Reserve League #2: Fire Reserves vs. New York Reserves

I'm going to try to keep this one short and sweet.

With many Fire players out injured, the Fire Reserves team was very much lacking in players actually on the roster. When the only player on the backline who is actually on the team roster is a recovering from concussion Michael Videira, you know you're going to have a long day. Sure enough, the Fire Reserves conceded four goals in the first half to a decently stocked New York Reserves team. It seriously looked like the Fire were the away team that took a bunch of kids in the airport with them. 

With Corben Bone wearing the captain's armband for the Fire Reserves, the tone of the game was set early as New York Reserves dominated possession and kept the field tilted in their attacking third. For the Fire Reserves to have any chance in this game, Paolo Tornaghi would have had to channel his inner Gianluigi Buffon and stand on his head to deny waves of wide open New York Reserves attackers within 10 yards from goal. This was not to be the case, however, as Tornaghi was left abandoned by the guest players on his backline.

Much maligned and subject of many jokes Roy Miller had an absolute field day on the left side pushing forward often and provided three -- YES, THREE -- assists as the forward tandem of Lloyd Sam and Andre Akpan were ruthless in front of goal and scored at will. 

Akpan, a frequent scorer against the Fire Reserves, had a brace tonight in the first half.

Tornaghi, as heroic an effort as he could muster, did leave his near post too open as Sam ripped through the Fire Reserves defense for the Red Bulls Reserves third goal. The Italian goalkeeper would see his night end at halftime after conceding four goals in his second straight game on the Toyota Park field. 

Right before halftime, the Fire Reserves mustered the only goal they could when Quincy Amarikwa played the ball wide to the right flank where Yazid Atouba dribbled back to the center of the field and unleashed a curling left footed effort that nestled just inside the far post.

The second half was much like the first with New York Reserves completely dominating possession. 

Michael Bustamante entered the match for New York Reserves and had an immediate impact netting two goals past Fire Reserves second half goalkeeper Alec Kann. Bustamante was a presence in the attacking midfield for New York Reserves, and could have had a hat trick, but none of his other efforts at goal were threatening enough to find the back of the net. 

As to be expected from a team containing a large amount of guest players, the Fire Reserves were simply overrun and outmatched at every position of the field. Amarikwa and Colin Rolfe were absolutely ineffective as they were starved of service from a midfield that could not get a handle on the game. Corben Bone was decent in the middle but, like the rest of the team, chased the game from the opening whistle. Brendan King is on the full roster yet did not make the starting lineup (hmmm...) and when he did play in the second half was made very little happen, save for a shot that was deflected out for a corner. Defensively, it's safe to say the kids at the back will not be making their way on the roster. Videira was often pulled out of position to clean up the sloppy play from his backline colleagues leaving his flank exposed. 

But enough about the heavy 6-1 loss, there were some positives to take from the game. Yazid Atouba continues to impress with electric pace, a velvet touch, and sweet cracks at goal. Defensively, Atouba needs to show more responsibility and help out after turning the ball over. Tornaghi and Kann made most of the saves they could have made, but giving up six goals never looks good for a goalkeeper. And wee little guest player #94 had to have been a teenager that showed some calm on the ball and made some decent passes.

Other highlights of the match were Wells Thompson enjoying a post game meal from the stands in the company of loved ones, Kevin Hartman entering a Reserve League match as a substitute, Kevin Hartman getting heckled by Podcast de mi Vida panelist Rudy Gomez, Quincy Amarikwa losing his shit at the end of the game in frustration with life and the pursuit of happiness, and the remaining Section 8 fans breaking out the "Tequila" song at slightly inappropriate moments. 

Seriously, Reserve League games are a lot of fun. Fire Reserves next home game is Wednesday, May 1st at the Toyota Park practice field at 10 AM against FC Dallas. Do yourself a favor and make the trip. It's always a hoot.