Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview
HOUSTON DYNAMO vs CHICAGO FIRE
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM, Houston, Texas
Sept. 28, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #282)
2 p.m. CT (UniMás; CSN-Hou+)
A pair of clubs in desperate need of victories to put themselves back into the Eastern Conference playoff discussion meet when the Houston Dynamo play host to the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are seven points out of fifth place and the final postseason spot in the division, two points ahead of the Fire with six games to play for each. The Dynamo extended their undefeated streak to four games with a scoreless draw at Philadelphia Union last week, while the Fire tied the record for draws in a season with a 3-3 result with D.C. United.
REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Eric Boria; AR2 (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 9; pens: 19
SUSPENDED: CHI: Lovel Palmer (through Sept. 28); Bakary Soumare (caution accumulation; through Sept. 28)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Kofi Sarkodie … CHI: Bakary Soumare
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Will Bruin, Ricardo Clark, Boniek Garcia … CHI: Mike Magee, Chris Ritter, Patrick Ianni, Gonzalo Segares, Matt Watson
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (18 meetings): Dynamo 7 wins, 26 goals … Fire 4 wins, 22 goals … Ties 7
AT HOUSTON (9 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 13 goals … Fire 2 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 10/24: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 7 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/14: HOU 2, CHI 1 (Bruin 26; Davis 81 – Rolfe 29)
7/27: HOU 1, CHI 1 (Weaver 61 – Magee 63) 9/1: CHI 1, HOU 1 (own goal 36 – Moffat 90)
- 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.
- The teams also met in 2012 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.
- Coaches record: Frank Yallop vs. HOU: P17 W6 L8 D3 … Dominic Kinnear vs. CHI: P23 W8 L6 D9
The Houston Dynamo extended their undefeated run to four games, playing to a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 28 games.
- Union nearly stole the match late in stoppage time when rookie Pedro Ribeiro hit the woodwork on a sharply angled shot.
- Philadelphia goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi was not called upon to make a single save, while Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric was credited with three stops.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that reached a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver came into the midfield in place of Boniek Garcia.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley - Andrew Driver (Brian Ownby 82), Luis Garrido (Alexander Lopez 74), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Omar Cummings (Jason Johnson 89), Giles Barnes.
- The Dynamo have now gone four games without defeat – their longest undefeated run of the season – following a second consecutive draw in the scoreless result at Philadelphia.
- “It’s always good to get a point on the road. But you wish this was the beginning of the season when we were getting points on the road and not the last six games,” said goalkeeper Tyler Deric. “It’s crucial right now – we need to get three points, but you have to give credit to the guys. We worked hard.”
- The Dynamo were also shut out at the attacking end after hitting for multiple goals in each of their last three matches. The Dynamo have been held goalless in three of their last seven games; they’ve hit for two or more goals in the other four.
- The Dynamo were held without a single shot on goal, the third time this season that’s happened (also: April 12 vs. New England and June 1 vs. Colorado), and the eighth time in club history.
- “We got ourselves in good positions, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We put ourselves in good positions but our last pass let us down, as I’m sure Philadelphia could say the same thing. Philadelphia had us on our heels tonight, but I think we had chances to put them on their heels and, and like I said before, that last pass was missing for us.”
- Boniek Garcia missed out on the match, his first match missed since returning from the FIFA World Cup and the Honduras national team, after suffering a concussion in training in the days leading up to the match.
- Andrew Driver made his first start since July 12, after having come off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last eight matches.
- Omar Cummings made his third consecutive start in attack with Will Bruin still sidelined with a right foot sprain, after having recorded assists in the previous two matches.
- “We, like other teams, have been hit with a big injury bug at times,” Kinnear said. “I don’t think any team could rival our three ACLs, but Brian Ownby’s played some good minutes and Omar [Cummings] has come through in a good pinch here. Guys are dying to play and I think it’s been a good opportunity for them.”
- Giles Barnes saw his two-game goal-scoring streak – with three goals – come to an end. “When [Barnes] gets his nose pointed ahead or towards the goal it’s a positive for us,” Kinnear said. “When he finds those areas, whether it’s coming from deep or up high, he’s been having good form of late for sure.”
- Said Barnes: “I think quite a lot of my goals come from me making something outside the box and hitting it and going from there. Now I’ve got hanging off the end of defenders and getting one-on-one with the ‘keepers which is a little bit easier than hitting one from 30 yards all the time.”
The Chicago Fire equaled the all-time record for draws, coming back for a 3-3 result with D.C. United on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 31 points from 28 games.
