US Open Cup

FuegoCast #144: Lion's Share of the Goals

The gang returns to discuss the Fire's 4-0 beatdown of Orlando City, update the Supporters' Shield table, preview the mid-week Open Cup game against FC Cincinnati, preview the weekend game against Vancouver, and review the Red Stars' 2-1 home win against Sky Blue FC.

Also, Nick continues listing things he doesn't like in the intro, Rudy has run out of negatives, Gregg speculates on Jorge Bava's whereabouts, Rudy honors an absent comrade by jumping the gun on predictions, the gang laugh at another team's poor coaching decisions, lament another's relating to a podcast legend, Gregg rues another coaching decision that disrupted his own benefit, and Gregg shares plans for next week's special West Coast edition. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelist: Rudy Gomez
Producer: Nick Fedora

TRT: 60:41

FuegoCast #142: Did What We had to Do

Gregg and Rudy ride solo as everyone else is out. No Nick on the production turntables means less than pristine audio and no clever episode descriptions. We apologize for this disruption in normal service. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf

Panelist: Rudy Gomez

Producer: Gregg Mixdorf

FuegoCast #114: Ov Fire and the Void

The gang returns to discuss the Fire's season ending 3-1 Open Cup Semi-Final loss at New England, Sunday's 2-2 draw against Orlando City that apparently happened, rail against head coach Vejlko Paunovic's decisions to not #playthekids, glance at the rumors of the team sale, and preview Saturday's game at Montreal. 

Also, Gregg calls in live from Elle's headquarters, Elle corrects the book from which Gregg suggests Paunovic reads, everyone has something to rant about, Nelson Rodriguez feels the heat, Rudy is an omnipresent being, Elle compares the team to a certain soccer related movie franchise, Gregg names his fantasy manager for next season, Elle compares and contrasts fashion of possible future Fire managers, Rudy keeps tabs on a former Fire player, and Rudy shares a story of our patron saint Cuauhtemoc Blanco's alleged financial dark arts. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelists: Rudy Gomez, Elle Harrer
Producer: Nick Fedora

TRT: 64:03

FuegoCast #113: Looking Ahead

The gang returns to discuss the Player Insanity summer transfer moves, review the 3-1 loss at Real Salt Lake, talk about Nelson Rodrigues's recent spot on Extra Time Radio, preview the big Open Cup semi-final at New England, and kinda look at Sunday's home game against Orlando City or something.

Also, Team Fuego summer signing Eva Hall makes her debut, Rudy causes audio chaos with internet connectivity issues, Sara plans on joining the call later then doesn't, Gregg wants to get huddled on the Gin and Tonic, Rudy has problems with Rio Tinto security then tells us the odds of an MLS Cup triumph, Gregg has very specific reasons to visit Salt Lake City, Gregg sends menacing glares to Eva for a prediction, and Gregg and Rudy make their dislike of certain coaches/players known. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelists: Rudy Gomez, Eva Hall
Producer: Nick Fedora

TRT: 51:26

FuegoCast #111: Quartermasters

The gang returns after a chaotic week off to discuss the Fire's 3-0 US Open Cup victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, review the 1-0 loss at New England, mostly ignore the MLS All-Star game, talk about some League rumors and news, preview Sunday's game against New York Red Bulls, and other League huddalis. 

Also, Nick continues to work himself into oblivion, the rest of the gang wanders through parts unknown, Gregg makes unfunny computer jokes, Joey wants to restrict a referee's consumption of burritos, Rudy does some weird multi-tasking, Joey indulges in his soccer fantasies, Joey then critiques Brandon Vincent's left back credentials, Rudy makes a great Marco Pappa joke, Joey prematurely releases his prediction, and Joey makes a plug and offers a challenge for the White Party. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelists: Rudy Gomez, Joey T
Producer: Nick Fedora

TRT: 49:56

FuegoCast #107: Rocky Road

The Gang returns to discuss the Fire's penalty shootout US Open Cup win over Indy Eleven as well as the 2-1 loss at Colorado, quickly discuss the savage Mexico beatdown, and preview Wednesday's game at Philadelphia. 

Also, Gregg and Elle commiserate over a Nick LaBrocca missed opportunity, Nick did not enjoy the Indy Eleven game, Joey asks Rudy about interesting new beverages in Colorado, Gregg discovers how to soothe a tough loss, Elle lectures on the aerodynamics of post-doping bodies, Rudy gets his meteorology confused, Joey shows his rust, and Rudy and Elle argue about satellites and stars.

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelists: Rudy Gomez, Elle Harrer, Joey T
Producer: Nick Fedora

TRT: 62:16

FuegoCast #95: Ready or Not, Off We Go

The gang returns for Season Four of the FuegoCast to discuss the Fire's 2-0 Simple Tournament victory, give a report about the Kickoff Luncheon, offer various predictions to the MLS season ahead, preview the season opener against New York City FC, and end on some Huddalis. 

Also, Sara is deep in the chaos zone (apologies in advance), Elle tells a tale of Logan Pause's dark arts, Sara gets very excited about meeting her Fire crush, Elle offers Veljko Paunovic fashion advice on behalf of the panel, Nick gets more than he bargained for when he asked for maximum chaos, the gang laughs at their hilariously bad predictions from last year, Elle seems to have forgotten how the Supporter's Shield works, Nick goes off on a surprising mad rant, and the ladies lose control of the huddalis. 

Host: Gregg Mixdorf
Panelists: Rudy Gomez, Elle Harrer, Joey T, Sara Corona
Producer: Nick Fedora

FuegoCast #79: All About the Cups

The gang returns from another hiatus to review Player Insanity: 2015 Summer Edition, the 2-0 Brimstone Cup home win against Dallas, offer criticism to Harry Shipp's form, preview Friday's away match at Portland and Wednesday's huge US Open Cup Semi-Final at Philadelphia, catch up with our beloved Chicago Red Stars, and quickly round up some MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, and Liga MX action. Also, Nick calls in from the 405 with terrible audio quality, Rudy calls from what sounds like the bayou, Gregg sounds pristine, Nick argues the semantics of certain formations to add more defenders, the gang discuss the disturbing trend of awful defending in MLS that will surely kill Nick, Gregg adopts a Liga MX team, Rudy and Gregg discuss more wrestling, and Rudy shows Gregg the Alan Gordon spread.

Host: Gregg Mixdorf

Panelist: Rudy Gomez

Producer: Nick Fedora

Download: Fuego Ep. 79

Breaking Down the Breakdowns: vs. Charlotte

Hello again fans, I'm back to write about more defensive breakdowns. Let's take a look at Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup win in which our Men In Red conceded a fifth minute goal. Navigate the Learning Curve

I really wanted to take break down this goal because it is another sign of a developing defense with youngsters Matt Polster at center back and Chris Ritter in the midfield. I haven't seen much of the team this year because of my overwhelming work schedule, but I already broke down a Matt Polster mistake from the season debut against Los Angeles and wanted to look further at another hard knock lesson. This may seem like I'm being harsh on the kids highlighting another mistake, but it's honestly quite the contrary. We've all been encouraged by Polster's play this year and seeing him and Ritter log more minutes on the field will reap long term rewards, especially if they learn from situations like this.

So let's establish where everyone is positionally. We have, right to left, Lovel Palmer at right back, Polster and Adailton at center back, and Greg Cochrane at left back with Ritter and Matt Watson in the central midfield and Sean Johnson back in goal.

1 Zahorski 1

Here we see Polster aggressively step into the midfield from his position on the backline to intercept a pass. Well done, son.

1 Zahorski 2

Unfortunately, his interception goes directly to Paolo DelPiccolo who quickly outlets to Jorge Herrera to start the counter attack. With Polster out of position and beaten, the back four becomes a back three with Palmer and Cochrane pinching in to cover Adailton.

1 Zahorski 3

Adailton does well to stop the immediate counter attack as Ritter and Polster both drop back to cover the empty space Adailton vacated when stopping the play. The fluidity of the play sees Adailton at right back, Polster and Ritter at center back, and Palmer applying pressure to the ball.

1 Zahorski 4

Charlotte retains possession of the ball and now Alex Martinez finds time and space to pick his head up to make a play. We see Herrera dropping into the midfield with no one around him and Tomasz Zahorski on the inside of Cochrane's shoulder calling for a long ball put in the huge gap between Cochrane and Polster. This is where the unfamiliarity of the defense and inexperience of Polster and Ritter shows itself.

