Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire: MLS Match Preview

April 13, 2013 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #59)
5 p.m. ET (UniMas; CSN-Hou)

The Houston Dynamo return home looking to make history when they play host to the Chicago Fire at BBVA Compass Stadium in a rematch of their postseason encounter of a year ago. The Dynamo are looking to set the league’s home undefeated record of 35 games across all competitions, though they are coming off a 2-0 loss at the Portland Timbers last weekend. The Fire finally broke out of their early-season struggles with a first win of the season last weekend, a 3-1 defeat of the New York Red Bulls at home.


REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. SAR (bench): Eric Proctor; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 55 games; FC/gm: 22.7; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 4; pens: 7


ALL-TIME (15 meetings): Dynamo 6 wins, 22 goals … Fire 4 wins, 19 goals … Ties 5
AT HOUSTON (7 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 10 goals … Fire 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCHES: 7/27: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire, 7 p.m. CT (NBCSN); 9/1: Chicago Fire vs. Houston
Dynamo, 4 p.m. CT (UniMas)

4/15: CHI 1, HOU 1 (Pause 27 – Bruin 24)
7/3: HOU 0, CHI 0
9/2: CHI 3, HOU 1 (Nyarko 1, Paladini 19, Alex 93+ -- Ching 90)

  • The teams met a year ago in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Dynamo taking a 2-1 victory at Toyota Park on their way to an eventual appearance in MLS Cup 2012.
  • In league play, the Dynamo last won in Bridgeview in 2009. The Fire won at Robertson Stadium in 2006 and 2007 in their first two trips ever to Houston – and have not won there since.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CHI: P20 W7 L6 D7 … Frank Klopas vs. HOU: P4 W1 L0 D3

The Houston Dynamo lost for the second time in as many road starts, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on Saturday evening. The Dynamo are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 9 points from 5 matches.


  • After a scoreless first half which saw two Timbers starters -- midfielder Diego Valeri and defender David Horst – come off the field injured, Portland took the lead 10 minutes after the break. Ryan Johnson took a perfectly placed cross from Diego Chara and nudged it by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall with a lunging left-footed attempt as the goalkeeper vainly tried to keep it out.
  • Johnson doubled his and the Timbers account in the 73rd minute. He broke free down the left flank, perfectly timing his run behind the Dynamo backline to run onto a through ball from Darlington Nagbe, then buried his angled shot from the left side of the box inside the far post.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that took a 2-0 win against the San Jose Earthquakes at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver came in on the flank for Boniek Garcia, and Cam Weaver started up top in place of Will Bruin.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Andrew Driver, Adam Moffat (Warren Creavalle 64), Ricardo Clark (Omar Cummings 81), Brad Davis - Giles Barnes, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 71).


  • The Dynamo are 0-2-0 away from home this season, but are 3-0-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. After the visit by Chicago, six of their next nine games are on the road.
  • “We wanted to come here and get a good result and obviously that didn’t happen. I thought the first half we put ourselves in a good position, limited their chances, had some good moments ourselves, and in the second half, we were a little bit off that,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
  • Will Bruin did not make the trip to Portland after suffering a hamstring injury late in the win against San Jose, an injury originally suffered a few weeks ago, but one for which he passed a pregame fitness test before the Vancouver match.
  • “I don’t like missing out and I’m trying to get back as quick as I can,” Bruin said. “It’s early in the season and I don’t want it to be nagging all year. I’d rather miss one [game] as opposed to one month. We’re just taking it day by day. There’s risk there with playing through it and maybe doing something worse. If it was a playoff game I would’ve played.”
  • Boniek Garcia was also held out of the Portland match after suffering an ankle injury in training the day before the match.
  • "He just was feeling it,” Kinnear said. “You want to make sure when guys step out on the field they’re feeling fine. He trained Friday but wasn’t feeling so good so that’s the reason he didn’t play.”
  • With a victory or a draw, the Dynamo will set the record for the longest home undefeated streak over all competitions. The Dynamo have matched the MLS record of 34 games set by Real Salt Lake.
  • “Back at home, we have a good run going there so we want to continue that. We haven’t been there in a while,” said midfielder Adam Moffat. “Anytime you lose a game you kind of want to get there and make amends. So for us it’s next Sunday, to get back to business and preparing for that and hopefully get another three points.”

