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Tuesday, October 20

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Fire Fri Oct 17 2008

Roundup of Vaguely Related Fire News This Week

Mixed World Cup Qualifying Fortunes
On Wednesday night, several Fire players represented their countries in World Cup Qualifying with varying degrees of success. Marco Pappa scored his first goal for Guatemala, offering further proof that Frank Klopas and Denis Hamlet have a real find in the young midfielder. His team's shot at advancing out of their group took a real hit though, as they lost 2-1 to Cuba. Gonzalo Segares played 90 minutes for Costa Rica in a 2-0 victory over Haiti. And Chris Rolfe finally got a much deserved recall to the US National Team thanks to an injury to Columbus' Robbie Rogers, which ironically happened during the Columbus-Fire match last week. Sadly, Rolfe only had a cameo appearance, subbing in the 88th minute of a shocking loss to Trinidad and Tobago. The question is, with the Fire already in the playoffs, will Denis Hamlet risk playing any of these guys on Toronto's punishing field-turf after a midweek game and grueling travel schedule?

Bad News For the Fire's rivals
On Thursday night, the New England Revolution lost to DC United, putting the Fire in prime position to seal 2nd place, and home field advantage (for what that's worth). More importantly, it underlined how the Revs will struggle without their injured midfielder, Steve Ralston. Another conference rival, the New York Red Bulls, had an even worse week. MLS officials always want evidence that they're catching up with other professional sports in the country, but I don't think they had in mind Jeff Parke and Jon Conway's 10 game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. Is all this good news for the Fire? I wouldn't bet on it. Sometimes when a team's back is against the wall they're at their most dangerous.

Speaking of betting.
Chad Barrett, now with Toronto FC, plays against the Fire for the first time today at 7pm. Since I'm publishing this on a Saturday, chances are you're reading this at work on Monday and already know the result of the game. I'll just say this, Chad Barrett probably scored against the Fire. Things work out like that in soccer. Check out this excellent Luis Arroyave article about his time with the Fire and his departure. He was one of the most derided players to ever wear the Fire red and I certainly had my share of criticism for him. But he was starting to kind of win me over before he left. You have to give him credit for never giving up and never hiding, no matter how much he struggled. While trading him for McBride was a good move, it's good to see Barrett's doing well in Toronto. And just to hedge my bet a little, if he didn't score, I'll bet Barrett at least missed an open goal.

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