Struggling Fire look to end spell against visiting Dynamo
Looking to put an end to their winless run, the Chicago Fire remain at Toyota Park when they take on the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening. The Fire have lost three in a row, after a 2-1 defeat by the LA Galaxy in their return home following a two-game road swing. The Dynamo have won back-to-back games, last a late 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution in Houston.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Hector Vergara; JAR (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: Ismail Elfath MLS Career: 79 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 14; pens: 26
INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles repair); DOUBTFUL: DF Cory Gibbs (L hamstring strain); MF Marko Maric (L ankle sprain) … HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); FW Brian Ching (L rib separation); DF Jermaine Taylor (R foot sprain); MF Francisco Navas Cobo (R hamstring strain); MF Danny Cruz (R knee hyperextension); MF Lovel Palmer (L lower leg tendinitis)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Victor Pineda (U.S. U-18)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 13 goals … Dynamo 6 wins, 18 goals … Ties 1
AT CHICAGO (5 meetings): Fire 1 wins, 5 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 10/1: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire, 3 p.m. CT (TeleFutura)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/24: CHI 2, HOU 0 (Husidic 45; Lowry 67)
8/21: HOU 4, CHI 3 (Ching 31, 59, 85; Palmer 50 – Carr 55; own goal 69; Conde 81)
The Fire’s 2-0 win last April 24 at Toyota Park was their first against the Dynamo since the 2007 campaign. The Dynamo had won five games in a row vs. Chicago.
The Dynamo have won the last three meetings between the teams at Robertson Stadium.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CHI: P15 W7 L5 D3 … Carlos de los Cobos vs. HOU: P2 W1 L1 D0
The Chicago Fire saw their losing streak reach three games, falling 2-1 to the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire have 4 points from 5 matches on the year, in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Galaxy took the lead in the 42nd minute through Chad Barrett. Miguel Lopez crossed a ball in from the right, finding Barrett completely wide open at the penalty spot, and the former Fire striker calmly took a touch before slotting his shot inside the left post and past goalkeeper Jon Conway.
- Omar Gonzalez doubled the lead for the visitors in the 72nd minute, rising above the Fire defense to head home a Lopez corner kick.
- Dominic Oduro pulled one back with his first goal in a Fire uniform in the 89th minute, rounding Gonzalez in the box before blasting an angled shot past 'keeper Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post.
- [inline_node:333121]Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made three changes to the team that lost 4-2 to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Jon Conway came in between the posts for Sean Johnson, Josip Mikulic replaced Dasan Robinson in the back four, and Davis Paul started in place of Patrick Nyarko in midfield.
- CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Jon Conway - Jalil Anibaba, Josip Mikulic, Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares - Davis Paul (Patrick Nyarko 46), Logan Pause, Michael Videira (Dominic Oduro 59), Marco Pappa - Gaston Puerari (Orr Barouch 70), Diego Chaves.
- After conceding four goals against Portland in his fourth consecutive start of the season, Sean Johnson was replaced in goal by Jon Conway.
- "He's a young player and that's very important to understand," de los Cobos said. "The only way to learn is (by) making mistakes. … He's working and has the support of everybody."
- Conway was called upon to make just one save while beaten twice for goals in the LA match, but de los Cobos said the veteran will start against Houston.
- "Before the start of the season, we thought of this possible situation with a young player (like Johnson)," de los Cobos said. "For that reason we brought in Conway."
- The Fire have conceded 10 goals in their last four games, allowing multiple goals on each occasion, after opening the year with a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas.
- [[inline_node:334103]"Those little breakdowns that we've been having defensively have been hurting us a lot," defender Gonzalo Segares said. "That definitely brought the momentum down."
- The Fire were also forced to finish a man down against LA when Cory Gibbs was injured after all three substitutes had been used. Gibbs is listed as doubtful for this weekend with a hamstring strain.
- “When Cory Gibbs was injured it made the situation even more difficult for the team, but I was impressed with the personality of the team – they didn’t surrender and continued to fight,” de los Cobos said. “They played hard on defense and even created some scoring opportunities and almost tied the game.”
- With de los Cobos going to a 4-4-2 tactical scheme, one thing that has been lacking is a central midfield playmaking presence.
- "That's something that I'm giving the group a chance to [develop]," de los Cobos said to ESPNChicago.com. "Logan [Pause] and Mike [Videira] are guys that are better defensively. That's part of our search, of looking for somebody to come up with those offensive options."
- Making his fourth appearance of the season – all as a substitute – after his acquisition from Houston, Dominic Oduro scored his first goal for Chicago.
The Houston Dynamo won for the second consecutive game, getting a late goal for a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution on Sunday afternoon at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have 8 points from 5 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie for second place in the Eastern Conference.
- The talking points began early in the second half, when Bobby Boswell redirected a corner kick goalward. It was cleared from the line by Zack Schilawski and referee Alex Prus did not give the goal, though the Dynamo felt it had crossed the line.
- Then in the 86th minute, there was more. Cam Weaver hammered a header from another corner, the ball ricocheting straight up off the crossbar. Hunter Freeman got between Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis and the goal line, and the ball bounced off his arm and into the goal for the winner.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-1 at Robertson Stadium.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 75), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Will Bruin (Jason Garey 88), Cam Weaver.
- The goal didn’t come without a touch of controversy, as Hunter Freeman admitted the ball hit him on the arm before settling into the net.
- [inline_node:334155]“It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it was nothing short of what we deserved,” said Kinnear. “We created a lot of chances and, by virtue of watching the replay, I thought we should have had a goal in the run of play. Overall, it was a good attacking night, the goal kind of relieves the frustration and the guys walk off the field happy.”
- A year ago, it took the Dynamo the entire season to record back-to-back wins – something they finally achieved in the final two weeks of the season.
- “Obviously the goal relieves all of the frustration, and the guys walk off the field happy. It’s good to get another three points,” Kinnear said. “It’s good to get two wins in a row, which we hadn’t done all year, and it leaves us with a good feeling going into next week.
- The Dynamo have uncorked 47 attempts at goal over the last two games – a season-high 27 against New England. Fourteen of those have been on target, including six from rookie striker Will Bruin.
- “I had my chances that I didn’t finish,” Bruin said. “I try to keep them on frame, but [New England’s Matt] Reis made some pretty good saves. As a forward, you just have to keep pushing forward and creating chances.”
- There will be some real lineup decisions for Kinnear this weekend, though. Midfielders Lovel Palmer and Danny Cruz are both listed as out on the club injury report, Cruz forced off the field in the 75th minute against New England with was is diagnosed as a knee hyperextension.
- “After I shot, I landed on it wrong. Then, when I went to volley it back into play off the corner kick, it just didn’t feel right. I wanted to get off the field and try to get someone on who was feeling good,” Cruz said.
- Corey Ashe maintained his place at left back, making a third consecutive start in the back four after his first two starts of the year came in a midfield role.
- “He has been playing very well over there and has played against some good players. … Quickness-wise, you aren’t going to get a lot of balls behind him,” Kinnear said. “On the ball he is very calm, makes good runs, and makes good decisions.”
- The win gives Houston back-to-back home wins in MLS play for the first time since wins over Chivas USA and Kansas City on April 17 and May 1, 2010. The Dynamo defeated New England at home for the first time ever, snapping a five-game winless streak (0-4-1).
- “Now we just have to stay positive and take the good from tonight and bring it into next week against Chicago,” midfielder Geoff Cameron said. “We have to use the momentum we have from our play this weekend and use it against Chicago.”