Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

CHICAGO FIRE vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
Sept. 1, 2013 (WEEK 27, MLS Game #249)
2 pm CT (UniMas; My50 Chi; CSN-Hou)

The Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo meet for a third time in a match with massive implications on the Eastern Conference playoff race when they face off Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The teams are separated by just two points in the standings, and both find themselves outside the top five positions at the start of the weekend. The Fire come in off a 1-0 home win vs. Sporting KC, while the Dynamo continue their road swing following a club-record 5-0 defeat at Montreal last weekend.

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REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 25.9; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 2; pens: 6

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Andrew Driver, Boniek Garcia
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare, Jeff Larentowicz, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares | HOU: Corey Ashe, Adam Moffat
  • INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 21 goals | Dynamo 7 wins, 25 goals | Ties 6
  • AT CHICAGO (8 meetings): Fire 2 wins, 10 goals | Dynamo 3 wins, 12 goals | Ties 3

2013 (MLS)
4/14: HOU 2, CHI 1 (Bruin 26; Davis 81 -- Rolfe 29)
7/27: HOU 1, CHI 1 (Weaver 61 -- Magee 63)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. A late Brad Davis goal snapped a 1-1 tie to give the Dynamo the victory, April 14 at BBVA Compass Stadium; on July 27, Chicago's Mike Magee and Houston's Cam Weaver traded goals two minutes apart to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw in Houston.
  • 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 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.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CHI: P22 W8 L6 D8 | Frank Klopas vs. HOU: P6 W1 L1 D4

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Both goals came in a span of three minutes midway through the second half. The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 61st minute when Cam Weaver finished off a well-crafted team goal, turning home a cross from Brad Davis.
  • But the Fire were level in the 63rd minute when Mike Magee played the offside line just right, working into a position two yards from goal to tap in Patrick Nyarko's goalmouth cross.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Ricardo Clark (Warren Creavalle 69), Andrew Driver (Brad Davis 15) - Giles Barnes, Cam Weaver (Jason Johnson 79).
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Patrick Nyarko, Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Daniel Paladini 41), Joel Lindpere (Quincy Amarikwa 65) - Mike Magee, Chris Rolfe (Logan Pause 81).

