BRIDGEVIEW Ill. – Chicago’s three game losing streak may have ended with Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against the Houston Dynamo, but it sure didn’t feel that way to Fire captain Logan Pause.
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The midfielder was despondent after the match, which saw Chicago give up a long-held lead when Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell headed home a Brad Davis corner kick to equalize in the 83rd minute.
“This feels like a loss,” Pause said. “We can’t be dropping points – and dropping them at home. It’s just unfortunate.”
The problems the Fire had on Saturday night were ones they’ve had all year: they missed key opportunities in the final third and struggled in possession. Those two things came back to haunt them when they finally capitulated to Houston’s offensive onslaught.
The Fire’s biggest missed opportunity came in the 66th minute. Former Dynamo forward Dominic Oduro, who was making his first start in a Fire uniform, collected a through ball on the left flank and sprinted into the box for a one-on-one opportunity with Houston goalie Tally Hall. The speedy striker’s 12-yard shot beat the ‘keeper but hit the woodwork, cruelly reverberating off the crossbar before dribbling out of play.
Oduro’s near miss was an all too familiar site for the Fire, who saw Gaston Puerari and Gonzalo Segares miss one-on-one chances in last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy.
“We could [have] won this match if we had efficiency in the last part of the field,” said Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos. “We had our clear chances. … We need to keep working.”
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The fact that Houston’s goal came through a set play added to the Fire’s pain. Chicago knew the Dynamo were dangerous with dead balls – they had scored four of their six goals through set pieces coming in – and, for that reason, the Fire had focused on defending them all week in training.
“We knew that one of the things that makes their team successful is set pieces,” Pause said. “Giving up a goal on a set piece, it’s just a bummer.
“We worked on it all week. … It’s just kind of unfortunate. You see them throwing a lot forward at the end and it just kind of wore us down. It definitely hurts.”
The tie drops the Fire to 1-3-2 on the season and extends their winless streak to four games.
They’ll try and regroup to earn a result next week at Colorado, who themselves are in a bit of a slump after having lost their last three matches. Still, it won’t be easy, as the defending champs are 2-1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season.
For now, though, the Fire are still feeling the disappointment from Saturday night’s match.
“It’s disappointing,” said Fire goalie Jon Conway. “We put ourselves in a position to win and weren’t able to come through.”