That was not the start the Houston Dynamo were looking for. Nothing went right for the Dynamo in the first 20 minutes of Sunday’s 3-1 loss away to the Chicago Fire, as they gave up goals in the 1st and 19th minutes, both sparked by poor giveaways in the midfield.
“We made big mistakes and they took advantage of the mistakes we made,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “We were 2-0 down in the first 20 minutes of the game. We gave up two early goals and that was the story of the game.”
In the 1st minute, a failed Andre Hainault crossfield ball was intercepted by Patrick Nyarko, and the Chicago speedster raced in to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Faulty passing was again the culprit 18 minutes later, when Macoumba Kandji's back pass wa picked off by Alvaro Fernandez, who started a quick attack that ended when Daniel Paladini roofed the ball to give Chicago a two-goal lead. That goal would turn out to be a winner.
“There were times when we were pinging it around and Chicago had trouble handling it, but there can’t just be times like that -- it has to be all the time,” forward Will Bruin told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve got to get back to square one and do the simple things and get the confidence back.”
It was not all on Houston’s mistakes. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson came up big twice in the dying minutes, first on Bobby Boswell's header and then on a point blank shot from Je-Vaughn Watson before allowing Brian Ching’s 90th-minute goal.
Then there was the matter of a Kandji’s apparent 13th-minute equalizer that was waved off when it was ruled the winger handled the ball.
In the end, good goalkeeping and referee decisions were not to blame for this loss, the fourth straight match without a win for the Dynamo. The early mistakes were simply too much to overcome.
“They exploited our mistakes and jumped on them,” Bruin said. “We have to be more dangerous in the final third and have that killer instinct, and I don’t think we had that tonight. It’s things we have to learn from. We need to go back to square one and get back the mindset we had when we were winning games.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.