Preview: Fire and Dynamo ready for return to action
CHICAGO FIRE vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
April 15, 2012 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #53)
6 p.m. CT (Galavisión)
The Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo both return from layoffs when the clubs meet in an intraconference clash Sunday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire come into the game after a week off, their last match a 2-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids. The Dynamo have had two weeks off since suffering their first loss on their season-opening road trip, a 2-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC.
REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Drew Fischer
MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 2; pens: 8
- CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Steven Kinney (R posterior tibialis tendinitis); DF Cory Gibbs (R knee meniscus tear); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dan Gargan (L toe sprain)
- HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: MF Brad Davis (L calf strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: HOU: Colin Clark (through April 28); Adam Moffat (through April 14)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Sebastian Grazzini
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 15 goals … Dynamo 6 wins, 20 goals … Ties 3
AT CHICAGO (6 meetings): Fire 1 win, 6 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 7/3: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire, 7:30 p.m. CT; 9/2: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m. CT (Galavision)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/23: CHI 1, HOU 1 (Chaves 18 – Boswell 83)
10/1: HOU 1, CHI 1 (Clark 33 – Oduro 43)
- The teams played to a pair of 1-1 draws in their two meetings last season.
- Houston won on three consecutive visits to Toyota Park from 2007-2009, before the Fire claimed a 2-0 victory in their home fixture in 2010.
- Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. HOU: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Dominic Kinnear vs. CHI: P17 W7 L5 D5
The Chicago Fire return to action after a week off, their last match a 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids on April 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Fire are in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 4 points from 3 games.
- The Rapids opened the scoring in the 58th minute. Newcomer Martín Rivero placed a perfect long ball through to the streaking Brian Mullan down the right flank, and he then centered to a wide-open Cummings. The Jamaican then coolly slotted home for his second goal of the season.
- The Rapids added an insurance goal in the second minute of second-half stoppage time through Kamani Hill. The forward collected a pass from Wells Thompson and fired a shot at Paolo Tornaghi, which rebounded straight back to the newly acquired Hill, who then sent a powerful finish to the back of the net from the rebound.
- Fire head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that claimed a 1-0 victory against Philadelphia Union at Toyota Park. Rafael Robayo made his first MLS start, replacing Dan Gargan.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-3-1-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Logan Pause (Orr Barouch 83), Cory Gibbs, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Rafael Robayo (Daniel Paladini 61), Pavel Pardo, Marco Pappa (Federico Puppo 78) - Sebastian Grazzini - Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro.
- The Fire are coming off their first defeat of the season, and their first shutout of the campaign.
- “We basically played like a 4-4-1-1 and matched up a little bit better in the middle and were a little bit better with the ball. But still in the final third, movement without the ball was not good,” said Fire manager Frank Klopas. “We just looked flat. We weren’t really very good on the day. We had a couple of opportunities but I felt we didn’t make them really pay for it on a couple chances. It’s a tough one, it’s disappointing and we’ve just got to move on.”
- The Fire suffered a blow in their week off when defender Cory Gibbs suffered an injury to his right knee that required surgery for a torn meniscus. He is expected to miss 4-6 months.
- “I’ve dealt with injuries in the past and have come back to perform at a high level. I hate missing training and contributing in games so from the first day after the operation, I’m going to do everything I can to get back as soon as possible,” Gibbs said.
- Gibbs’ absence means former German international Arne Friedrich will almost certainly be called upon to start against the Dynamo. Friedrich had targeted this week for his return to action, and played 88 minutes in a bye week match against the University of Louisville.
- "This is my target,’" said Friedrich. "(Saturday) was my first game after six months. I’m about 70 percent, but to be 100 percent I need some games.’"
- Said Klopas: “It’s great that we have someone like Arne, with experience who can also step in and communicate and help the guys around him. It’s unfortunate, because Cory’s very important to the team. You try to have depth in the team when opportunities arise, you never want it to come to situations like this.”
- In addition, the Fire again expect to have fullback Dan Gargan available. He missed the Colorado match with a toe injury; Logan Pause moved from the midfield back to right back.
- “I think it’s a really unfortunate result for us especially coming in here and starting the game off well and coming into halftime at zeros,” said Pause. “I think the game was for the taking and I think in the second half we kind of lost our shape and discipline a little bit and we ended up getting punished.”
- In the bye week, the Fire defeated the University of Louisville 1-0. The game’s lone goal was scored by Marco Pappa after 12 minutes. Klopas used the match to run out 21 players.
- A year ago, the Fire were 1-1-1 after three games. But after the loss in Game 3 – a 2-1 defeat at Seattle – Chicago did not win again until June 12 (going 11 games without a victory), and that win was their lone in league play until mid-August.
- “It’s just one game,” said striker Patrick Nyarko. “You look around the game, and Colorado is one of the toughest places to play in the league. We’re not going to go kill ourselves over this.”
The Houston Dynamo return to action after a two-week layoff, their last match a 2-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC on March 23 at CenturyLink Field. The Dynamo are in a three-way tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 6 points from 2 games.
- Sounders FC grabbed control of the match with two goals in a five-minute span. In the 23rd minute, a corner kick was headed outside the area to where David Estrada waited. His long-range blast deflected off Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron on its way into the net, leaving goalkeeper Tally Hall with no chance.
- Cameron’s nightmare continued three minutes later when referee Balmodero Toledo whistled the Dynamo center back for undercutting Patrick Ianni during a Seattle corner kick. Brad Evans converted the resulting penalty to put Seattle ahead 2-0.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at AT&T Park. Corey Ashe returned to left back in place of Jermaine Taylor.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 46), Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson (Luiz Camargo 67), Brad Davis - Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 76), Will Bruin.
- The Dynamo resume their seven-game road swing to start the 2012 season after two weeks off from league play.
- After the loss in Seattle, the Dynamo first lost midfielder Colin Clark when he was suspended three games for using unacceptable and offensive language toward a ball boy at CenturyLink Field.
- Then, the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended midfielder Adam Moffat for one game for a reckless challenge which endangered the safety of his opponent in the Sounders FC match.
- A week before the Fire match, the Dynamo suffered a third blow when midfielder Brad Davis suffered a strain in his left calf.
- “The good news is it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be,” said Davis. “This little thing is the nature of the beast and it can happen at any time. It’s frustrating because I want to be out there competing but the good news I’ll be ready to go sooner rather than later.”
- Said Kinnear: “It’s not so good knowing Colin’s not going to play and Adam’s not going to play. We talked at the beginning of the season about testing the team’s depth and this will definitely be one of those times if Brad’s not going to be able to make it.”
- An option to fill a midfield spot could be Nathan Sturgis – who, like teammate Geoff Cameron, can also figure as a central defender.