CHICAGO FIRE

The Chicago Fire returned to their recent winning ways, defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on Friday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points from 24 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 13th minute. Mike Magee tipped a Jalil Anibaba cross across the goal to Hunter Jumper -- making his second career start in MLS -- and he scored into an open net by diving for a header with the ball just a few inches above the ground.
  • Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson was called upon to make four saves in keeping the club's first clean sheet since June 2.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made three changes to the team that dropped a 2-0 decision to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Hunter Jumper came into central defense for the suspended Bakary Soumare, Alex started on the wing in place of Joel Lindpere, and Chris Rolfe came in for Juan Luis Anangono up top.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Hunter Jumper, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Alex (Patrick Nyarko 65), Jeff Larentowicz, Arevalo Rios, Dilly Duka (Joel Lindpere 85) - Chris Rolfe (Juan Luis Anangono 69), Mike Magee.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Fire kept a clean sheet for the first time since June 2, a span of 14 games in all competitions.
  • "I think we've been OK defensively for the past 11 games or so, but to get a shutout shows and reflects all the hard work we've been putting in week in and week out," said goalkeeper Sean Johnson. "I think we deserved it tonight -- we fought, we battled and we made plays when we had to and came away with a result."
  • Said defender Gonzalo Segares: "It was about time. I think that it was a great moment against a very difficult team. We needed it. We needed that shutout and that victory. I think if we keep pushing, we're right in the mix for the playoffs."
  • Hunter Jumper scored his first professional goal in just his second career MLS appearance, the first coming on April 7.
  • "I am just so happy for Hunter, this is his chance. We talked before the game about giving guys opportunities," said Matkovich. "He played like a veteran tonight. He was focused and we kept things simple for him. What can you say? He has got to be the man of the match in my eyes."
  • With Bakary Soumare suspended for the KC match, Jumper was slotted directly into central defense -- his first professional start had been at left back.
  • "I've been playing there in practice lately and it's not the biggest transition, like it would be playing forward to defender. I definitely appreciate the position a lot more because you don't realize how much communication you have to have out there," Jumper said.
  • Said Mike Magee: "You can throw away the goal tonight, and defensively, he was amazing. To shut out that team is as difficult it gets, and he was fabulous."
  • Designated Player Arevalo Rios maintained his place in the first team, again playing 90 minutes in a central midfield role. After starting against New England, fellow DP Juan Luis Anangono returned to the substitutes' bench.
  • "It's good now that we've gotten used to [Rios] playing a little bit, having a few more weeks in practice, having a game last week, it's all about familiarity," center back Austin Berry said. "He's a good player, he's kind of getting into the swing of things, too | He's a very good player, and he's caught on quick."
  • Said Matkovich: "Any time a guy comes to a new country and a new environment it's going to take some time. [Anangono] had a great shot, but we just have to give him time. The nice thing about the guy is that he didn't start and came in played his role and helped us win and that's the most important thing. Sometimes guys come in and are not team guys, but this guy is clearly a team guy. I think he's going to get better as we go along."
  • While Mike Magee did not score a goal and fell into second place in the MLS Golden Boot race, he contributed his third assist of the season, his first since July 3.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo suffered the heaviest defeat in club history, falling 5-0 to the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Dynamo are in a tie fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points from 24 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Impact took the lead in the 35th minute. Justin Mapp fed Marco Di Vaio, who danced around a defender before rocketing a shot past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall into the upper corner.
  • The lead was doubled just two minutes later. Mapp collected the ball before lofting a cross for Felipe who took a touch, then hit an unsaveable shot to the back post.
  • It was 3-0 in the 58th minute when Hernan Bernardello hit an in-swinging corner which wasn't cleared, and an onrushing Jeb Brovsky bundled home from almost on the goal line.
  • In the 70th minute, Patrice Bernier and Di Vaio both beat the offside trap on a Felipe through pass, and Bernier laid the ball off for Di Vaio coolly complete his brace to make the lead 4-0.
  • In stoppage time, Andrea Pisanu poked home a fifth goal on a one-on-one with Hall after put through by another piece of Felipe class.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 3-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver came back into the team in place of Ricardo Clark.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (Eric Brunner 46), Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Andrew Driver (Jason Johnson 80), Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat (Alexander Lopez 62), Brad Davis - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo allowed a club-record five goals in their defeat by Montreal. They had allowed four goals on three occasions since coming into the league in 2006 -- including in a 4-2 loss to the Impact on June 23, 2012.
  • "We were expecting to win and to play better than we did. But then, we didn't win so we didn't play well," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
  • The Dynamo had not allowed multiple goals in a game since a 2-0 loss to New York on June 30 -- and had allowed as many as three goals in a game just once all season, in a 3-2 loss at FC Dallas on March 17.
  • "It was a poor performance on the field against a team of Montreal's caliber and hence you're going to get a lot of goals scored on you," said goalkeeper Tally Hall. "We didn't play well [enough] to get a win, not even to get a tie."
  • The Dynamo were also shut out for a second consecutive match away from BBVA Compass Stadium and have now gone 190 minutes since scoring on their travels in league play.
  • Andrew Driver came back into the starting lineup for the first time in three matches, since suffering an injury early in the last meeting with Chicago on July 27.
  • The club's newest signing, Designated Player Alexander Lopez, made his MLS debut, coming on for the final 28 minutes in central midfield.
  • On Tuesday, the Dynamo maintained their undefeated record in the CONCACAF Champions League with a 2-1 win against Panama's Deportive Arabe Unido at BBVA Compass Stadium. Cam Weaver scored both goals for the Dynamo, in the 22nd and 77th minutes, after Arabe Unido converted an early penalty kick.
  • "I'm just glad we won the game. I think we deserved it and I think it showed that the team that had more respect for the game won the game," said Kinnear.
  • Here's the Dynamo team: Tally Hall; Mike Chabala, Eric Brunner, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe; Warren Creavalle, Adam Moffat, Alexander Lopez (Will Bruin 77); Alex Dixon (Boniek Garcia 46), Cam Weaver, Jason Johnson (Brad Davis 67)