In yesterday’s positional breakdown, I looked at the return of all four starters along the backline as well as the team’s process at building depth in defense. Today I talk midfielders…
Outside – The formation the Fire closed 2011 with wasn’t one that necessarily had out-and-out wingers in it, instead it often looked like three midfielders cutting across the field behind Grazzini. That setup saw Pappa push forward a bit more on the left while Pause moved in closer to his more natural spot in the center of midfield.
On the left, both Nyarko and Pause can switch sides if needed, while Corben Bone has played there before. The big story is that of trialist Ivan Guerrero, who has seen time mainly as a left back but Fire fans should be familiar with his capabilities of midfield as well.
The wild card in all of this is Colombian Rafael Robayo who has yet to arrive in Fire camp as he awaits his visa. Capable of playing on both sides, Robayo’s arrival into the team will likely mean someone very good will be coming off the bench during 2012.
Holding/Center – Like Grazzini, Pavel Pardo’s midseason arrival last year helped a Fire resurgence that pushed the side to within three points of the MLS Cup playoffs. The former Mexican international’s ability to dictate the tempo of the match will be invaluable to the Fire in 2012.
Pause, Videira and Paladini all provide options behind Pardo in the middle, with the latter putting in an excellent performance there on Wednesday, breaking up movement and attacks throughout his time on the field in the 3-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast.