Pause back in midfield

Coach Carlos de los Cobos used his team’s two international friendlies at the Sisters Cities International Cup event to tinker with his lineup and one experiment was especially eye-catching.

Logan Pause, a stalwart defensive midfielder, played at right back in a 3-0 consolation game loss to Poland’s Legia Warsaw.

“I liked it,” said de los Cobos. “Logan did good work. I wasn’t surprised because Logan is a very good professional with a very good personalty and positive attitude.”

The switch, though, came because Tim Ward is out with an injury and Dasan Robinson wasn’t feeling well. It was made out of immediate necessity more than anything else.

Robinson will be back in that spot when the Fire hosts FC Dallas on Thursday and Pause will be back at his defensive midfield position.

HERE’S some tidbits gathered during the Fire’s mid-week training:

— The Fire’s Premier Development team hosts the Cincinnati Kings on the Toyota Park turf field Tuesday night. It’ll be the third match for the Fire PDL squad following a 2-0 win over the Kalamazoo Outrage and 1-0 victory over the Indiana Invaders. On Saturday the Fire visits the Cleveland Internationals. Wins in both games will probably be needed for the Fire PDLers to advance to the Great Lakes Division qualifying table in the U.S. Open Cup eliminations.

— The first team’s injury problem is lessening. Justin Mapp played well against Legia and could start on the left side of the midfield against FC Dallas if Mike Banner isn’t up to it. Rookie defender Steve Kinney is also back full-time after battling a long-term injury. Still out are John Thorrington and Calen Carr.

— Patrick Nyarko’s absence from the lineup sheet for the Legia match wasn’t because of injury. De los Cobos just wanted to rest him. He was missed, as the Fire was crushed 3-0. “When we don’t have Patrick on the field we have problems,” said de los Cobos. “He’s a very good player. We need to take care of this guy.”

— Technical director Frank Klopas won’t be going to South Africa for next month’s World Cup finals. He’ll watch the matches on TV, but prefers to stay close to his team even though there’ll be no Fire matches during the World Cup. The Fire, which doesn’t have a player participating at South Africa, is expected to take a five-day break from training when the big international tournament is in progress.

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