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.