HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo knew the scenario when they walked out of the tunnel to take on the Chicago Fire. With four teams ahead of them in the standings winning Saturday night, the Dynamo knew that a win would be the only way to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
After 90 minutes complete with stoppages, fouls and two goals, Houston didn’t get the result they wanted, instead playing to a 1-1 draw Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium. Considering the circumstances, while a draw versus a streaking Fire team is nothing to shake a finger at, the result was an opportunity lost for a Dynamo team that’s starting to pay more and more attention to where they stand.
“We should’ve won the game,” said Adam Moffat after the game. “We knew going into the night we were in a great spot and could’ve caught some people. They’ll be plenty more opportunities, but it was a missed opportunity. It was a team that we want to leave behind us … very disappointed.”
Contributing to the sting of the game is the way Houston dropped the two points; which was conceded on a lapse right after scoring a go-ahead goal.
Thanks to a well-played team goal that saw Cam Weaver score for the first time since May 28, 2011, Houston had the lead and looked to finally have overcome a first hour filled mostly with fouls, injuries and a few missed opportunities on goal – including a Bobby Boswell goal disallowed due to an offside call.
The 61st-minute goal could’ve been the winner, but for a tired team coming off a mid-week friendly against Stoke City a momentary lapse in concentration put them in a bad position. The ever-opportunistic Mike Magee wasn’t going to let them off the hook, scoring just two minutes after Weaver.
“It was frustrating,” said Boswell. “You work so hard to get a goal and then you give up a softy.”
Added Moffat: “We got the goal and maybe just switching off straight after the goal. That was disappointing.”
With the lapse behind them, Houston pushed for a late goal. Every good chance, however, was stoned by Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi, who made three second half saves.
In the grand scheme of things a tie against the Fire will not be Houston’s worst result on the year – it likely won’t finish anywhere close to the top five of that list. But immediately following the game, the feeling in Houston’s locker room was that it was an opportunity missed for a club looking to make a playoff push.
“We had our chances. We still could’ve finished them,” Boswell said. “We pride ourselves on being able to win with a zero at home and that wasn’t the case tonight. A tie’s not the worst thing, but obviously we wanted to win.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.