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Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
Oct. 24, 2014 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #315)
7 p.m. CT (NBCSN, live stream at NBCSports.com; TSN2)

The Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo bring down the curtains on their 2014 campaigns when they meet in an Eastern Conference clash Friday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire have set a record for draws in a single MLS season, their winless streak now at eight games following a 2-1 loss at D.C. United last weekend. The Dynamo will be looking to make a winner of head coach Dominic Kinnear – the only head coach the club has known – in his last game in charge, coming off a 2-1 defeat by the New England Revolution in their final home game of the season last week.

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REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Anthony Vasoli; AR2 (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 49 games; FC/gm: 22.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 12; pens: 18

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 22 goals … Dynamo 8 wins, 28 goals … Ties 7
AT CHICAGO (9 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 11 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 13 goals … Ties 4

2014 (MLS):
9/28: HOU 2, CHI 0 (Cummings 14; Garcia 66)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, both over the final month of the campaign. Goals from Omar Cummings and Boniek Garcia gave the Dynamo a 2-0 victory, Sept. 28 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • 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: P18 W6 L9 D3 … Dominic Kinnear vs. CHI: P24 W9 L6 D9

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Dynamo hit for the opener just after the quarter-hour. From the left side of the field, midfielder Ricardo Clark got the best of Fire veteran Logan Pause before firing a cross toward the back post. Omar Cummings split a pair of defenders to come sliding in for a simple finish.
  • The Dynamo hit for the second on a perfectly played team goal in the 67th minute. Defender Kofi Sarkodie hit a cross from the right side to midfielder Brad Davis, who headed the ball back to a wide-open Boniek Garcia at the penalty spot, and he thumped home a picture-perfect volley with his left foot.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 85) - Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings (Brian Ownby 79).
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Logan Pause, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares (Grant Ward 80) - Florent Sinama-Pongolle (Alex 65), Razvan Cocis (Patrick Nyarko 28), Matt Watson, Harry Shipp - Robert Earnshaw, Quincy Amarikwa.

CHICAGO FIRE
The Chicago Fire saw their late-season winless streak extended to eight matches, falling 2-1 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. The Fire are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 33 games.

