Conde battles the Battery

Conde gets time in Midfield


Though the Fire fell to the Charleston Battery in penalty kicks in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Tuesday night, it wasn’t all bad news for head Coach Carlos de los Cobos and his team.

Forced by injuries and a quick turnaround into playing a lineup full of reserves, de los Cobos got the opportunity to see a few of his reserves get some valuable game action.

But he also tried out regulars in new slots, and may have come away with a new option for defender Wilman Conde. Conde, who has started 11 of the Fire’s 12 league games at center back and was a 2009 All-Star defender, took over the role of center defensive midfielder from Logan Pause in the 52nd minute.

De los Cobos said he was pleased with how Conde acquitted himself in his new role.

“I think that Wilman playing the middle is a good option for us,” de los Cobos said after the match. “[He has] a very strong personality, good technique and a very good offensive view. This I think is a opportunity and is a option for me after this match to see Wilman in this position, because sometimes we need some guys more strong in the middle.”

Conde seemed to enjoy the new role as well. The 27-year-old Colombian – who was unavailable for comment after the match – seemed to relish his more advanced role, playing aggressively and even taking two long range shots in his 68 minutes of action.

It remains to be seen whether or not de los Cobos will use Conde in the center of the midfield in MLS play, but now the Fire’s head coach knows he has the option. And with a team as short on players as the Fire currently is, one more option in the midfield is never a bad thing.

The Fire return to action on Saturday at Columb