After securing their first win since Aug. 26 last weekend, the Fire were back on the training field for four straight days and closed out the week with a competitive, full-field scrimmage on Friday.
Between their result against the New England Revolution and final away fixture of the season against D.C. United, the Men in Red will experience a 15-day break in action, the longest since a 20-day interval in mid-April.
The Fire will take Saturday and Sunday off and take advantage of the bye week before regrouping to prepare for a trip to the nation's capital on Oct. 18 (1 p.m. CT; CSN/CSN+).
Some notes from training:
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Interim coach Brian Bliss invited five players from the USL ranks to join the team in training: Romeo Filipović (Arizona United), Jamiel Hardware (Saint Louis FC), Parker Maher (Saint Louis FC), James Musa (Saint Louis FC) and Jason Plumhoff (Harrisburg City Islanders).
"Knowing in advance that you're going to lose guys [to the international break] and knowing we had the [bye week], it was an easy solution to get these guys in this week and keep the numbers up," Bliss said.
Five Fire players in action during international break
David Accam (Ghana), Daneil Cyrus and Joevin Jones (Trinidad and Tobago), Collin Fernandez (U.S. U-20s) and Matt Polster (United States Under-23s) are all with their respective national teams, and will remain with them until the end of the current international window (Oct. 13).
- Accam is in Washington, D.C. as the Black Stars ready themselves for their international friendly against Canada at RFK Stadium on Oct. 13.
- Cyrus and Jones both featured for head coach Stephen Hart's side in a gritty 2-1 victory over Panama on Oct. 8. Cyrus was a second-half substitute and played 35 minutes, while Jones started and came off at the 77-minute mark. The Soca Warriors return to Port of Spain, Trinidad to face Nicaragua at Hasely Crawford Stadium on Oct. 13.
- Fernandez earned a late call-up to the U.S. U-20s prior to the New England match. Fernandez, along with Fire Academy standout Cameron Lindley, were summoned by head coach Tab Ramos to take part in the Four Nations Tournament. Ramos' outfit was handily dealt an 8-1 loss at the hands of the host nation in Stuttgart on Oct. 6. The U-20s face Scotland on Oct. 9 and wrap up the event with a match against Mexico on Oct. 12.
- Polster helped Andi Herzog's group record three wins in group play and secure a spot in the Olympic qualifying tournament semifinal against Honduras (2 p.m. CT; Telemundo) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The Fire rookie started and featured the full 90 minutes at right back in the opening 3-1 win over Canada on Oct. 1, and at midfield in the comfortable 4-0 victory over Panama on Oct. 6. The 22-year-old also started and played 60 minutes against Cuba, and tallyed an assist in the U.S.'s 6-1 win on Oct. 3.
Following a convincing 3-1 victory over the Revolution, Bliss confirmed to reporters that midfielder Razvan Cocis and forward Gilberto took knocks to the ankle and the "top of the foot," respectively. Both were involved in full training throughout the week.
Adaílton (core muscle repair surgery), Ty Harden (right adductor strain) and Sean Johnson (left shoulder labral tear) all continued to do work off to the side. Adaílton engaged in light jogging around the field separate from Harden and Johnson, who progressed to some sprint work along the sideline. Eric Gehrig (navicular stress fracture) - on crutches - watched on from afar.
NOTE: Harden, Mike Magee and Matt Watson will be the three out-of-contract players when the regular season ends on Oct. 25, a club spokesman confirmed.