The Louisiana Fire “GCPL” formed in March of 2016. The third club in the GCPL to be created from a youth organization, the Louisiana Fire Juniors, which is partnered with MLS club, Chicago Fire, the Fire have been active in their preparation for the upcoming season and have shown some flashes of possibly being a contender in the league.
Team Overview: In their 8 month existence, the Fire have focused on building a squad featuring a good bit of graduating players from their youth program. On the attacking side, Josey Portillo and Daniel Moise, both former players of the Fire Juniors, are set to give the Fire their attacking power, along with the assistance of former Caversham AFC striker, Carson Gorecki. In the midfield the Fire look to utilize a few returning players from their summer preseason, Ben Barcelona, Dean Floyd and Jorge Duarte; with the addition of Adam Toras and Tiago Fernandes. On the defensive front a few new faces are predicted to anchor the back. Kenton Avilez and Ozan Gokdemir will join returning players Oscar Vega, DJ Bremmerman and Teddy Benjamin. Between the sticks will feature Pepe Serrano and Charlie Hancock III.
On paper, the attacking front looks to be the strength for the boys in red and could be what keeps their title hopes alive. Josey Portillo, older brother of Charleston Battery midfielder, Justin Portillo, should offer some great experience along with 29 year old Minnesota native, Carson Gorecki. The midfield is set to feature some experienced players as well with Adam Toras, formerly of the New Orleans Jesters, and Centenary product, Ben Barcelona. The defense will be without it’s starting centerback, Teddy Benjamin, until after December, and will have to focus on finding the perfect partnership between Kenton Avilez, Oscar Vega and Adam France. Of course, this is just on paper.
Always a difficult task to gauge how a new club will fare without any past results to back it up. If their early preseason 3-0 loss vs. Biloxi City FC is to give us an idea of what to expect then the Fire could find themselves struggling to find their footing in the GCPL. With two away games v. BOCA FC and Shreveport Rafters FC, the Fire will be tested early to get their legs under them.
Something to chew on though. For a team with one of the more prestigious youth clubs in Louisiana, the Fire could be in prime position to build for the future. A few younger players have featured for the Fire senior team over the summer and contributed nicely. 15 year old, Kenroy Rodriguez, bagged a hat trick in their away contest vs. Real United Riverhawks, and had an assist and a goal vs. the Houston Dynamo U23. 17 year old Nigerian, Daniel Eyo, also found the back of the net three times in their 9-0 win over Mandeville United.
One to watch: Josey Portillo, Attacking Midfielder
The former Florida Gulf Coast University standout is expected to lead the attack for the boys in red. Having spent a good amount of stints at various PDL and NPSL clubs (VSI Tampa Bay, Baton Rouge Capitals, Chicago Fire PDL and the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves), Portillo brings much needed experience to a fairly young Fire squad. Over the summer, Portillo scored 7 goals out of the five contest he competed in with the Fire.