Johnson, Paladini earn praise in 0-0 draw at Sporting KC

KANSAS CITY, KS -- While it wasn’t a win, there were positives to take away from Saturday’s 0-0 draw away to Sporting KC.

Faced with a daunting task of earning a result in the difficult climes of Sporting Park, the Fire played admirably in the scoreless deadlock to earn their first point of the 2013 season.

“For us it’s a positive game. I thought we were coming to play against a very good team in a really tough environment. I felt our guys came out and left it on the field and we had some very good chances in the first half and also late in the second.”

RECAP: Fire earn gritty draw with Sporting KC

The team’s best chance of the match came in stoppage time when forward Chris Rolfe slid Daniel Paladini into the box alone but the Fire midfielder’s first touch was too heavy as Jimmy Nielsen came off his line to sweep the chance away.

Paladini earned his first minutes of the season, replacing Joel Lindpere admirably in central midfield.  Paladini’s selection over the Estonian international came down to his form and the need to deal with a difficult Sporting KC 

“A lot [of selection] goes into how the team is playing, who we’re playing against and how players are doing in training. Danny’s been playing well. We needed to obviously match them in the midfield and with Danny, he has the ability to be good with the ball.

Paladini wasn’t the only change from last week’s 1-0 loss to New England as converted midfielder Michael Videira filled in at right back for the injured Steven Kinney.

“In the team we have depth with good players. For this game I felt we selected the right group of players to get the result.”

STATS: Full Match Statistics

While the Fire had their chances, they weren’t necessarily plentiful and as Sporting pushed for the odd goal in the second half, it was Sean Johnson’s three saves that clinched the away point for the Fire.

“Sean continues to show why he’s involved in the national team. He’s capable of making stops that keep us in matches and he’s a big reason why we’re coming away with a point.”

The Fire return home next Sunday where the team will hope to earn their first win and goal of the 2013 season when they welcome Chivas USA to Toyota Park.

Due to international commitments, the team is already confirmed to be without Lindpere and could also be missing Johnson if U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann names him to his roster for the team’s upcoming qualifiers vs. Costa Rica and at Mexico.