READ: Top 4 moments during Houston Dynamo's home unbeaten streak

The Chicago Fire recorded their first victory of the 2013 season, getting two late goals for a 3-1 win against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire are in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 4 points from 5 matches.


  • The Red Bulls took the lead in the 17th minute. A half-cleared corner kick was back into the box by Brandon Barklage, and center back Jámison Olave scored his second goal of the season with an twisting overhead volley.
  • The Fire missed a tremendous opportunity to pull level eight minutes later when Jeff Larentowicz's shot hit Jonny Steele's hand in the penalty area and a spot kick was given, but Chris Rolfe put the attempt wide.
  • But Daniel Paladini brought the Fire back just before halftime. Hunter Jumper swung in a cross from out on the left flank, and Paladini lept in front of Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and headed the ball into the net.
  • The Fire then snatched all the points with two late goal from substitute Maicon Santos. In the 83rd minute, he took a through pass from Paladini, beat Olave on a cutback move to the inside and poked a shot past Robles.
  • Santos sealed the win with his second goal in the 89th minute, after Larentowicz headed a Paladini free kick across the box, finding Santos open on the back post for a tap-in.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made four changes to the team that suffered a 4-1 loss to Chivas USA at Toyota Park. Sean Johnson came in between the posts for Paolo Tornaghi, Hunter Jumper started at left back for Gonzalo Segares, and Logan Pause and Joel Lindpere came into the side in place of Patrick Nyarko and Alex.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Wells Thompson, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Hunter Jumper - Jeff Larentowicz, Logan Pause - Daniel Paladini, Chris Rolfe (Corben Bone 87), Joel Lindpere (Michael Videira 93+) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 63).

READ: Healthy Competition: Fire getting healthy, giving Frank Klopas options vs. Houston


  • The Fire put an end to the worst start in club history with the late win against New York, the four games to start the season without a victory the most for the club.
  • “I think we finally showed what we really are,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “We've lost games that were kind of out of character, and tonight was definitely what we're about. We were making mistakes in games that we just don't really make. We're a better team than we showed with those little things. I think tonight, we repaired those little things.”
  • With a goal and two assists in the Fire’s 3-1 win against New York on Sunday, Daniel Paladini increased his career point production by 50 percent. In 48 league appearances entering the contest, he had three goals and three assists.
  • “Danny has been a guy with quality. When we have called on him to step in, he has done it. He's a guy that is pushing because he needs to be on the field and play,” said Fire head coach Frank Klopas. “You want guys like that whether they are on or off the field, when they get a chance to contribute they do. That's the depth we are trying to create in the team. He had a very good game.”
  • Paladini started in a central midfield role as Joel Lindpere moved a wide left position, his first start after missing two matches due to international duty with Estonia.
  • “We're still trying to find what the right combo is,” head coach Frank Klopas said. “I think Danny's more of that guy who can defend well, he's got abilities, he's a very fit guy who can defend and mark better. … So far from the time that I've seen, with Joel, he's been more comfortable, not wide to the line, a little more tucked in. He's not going to stand on the line. We've used him in training there and I think he's looked good.”
  • Fire striker Maicon Santos scored two goals in a game for the fifth time in his MLS career, scoring the two late goals to give the Fire the club’s first win of the season.
  • “I think he always has been considered with our starters. The first game Maicon started over MacDonald. ... We take the games and the work that goes in all week, the preparation and the form the guys are in,” said Klopas. “I had no issue putting in Maicon in the first game. We are trying to build a competitive team and everybody knows that the goals would have meant nothing if we didn't win.”
  • Making his first start of the season, second-year fullback Hunter Jumper recorded his first career assist on the Fire’s opening goal. Jumper started in place of Gonzalo Segares, who had suffered a quadriceps strain.
  • The Fire were also without Patrick Nyarko, who missed the New York match with a hamstring strain.
  • The Fire could have a key addition to the back line as center back Arne Friedrich has returned to training and could be available for selection vs. Houston.
  • “I would like to see how it goes during the week, but I feel better and better,” Friedrich said. “I can promise that as soon as I'm a little fit I'll be there for the team. … The real fitness you get through the games. Even if I play on Sunday, it takes me maybe four, five, six games for me to be 100 percent.”
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Season Stats

Houston Dynamo FCChicago Fire FC
5Games Played5
6Goals Conceded10
25Shots on Target18
65Fouls committed61
44Fouls suffered67
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