The Fire used two completely different lineups in each half. Many, if not all, of the players from the first half will be first-teamers, with a lot of youngsters that will not see first-team action in the regular season playing in the second half.
Some Notes and Thoughts
Despite the first-half lineup containing many first-teamers, the starting XI that will take the field in Miami on February 26 could still look vastly different.
Rafael Czichos is still in Germany sorting out visa issues but is set to join the team this week. Miguel Ángel Navarro is on international duty, so new draft pick Charlie Ostrem had to fill in at left back. On top of all that, the Fire still have two more Designated Player spots to fill.
It would be surprising if the Fire do not use at least one of those spots on an attacking-minded player. While the Fire did have some nice play up the pitch, they definitely need some help in the final third.
The trade for Kacper Przybylko was a good start, but he seemed alone up top at times and did not receive great service throughout the first half.
That being said, there was some great play through the middle of the pitch. Federico Navarro picked up right where he left off and took control of the midfield. Fabian Herbers was a standout, as well as Gaston Gimenez, who looked more than comfortable in a more attacking midfield role.
Ratings for key players:
Spencer Richey – 7/10: Commanded the 18-yard box well. Not challenged at all.
Boris Sekulic – 6/10: Did not have a whole lot to do but did well when called upon.
Jhon Jairo Espinoza – 6/10: Solid on the right-hand side of the defense. Not all that much to do.
Wyatt Omsberg – 7/10: Did not put a foot wrong. Looked calm and collected throughout the first half.
Jonathan Bornstein 6/10: You could hear him talk to youngsters such as Charlie Ostrem throughout the game. A true leader.
Charlie Ostrem – 6/10: Great debut for the youngster! Looked a little frantic at times but did not make a mistake and got a couple of crosses in as well.
Federico Navarro – 8/10: Picked up right where he left off during the 2021 season. Controlled midfield and spurred on attack.
Mauricio Pineda – 6/10: Quiet but stayed back for the most part as Navarro was the DM that went forward more often.
Gaston Gimenez – 7/10: Looked comfortable in an attacking midfield role. Had a couple of shots, one that needed a good save.
Stanislav Ivanov – 5/10: Looks shy on the ball and lacks confidence. Did not look to attack; crosses were inaccurate.
Fabian Herbers – 8/10: The biggest standout for the Fire. Was everywhere on the pitch and created some good chances for others.
Kacper Przybylko – 6/10: Good hold-up play but did not see the ball much other than that.
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