The debut of the Veljko Paunovic-led Fire wasn't exactly what the team had in mind.
However, after Sunday's 4-3 loss to New York City FC, Paunovic and his players were staying positive.
After all, the Fire scored three goals and were still being asked about being more efficient with their chances. The attack did its job with David Accam playing a starring role.
However, the brand new defense struggled. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson owned up to some of the problems early, but the defense in front of him wasn't sharp either.
"The first half was definitely not good," Lampson said. "That third goal is on me and it's something that I need to learn from and get better. It's tough to learn from a loss. Obviously you want to learn from a win, but the pieces are there. I think we had the opportunity to score a lot of goals today and I think that's good going forward. I think it's going to take time for us to jell. I thought the second half was a lot better. With the wind it was a lot easier to play out of the back and it's a work in progress."
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The back four of Brandon Vincent, Joao Meira, Johan Kappelhof and Michael Harrington made their Fire debuts. The first three from that group made their MLS debuts.
Still, Paunovic refused to criticize the defenders, rather saying the whole team is responsible.
"I would say defensively, I'm not saying defense four guys or five guys, I'm talking about the whole team," Paunovic said. "Defensively we have to work all together. The teamwork is what it takes to defend well so I think that the guys in the first half had issues, especially with [David] Villa and other guys, but I think they adapted and they adjusted.
"It's the first game and we will improve."
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Lampson got caught in possession by NYCFC's pressure early on, which affected the Fire's ability to build out of the back. There was an adjustment and improvement throughout the match from Lampson, but damage had already been done with three goals in the first 36 minutes, which forced the Fire to chase.
"I think the wind gave us the most trouble early on, honestly," Lampson said. "The same thing happened to New York in the second half because they tried to play out of the back, too. It was really difficult. Villa is very good at pressing. Obviously it took me three or four balls back to really realize that and that's on me, but their pressing was organized, their pressing was good and with the wind it was difficult to play behind them because of that."
Lampson said he found out earlier on Sunday that he would be starting and will continue to prepare as if he will be the starter. The debut didn't go as planned, but seeing how Paunovic responds to the performance in terms of his selections will be a telling moment early in his tenure.
The Fire now head to Orlando, which had a crowd of over 60,000 for a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake, on Friday with a home loss on the record. That will not be an easy game, especially considering the Fire didn't win a game on the road in all of 2015.
However, they say they believe in what Paunovic is doing and saw enough to believe things will get better.
"I'm encouraged by what I've seen today," Accam said. "We created a lot of chances. On another day we will finish four of five goals."