A decision has to be made, and quickly, at this time: Should Ritter or Adailton close down Herrera? Adailton was closer to Herrera and Ritter was in position to provide cover at center back during the retreat, but Ritter starts returning to his midfield position leaving the heart of the defense completely vulnerable. Either Ritter has to stay in position to cover allowing Adailton to close down, or Polster has to slide over to close the gap between him and Cochrane allowing Adailton to return to the defensive line. The defense is now off balance over committing to the near side with an attacker in an advantageous position over Cochrane and Andrew Ribiero on the far side starting a run to the weak side flank. Cochrane would have been able to address Ribiero's run if he had Ritter or Polster next to him to track Zahorski.

1 Zahorski 5

Zahorski receives the through pass and attacks the goal with Ribiero well behind the defense, and offside, but available for an easy square ball tap in.

1 Zahorski 6

Of course, I don't like seeing defensive mistakes, but these are the kind of mistakes I classify under "acceptable growing pains" of our future generation. Show the kids the tape, teach them, encourage them, and this kind of problem will happen less frequently. Nothing about this was careless or lazy or from a veteran who should know better. It's a sign our boys still have much to learn and will continue to progress as long as they see meaningful game time.

But still, shuttle runs, fellas.

FuegoCast #76: Panelists in Cars Talking Soccer

The gang returns to discuss the Fire's 1-0 U.S. Open Cup win against Louisville City, quickly review the team as a whole, update the other Open Cup scores, preview next weekend's home game against D.C. United, and relive the Open Cup penalty shoot-outs, and bookend the show with the transfer news of Jean-Pierre Gingac to Tigres. Also, Gregg returns his patented rolling start, Rudy calls from his car and Gregg apparently can't use the internet.

Host: Gregg Mixdorf

Panelist: Rudy Gomez

Producer: Nick Fedora  

TRT: 55:17

Download: Fuego Ep. 76

MLS/Fire 2014 Preview

Alright, so I didn’t have the chance to write my usual 10,000 word MLS Off-season Transaction bonanza this year but I am here to predict some of the major themes of the MLS 2014 season. In nine months, we can look back at how brilliant or dumb I am for putting these picks on the internet. Huddalis Conference Standings: 1. New York Red Bulls 2. Sporting Kansas City 3. New England Revolution 4. Houston Dynamo 5. Philadelphia Union 6. Chicago Fire 7. Toronto FC 8. D.C. United 9. Columbus Crew 10. Montreal Impact

I’m predicting the top three will remain unchanged unless a long term injury bug hits some big names. In the East, New York is preparing for one final hurrah with Thierry Henry and should have no shortage of motivation to keep them from the top spot. Sporting will flounder a bit during the World Cup months as Graham Zusi and Matt Besler will be on National Team duty. The kids from New England will be another year older and wiser but Teal Bunbury is a step down from Juan Agudelo and Jose Goncalves will practically carry the defense again. Houston looks like they took a big step back in the off-season but I imagine Dom Kinnear has a secret weapon or two he’s going to acquire or develop later in the year. Never count Thug Life Dom Kinnear out.

That leaves the battle for the last playoff spot. The Fire have retooled the centerback pairing while Philadelphia, Toronto, and D.C. made multiple big moves to make them competitive for the playoff push. I like Philly most out of the three as the addition of Maurice Edu will have a significant impact if John Hackworth continues to deploy his preferred 4-3-3. The problem Philadelphia has is the same problem the Fire have in that they are largely dependent on a star forward for goals. Jack McInerney could have kept pace with Mike Magee last year but went cold after the All-Star break. The playoffs could come down to whose supporting cast can help score more goals. Toronto could crash the party as I really like their acquisition of attacking fullback Justin Morrow.

Middleit Conference Standings: 1. Los Angeles 2. Portland Timbers 3. Real Salt Lake 4. FC Dallas 5. Seattle Sounders 6. San Jose Earthquakes 7. Vancouver Whitecaps 8. Colorado Rapids 9. Chivas USA

Again, the top three remain unchanged here, but they have kept core players and addressed weaknesses except for Salt Lake. Jeff Cassar will have some difficult patches to fill when Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio, and probably Nick Rimando go off for World Cup duty. However, the kids that started to develop last year should continue to get minutes and will improve.

The same may not be said for Colorado's promising pick of pups as they haven't formally announced a head coach yet. Word on the street is Pablo Mastroeni will take the reins but having a fresh first year coach develop a team so heavily dependent on rookies may be cause for concern. A promising kid that should do well is Mauro Diaz in Dallas. He is touted as the next David Ferreira, and with Oscar Pareja in charge and Blas Perez ready to knock in goals, Diaz may be ready for a break out season.

