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The Fire's Recent Changes Pay Off

By Todd McClamroch in News on Jul 30, 2007 1:30PM

2007_07_29_carr.jpgThe Fire's recent changes, bringing in Juan Carlos Osorio as head coach and signing Cuauhtemoc Blanco, are paying off as the Fire earned their first victory since the first week of June. Many, including Chicagoist questioned the Fire's decision to sign Blanco figuring that a combination of his aging legs and his often destructive temper would not allow him to be a productive member of the team. Since joining the Fire a little over a week ago Chicagoist is seeing a positive effect on the team. On Sunday Blanco provided a perfectly timed and placed pass to set up the game-winning goal by Ivan Guerrero against Toronto FC. Just a week earlier in an international friendly Blanco scored the lone goal for the Fire in his debut.

With Blanco as part of the line-up, Coach Osorio has asked Calen Carr and Chad Barrett to push forward more to allow Blanco more room to move in the space behind them. Since Blanco arrived Carr’s play looks rejuvenated and is thriving in his modified role scoring his second goal this season and providing an assist in the 3-0 victory over Toronto FC. In fairness to the Fire and Toronto FC this was a weak Toronto squad that suffered injuries to their two keepers so they started David Monsalve who at eighteen was the youngest goalkeeper to start an MLS match. Also missing for Toronto FC were Jeff Cunningham, Ronnie O'Brien and Marvell Wynne, all out due to injuries (nice to see the Fire are not the only ones with that problem)
The win moves the Fire from being the sole owners for last place in the east into a tie with Toronto FC with a record of 5-8-4. It is the first Fire victory since they defeated the Columbus Crew 3-2 on June 3 who they will host this Saturday.

The Fire will be receiving additional firepower for the remainder of the season when Costa Rican international Paulo Wachope was signed late last week. Wanchope is another proven goal scorer but, like Blanco, one that is on the wrong end of the age curve. However Chicagoist will give the Fire some leeway after seeing how the Blanco signing has panned out. We look forward to watching this team develop as they try to fight their way back into the playoff hunt.