get the desired result at Red Bull Arena.
The only player that wasn’t listed in the starting eleven that everyone seemed to agree should have been in the lineup was new Fire striker Collins John.
I heard a variety of different lineups that fans felt head coach Carlos de los Cobos should have put out. The one player that everyone agreed was missing though new Fire striker Collins John. The Dutch striker started the match on the bench after missing almost a week of training in order to complete the visa process in the Netherlands. Arriving in New York on Thursday, he met up with his teammates the next day as the club prepared for the opener.
“The trip was good,” said John. “I didn’t like being out of training for that long but it did give me the opportunity to get some rest after a tough preseason. I wasn’t sure where my fitness would be after missing almost a week of training though.”
Without John the Fire still created opportunities, almost going up 1-0 by virtue of a Brian McBride bicycle kick that struck the bar in the 23rd minute. New York absorbed the pressure and took some of the game back, capitalizing on a misplayed pass in midfield by Logan Pause, Red Bull midfielder started and finished the play, beating Andrew Dykstra with a well-hit half volley in the 40th minute.
John’s insertion in the 54th minute of the match seemed to awaken the Fire offense, as they created a number of chances, but Condoul was equal to all of them. Disappointed not to score his Fire debut, the new striker still took things away from the match.
“Personally I was surprised by my fitness after being out of training for the week, I felt I put in a good performance though. For all of us I think it was nice to get the first game going, after putting in a lot of hard work to get kicking into the season and the result was unfortunate. We were definitely the better side over the 90 minutes but they still beat us. It’s not the way we wanted to start, but we take things away from this match and move ahead.”
After a full week of training, John will hope to make his first MLS start Saturday afternoon when the Fire visit the Colorado Rapids. The game has the potential to feature two of the league’s most star-studded striking forces with John and McBride for Fire and U.S. international Conor Casey partnering with Jamaican international Omar Cummings.
“We lost the first game so we have to make sure to get a result out there. I think we realize that we have to work hard to get the three points every week and we know Colorado will be a tough team to play against. We’re going to do our best and hopefully we’ll come home with a win.”
Fire fans can catch the match and again voice their lineup thoughts at Saturday’s viewing party, set to take place at the Globe Pub, Saturday afternoon at 3pm CT.