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June 2010 Archives

Dutch striker Collins John remained on the sidelines as the Fire returned to action after Major League Soccer's break for the World Cup, and there's reason to wonder why.
Coach Carlos de los Cobos couldn't offer much in the way of a reason after Tuesday's 1-0 loss to the Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup.
``The information I have is that he has a physical problem. He's sick,'' said de los Cobos, who suggested the doctors examining John might be more helpful. ``It's a shame, because we're playing with two forwards (Brian McBride and Stefan Dimitrov). This guy (John) can't have continuous training. I don't know what happened.''
Another Fire official called John's condition ``complicated,'' and said a medical update will be coming from the club soon.

The Fire has won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup four times (1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006), and this year's attempt is promising.
First opponent -- in the third round of the nation-wide competition -- is the Charleston Battery, a Division II pro team that has faced the Fire in the Open Cup in the past. The Fire gets the Battery in Bridgeview on Tuesday and might also be the home team for the quarterfinals.
Here's how that would work:
The winner of the Fire-Battery match faces the winner of another match played Tuesday -- the Columbus Crew of MLS vs. the Rochester Rhinos, another Division II club. If both Major League Soccer teams win the Fire will host the Crew -- but not at Toyota Park. The match would be played July 6 at Bradley University's Shea Stadium in Peoria.
If the Fire wins, but Rochester upsets Columbus, the quarterfinal will be played in Rochester.

Time for soul-searching

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The Fire has been mediocre at best leading into the World Cup, and now it must go 18 days without a Major League Soccer match to figure what to do next.
Brian McBride has no problems with the lengthy break from league play.
``We know as a team we need to concentrate better for the whole game,'' said McBride, alluding to the last match -- a 2-2 draw with Colorado that left the Fire at 3-3-5 going into the break. ``We need to be sharper, be focused and a little break will be good.''
The Fire has a June 20 exhibition against the minor league Minnesota Stars at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., during the break. The next MLS match is June 28 at New England and the Fire doesn't play again in Bridgeview until July 8, against Real Salt Lake.
One positive: Collins John is back. The Fire will need major production from the Dutch striker after the World Cup if it is to make the playoffs.

Coach Carlos de los Cobos had Collins John on his game roster, but the Dutch forward was one of the few players he didn't use in the 1-0 loss to AC Milan. It seemed odd, since the Fire has needed someone who can finish, and John is one of the club's best finishers.
John wasn't in the coach's doghouse, though. He was sick. John showed up at training on Saturday with what de los Cobos said was ``a virus'' and that's why he was kept out of the game while six others saw action off the bench.

Some other tidbits from the latest international friendly:

-- Dasan Robinson had words with the heralded Ronaldinho -- literally. The Fire defender made an effort to make small talk with the Brazilian superstar at halftime and after the match in both Spanish and Portuguese.
``He understood what I was trying to say, which was really good,'' Robinson said.

-- The Fire didn't score in its three international friendlies in May and lost them all. De los Cobos, though, didn't think they were a bad thing.
``I wish to have many matches like this because we learn when we have the opportunity to play against a very big team,'' he said.

-- Fire players were encouraged by the club's play against AC Milan.
``A definite improvement from the two previous international games that we played,'' said Patrick Nyarko. ``Everyone wanted to make a good impression so we would not be disgraced.''
``It's always something beautiful to play against a team of such high quality,'' said Marco Pappa. ``We developed a lot as a team playing against them.''
``You want to look extra sharp and step your game up to show you can be competitive, and I think we did that,'' said Justin Mapp.

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