Seattle, San Jose, and Vancouver will be clawing for that last spot. I know Seattle has some big names but I need to see their game come together first. Time will tell if Chad Marshall is aging or experienced, though I don't imagine that turf will help his injury issues, Jalil Anibaba may not be cut out for the Western finesse, and there are the usual issues with Marco Pappa and Kenny Cooper and the useless at Fulham Clint Dempsey. San Jose may squeeze out that last spot as Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Andreas Gorlitz strengthen a squad with the meanest attacking corps and an intimidating spine with Sam Cronin anchoring the midfield and Clarence Goodson and Victor Bernardez holding down the middle of defense. Vancouver looks much improved, especially after getting Matias Laba from Toronto, but the questions of consistency up front with Darren Mattocks and Russell Teibert and durability in the back with Jay Demerit may see the Whitecaps out of playoff contention.

As for Chivas USA? Well, they're much improved. I like the Mauro Rosales and Andrew Jean-Baptiste signings, but Rosales is fragile and Jean-Baptiste is a very raw talent. I don't see them anywhere but last. They won't be a three point ATM like they were last season, but they should still finish last. At least they'll get a new team identity this year which leads me to...

Top 5 Best New Names for Chivas USA: 1. MLS SC 2. Dan Kennedy’s Fainting Goat Farm 3. The House that Chelis Flipped 4. The Shrine of Don Garber 5. LA Galaxy III presented by Samsung

Supporter’s Shield Winner: Los Angeles Galaxy Bruce Arena’s squad is very good from top to bottom and with no international duty from Robbie Keane it’s hard to imagine them losing a step. Bringing in Rob Friend is a great pick up that will allow them the added dimension of using a target forward in attack. Gyassi Zardes is a young attacker that has high hopes of himself becoming an elite attacking force in the league. If there was ever a time for him to step up and deliver, it will be when Landon Donovan is away on World Cup duty. And don’t forget about the central midfield of Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas that may be one of the best, if not the best, in the league. However, the rest of the West is a dogfight and a few points taken here or there will keep the Shield in the East.

MLS MVP Winner: Graham Zusi I hesitate predicting the MVP to be someone who will be on World Cup duty, but c’mon, MLS will be gargling so hard on the national team vets. I don’t see it going any other way.

MLS Discipline Winner: Aurelien Colin So much filth.

MLS Cup Final: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Sporting Kansas City Anything can happen in the playoffs but I’m convinced two of the strongest and deepest rosters are bound to meet in the Final this season. I think the Galaxy win their fifth title and third in four years this year.

US Open Cup winner: New England Revolution The West may be better this year but with everyone beating each other up all season long I think the focus on those teams will be on the regular season meaning this trophy is the East’s to lose again. The Fire are always a threat and will go far, New York may take this one seriously for once, and Kansas City always wants to add trophies. However, I think Jay Heaps will throw his eager kids at this trophy and can do the business in a one and done format.

Fire Golden Boot winner: Mike Magee At some point in the season it will become apparent that Anangono just won’t work up front by himself and it will be up to Magee to score the goals in a flat 4-4-2. I predict Magee will end up with a very respectable 12 goals. More emphasis will be placed on scoring goals from all over the field as the attacking weapons are there to help contribute from the midfield.

Fire MVP: Sean Johnson The Milkman keeps getting better and better every year and this may be his year to reach the second highest echelon of goalkeepers. I still think he’s a way off from the Top 5 in MLS, but a strong end to the 2013 season should give him some momentum coming into this season.

Fire Mid-Season DP Acquisition: Berdi Samyradow Heh.

Fire player most likely to be traded during the season: Patrick Nyarko People aren’t going to like this one, but Nyarko is 28 and losing trade value. We all know he isn’t going to get the gaudy goal scoring numbers, but his defensive effort and playmaking production was down last year and Frank Yallop may focus his attack through the central midfield of Alex and Magee to serve Anongano. A healthy first half of the season would be a huge help to his chances of staying with the team.

A trade that would make sense to me is to reunite Nyarko with Frank Klopas in Montreal for Felipe who had a falling out at the end of last season and would serve to be an upgrade in attacking midfield over Alex. The move makes sense with the current cap situation as last year Nyarko made $250k guaranteed compared to Felipe’s $182k. Nyarko’s salary number may be too high to take on, but Klopas would benefit as the speedy winger duo of Nyarko and Justin Mapp would terrorize fullbacks and serve Marco Di Vaio easy tap-ins that will be called back for offside.