- The Fire opened the scoring in the 16th minute. A lively Harry Shipp picked out Quincy Amarikwa just inside the box, and he turned his defender before calmly slotting a left-footed shot past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid on the right.
- The lead was doubled just after the half-hour when Amarikwa was taken down by United midfielder Davy Arnaud and referee Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot. Jeff Larentowicz drilled the ball to Hamid’s left for the 32nd-minute second.
- United won a penalty of their own seven minutes later after Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson committed an infraction while punching clear, and Luis Silva converted from the spot although his right-footed effort was almost kept out by Johnson.
- The visitors then drew level in dramatic circumstances in the 54th minute when Silva found the top left corner of Johnson's goal with a stunning free kick after a foul by Razvan Cocis on Perry Kitchen.
- United then took the lead through another set play in the 68th minute when Kitchen latched on to a Silva free kick, which was helped on by Boswell and lobbed the ball goalwards. The ball was cleared off the line, but not until after the assistant referee had ruled it had gone over, even though Boswell drove the rebound into the back of the net.
- But the Fire had one final answer, striking for a sensational 78th-minute equalizer when Amarikwa teed up Matt Watson and his well-struck shot deflected off defender Steve Birnbaum to give Hamid no chance.
- Fire head coach Frank Yallop made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at Toyota Park. Harry Shipp came back into the team, in place of Sanna Nyassi.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-5-1): Sean Johnson - Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares - Grant Ward (Florent Sinama-Pongolle 63), Razvan Cocis, Harry Shipp (Robert Earnshaw 71), Matt Watson, Alex (Patrick Nyarko 63) - Quincy Amarikwa.
- The Fire matched the all-time MLS record with their 16th draw, coming back for the late tie with D.C. United. It equals the mark set in 2011 by the Fire and the New York Red Bulls.
- “I said it last week, something is missing from us as a group,” said Fire head coach Frank Yallop. “We’re going to keep going and keep fighting, keep doing our thing, but the table doesn’t lie. We’re in the position that we are because of us not being able to see games out or put the game away. It was two-fold tonight. The calls didn’t really go our way, and that’s being kind, and we didn’t really see the game out.”
- Said goalkeeper Sean Johnson: “The record reflects how our season has been, if we have half the amount of ties as we have we’d be in first place or somewhere close. We’ve lost less games than the team in first place, so that’s tough to deal with. We still have a fighting chance and we have to go down fighting – if we have any chance to save the season we have to go after it.”
- It was a second consecutive draw as the Fire have gone three games without a victory; their five victories this season are the fewest in MLS.
- “It’s OK if you get 10 wins and 16 ties, but in the position we’re in, we need wins. I think the big thing is, you have to build on the positives; we’re difficult to beat, but we don’t win games. It’s a fine line, but it’s one we have to work on,” said Yallop. “We have to make sure come next season, and obviously the end of this season, we can put those things correct. That’s a big thing for us. When you lose seven games, it always looks good, but you have to have the wins to go with it.”
- Quincy Amarikwa netted his eighth goal of the season, his first since Aug. 23. Amarikwa had seven goals total over his first five MLS campaigns, with a then-single-season career-high of three last year for Chicago.
- “Quincy [Amarikwa] had a good goal; our energy was good from the start,” said Yallop. “I thought that we looked like we wanted to win the game. On the front third, we did some great stuff. I thought our set plays were excellent; we always look dangerous on those. We dominated most of the game.”
- Harry Shipp returned to the starting lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last three games, and collected his sixth assist of the season, the first goal he’s been involved with since July 19 when he had an assist.
- “Harry did well. As normal things happen to young players, he took a little bit of a dip, and lost the way a bit,” said Yallop. “I thought Harry did well; I think he was dangerous … I think he picked his game up and was good. In the game, we’re just trying to change things with bringing him out, but I thought he had a good showing for sure.”
- Florent Sinama-Pongolle made his MLS and Fire debut, coming on for the final 27 minutes, while Robert Earnshaw made his first substitute appearance in three games, coming on for the final 19 minutes for his third game since signing with the Fire.
- “I have players on the bench to make the difference in Flo [Sinama-Pongolle] and Ernie [Robert Earnshaw], to come off the bench, Patrick [Nyarko] too. It’s three attacking options I had, that we used,” said Yallop. “It’s not easy for a player that’s been in France trying to get his visa to come in and look good right away; Ernie’s been injured for 2-1/2 weeks, so he’s a little bit behind as well. But those guys are dangerous, they’re good players.”