LAST MATCH

  • United took the lead 31 minutes in. Nick DeLeon collected the ball near midfield and took a few touches forward before finding Eddie Johnson on the touchline. He put in a well-struck cross, finding Chris Pontius at close range in front of goal, and he headed home his first marker in more than a year.
  • United then doubled their lead in the 53rd minute. Chicago defender Patrick Ianni mishit a back pass directly into the path of Eddie Johnson, who provided a clinical finish, striking the ball into the upper corner at the far post.
  • The Fire pulled a goal back in the 67th minute. Patrick Nyarko played a perfectly weighted ball through for Harry Shipp, who dribbled to his right and struck a low shot which eluded United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, nestling into the far side netting.
  • Fire head coach Frank Yallop made four changes to the team that fell 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Kyle Reynish came in between the posts for Sean Johnson, and Patrick Ianni, Gonzalo Segares and Chris Ritter came into the team, in place of Bakary Soumare, Patrick Nyarko and Logan Pause.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Kyle Reynish - Lovel Palmer, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Larentowicz, Gonzalo Segares (Sanna Nyassi 62) - Alex, Matt Watson, Chris Ritter, Harry Shipp - Florent Sinama-Pongolle (Patrick Nyarko 62 / Grant Ward 83), Quincy Amarikwa.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire saw their winless streak extended to eight games with the defeat at D.C. United, matching their longest run without a victory this season (they started the campaign 0-6-2).
  • “It’s been good working with this group,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said. “We’ve struggled to win games, but we’ve not lost many. That was our 10th loss of the season, it’s not great, but it’s not terrible. The group itself has not given up, each player individually and collectively have been in every game, we’ve competed, the coaching staff have set them up to do their thing and they’ve executed, other than giving goals up at the wrong times, giving goals to the opposition and not finishing our chances. But that’s football.”
  • If the Fire do not win, they will become the first team in MLS history to garner more points from draws than from victories over the course of a single season; the Fire have five wins and 18 draws this year.
  • “It's the story of our season. We've played pretty well most games we’ve had. We've just made mistakes at the wrong times, and teams seem to get the second goal and from there it's an uphill battle,” said Yallop. “I will say we didn't give up, our guys were in the game, and we tried hard to get back in the game. We give a lot of goals away to the opposition, rather than earning it.”
  • Harry Shipp scored his seventh goal – tied for the rookie goal-scoring lead with FC Dallas striker Tesho Akindele. It was his first goal since July 2.
  • “We were on the front foot and easily could have gotten an equalizer – so that's a positive. And we got to take a positive because the season result-wise has been pretty bad so far. You just got to look at little things to build off for next year and that was one of them,” Shipp said.
  • Kyle Reynish made his first appearance of the season for the Fire in goal. Sean Johnson had played every minute of the first 32 league matches as well as the four matches in the club’s US Open Cup run.
  • “I’m pleased for Kyle, he’s trained well, probably deserved the chance before this, but Sean’s been excellent all year for us,” Yallop said. “But it was a good time to give him a chance, and I thought he did very well.”
  • Patrick Nyarko came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute and recorded an assist – the first league goal he’s been involved in since netting a goal and adding an assist May 10 vs. New York. But he was forced off barely 20 minutes later after suffering an injury, which caused a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Nyarko will undergo surgery and is expected to miss 6-8 months.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo suffered their second loss in as many matches, falling 2-1 to the New England Revolution on Thursday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points from 33 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo took the lead in the 37th minute. Luis Garrido played Omar Cummings into space in the right side of the area, and he fired a shot that Revs 'keeper Bobby Shuttleworth parried right into path of Giles Barnes for a simple finish.
  • But the Revolution were level in the 65th minute. Minutes after coming on as a substitute, Jermaine Jones fed a perfect ball through the Houston defense for Kevin Alston, who sent a square ball for Lee Nguyen to drive into the upper corner of the goal and pull the game level.
  • The Revs then pulled out the three points just before the death. Following a half-cleared free kick, Charlie Davies put a shot on goal, but Kofi Sarkodie was in the right spot to clear it off the line. The deflection found its way to Lee Nguyen, and he finished easily for the match-winner.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that suffered a 3-1 loss to D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium. A.J. Cochran and Jermaine Taylor came into the back four and Luis Garrido started in midfield in place of Eric Brunner, DaMarcus Beasley and Servando Carrasco.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, Jermaine Taylor - Andrew Driver (Boniek Garcia 65), Luis Garrido (Servando Carrasco 77), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis - Omar Cummings (Will Bruin 80), Giles Barnes.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo lost their second consecutive game, the first time they’ve lost back-to-back games since dropping five in a row from May 21-June 29.
  • “It’s been a difficult year, it really has, and I don’t think anybody’s going to deny that,” Dynamo captain Brad Davis said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard. Nobody’s more disappointed the way things went this year than the guys in that locker room.”
  • The match at Toyota Park will be final one in charge for Kinnear, who will be leaving Houston to take over the San Jose Earthquakes following the completion of the season. Kinnear is the only head coach the Dynamo have known since their move from San Jose for the 2005 season.
  • “The unknown is the scary part for us players because you never know what type of coach is going to come in here,” Davis said. “We’ve known the style that we’ve had for nine years. There’s a lot of unknowns and what-ifs and things we think about. I think this change could be good for us. The organization’s at an opportunity to go in a different direction if they want too. Let’s look at it as a positive moving forward with the things that are going to happen to this organization. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
  • “It was neat. When I look at that picture from 2005 with Mayor [Bill] White it doesn’t seem like a long time ago. Time does fly by fast,” Kinnear said. “Something pulled us together with this group and these fans and this city … when you think back on it, I’ve been very lucky.”
  • Giles Barnes scored in a third consecutive game and now has 11 goals for the season, his single-season career-high over three MLS seasons. Barnes had nine goals a year ago.
  • Jermaine Taylor started in a league match for the first time since Aug. 29, coming in at left back for the injured DaMarcus Beasley.
  • “It’s been hard. It’s not an easy thing for players to go through,” Davis said. “It definitely, mentally, was difficult. Dom’s choice to leave I think everybody understands it and supports him in that, but the unknown as an athlete and what happens to us is a big question. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult and weighed on us a little bit. We still went out to do our business to the best of our ability but it was something that was there.”
  • Said goalkeeper Tally Hall: “As much as Dom’s been the only coach and had success, if you look at the future of the Houston Dynamo I think there’s some optimism moving forward. That’s the way the industry works. I’m looking forward to earning my stripes in front of another coach.”
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Current Form

Chicago
D
L
D
D
L
L
Houston
D
W
L
W
L
L

Season Stats

Chicago Fire FCHouston Dynamo
33Games Played33
5Wins11
10Losses16
18Draws6
39Goals38
50Goals Conceded56
310Shots337
144Shots on Target145
434Fouls committed408
408Fouls suffered338
62Offside64
168Corners180

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
CHI717711391.2
HOU1210722381.2
01234+Avg
CHI294101.2
HOU186111.6
01234+Avg
CHI583011.1
HOU1121110.7

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
CHI613842501.5
HOU1041054561.7
01234+Avg
CHI481301.2
HOU716121.5
01234+Avg
CHI257121.8
HOU334421.9
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