Number of times Stephen will record the FuegoCast completely huddled: 3

Fantasy MLS Gin League winner: Bombay Bombers C’mon, I have to pick my team to win, obviously. The competition is fierce with Gregg and Stephen joining in as well as many other friends of the FuegoCast show. A great time will be had by all.

Enjoy the season, everyone.

FuegoCast #32: When Huddalis Became Middleit

Well, here it is. The (very) long awaited Best of Fuego Cast in all its fantastic glory. Take a journey with us back to when optimism reigned before the 2013 season began, Magic Mike Magee became the hero of the squad, the Fire front office made a questionable media editorial... well, yeah, that one, but the other ones too, and plenty of talk over Frank Klopas as Head Coach. And, of course, we have the best of Tweets and Huddalis where we discover the origin story behind Wells Thompson's "El Diablo" nickname, the gang gargles over handsome men (on multiple occasions), Tweed gets a bit Mad, Stephen gets a bit huddled, Ellen gets a bit shouty at Rudy, Nick gets a bit punny, and Gregg gets a bit swoony over independent wrestlers.

It's a long one so grab your finest (or cheapest) gin, beer, wine, or sparkling water and enjoy the show. We sure enjoy making it. Thank you for listening.

Also, if you haven't seen already, we are now on Stitcher, so go do what you will with that. Feel free to rate the show and leave comments and reviews for us. If there is any other way you would like us to make the podcast available for you, let us know in the comments or tweet at us @FuegodemiVida.

Host: Gregg Mixdorf Producer: Nick Fedora [audio] TRT: 90:23

Thoughts on DC United

Our podcast should be up sometime before the Open Cup where we preview the game in depth (and get a little silly of course). I thought I'd throw in some thoughts after watching DC United's last game against the Montreal Impact. Most notably Dwayne De Rosario looks healthy and good to go. He was particularly spry in the first half. Linking well with Luis Silva and being a pest in general.  Rosario played as the upfront striker most of the time. He would dip back into the midfield to collect and create as well. Reminded me of Blanco's role with the Fire in 2009. DC's defensive midfield was stout against Montreal allowing Rosario to be so offensively adventurous. De Rosario is more of a defensive liability these days. He still is worth every penny offensively.  DC finding a way to make the most of his talents while hiding him on defense is solid tactics.

Joe Willis was very solid in goal. Made several good saves. Ben Olsen is going to reward Willis with the start on Wednesday as he has been in goal for all US Open cup games so far. It is a fine decision as Bill Hamid didn't see any time during the Gold Cup.

When Montreal was able to attack the DC back line with speed they were able to succeed. In particular a nicely worked one two between Jeb Brovsky and Davy Arnaud (fantastic flick from Arnaud) allowed Montreal to score. One would expect the Fire's speedy attack to continue to cause the DC defense the same issues it did in the last two times the teams faced off. In particular the counter attack is a weapon that DC doesn't handle well. For whatever reason the Montreal counter attack was slow to develop the chances that they did have were snuffed out by Willis or were just bad shots. Marco Di Vaio in particular had a chance that you would expect him to score on.

John Thorrington was rested with quad tightness. The rest of the familiar names not in the DC United line up were out with injury. DC has had a terrible time with injuries this year. This allowed them to play some of their newly acquired kids. Conor Doyle (American on loan from Derby County) and Colin Martin (Academy product who made his debut against Montreal) both came in as subs and played quite well. Doyle notably netting the game winner. Jared Jeffrey (acquired via a waiver draft on July 3rd, he previously played with the Mainz reserves) started, played the full ninety, and scored. Other things of note: Nick DeLeon looked good for the first time this season. He had an incredible shot attempt saved by Troy Perkins. United was able to sub off DeLeon, De Rosario and Silva to rest them for Wednesday.

I expect this game to be a war. Neither squad is going to back down. You know that DC sees this as a chance for redemption for their historically horrid season (seriously they just won their third league game of the year). While the Fire have made the Open Cup a priority this season. Looking to win number five. This isn't the same DC United team the Fire beat up a few short weeks ago. De Rosario is back, Luis Silva has a goal streak going, and some young kids are making the most of their so far limited opportunities. Defensively they are still the same but if Saturday was any indication it looks like they are starting to be able to hold their own again.

I'm thinking the Fire will win in a nervy, tension filled showdown 2-1 in extra time. See you at the match tonight.