A slow start to the season and some sloppy play in the Fire’s 2-1 home opening defeat to San Jose on April 10 put Fire defender Tim Ward in the doghouse. His performance in the Fire’s 2-0 win over Houston on Saturday night just may have gotten him out.
“I was kind of in the doghouse,” Ward admitted after Saturday night’s match. “I had a pretty bad game the other night [against San Jose], so it just feels good to play a game and get a win. We worked really hard tonight.”
Ward, who didn’t make the game day roster (or the traveling squad) for the Fire’s 2-0 win at D.C. United last week, enjoyed a solid outing against Houston. The 23-year-old right back only started on Saturday because Dasan Robinson—who started at right back for the D.C. match—was out injured, but Ward took full advantage of his opportunity. He defended well, got up the field frequently, provided several excellent crosses and even set up the Fire’s first goal.
“It was big -- all the guys were encouraging me and coach was encouraging me,” Ward said of his performance before head coach Carlos de los Cobos interrupted the interview with a fist bump for the right back. “It was just good to play. Every once in a while you’re going to have a bad game. You just got to come back and play hard.”
But Ward’s performance earned him more than a fist pound from de los Cobos. The Fire’s first year head coach reserved a portion of his press conference to praise Ward.
“I’m happy for Timmy,” de los Cobos said. “I think that he needed this performance to feel good with himself. He can help us do [a lot].”
Ward’s next opportunity to help the Fire will come Saturday against Chivas USA, when he’ll likely make his fifth start of the season.