Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

July 27, 2013 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #200)
7 p.m. CT (NBC SN)

The Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire meet in a key contest in the Eastern Conference when the clubs clash for the second time this season, Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo return to action still holding onto fifth place in the East, following their 2-1 win at New England two weeks ago. The Fire are currently five points out of a playoff spot, continuing their move up the table last weekend with a 4-1 home win against D.C. United.


REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 172 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 50; pens: 59

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Andrew Driver, Corey Ashe - CHI: Daniel Paladini, Bakary Soumare

ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Dynamo 7 wins, 24 goals - Fire 4 wins, 20 goals - Ties 5
AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 12 goals - Fire 2 wins, 10 goals - Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 9/1: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. CT (UniMas)
*    The teams are meeting for the second 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.
*    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 ñ 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: P21 W8 L6 D7 - Frank Klopas vs. HOU: P5 W1 L1 D3

4/14: HOU 2, CHI 1 (Bruin 26; Davis 81 - Rolfe 29)
*    The Dynamo took the lead in the 26th minute. Brad Davis turned Wells Thompson inside-out to get space and swing in a perfect cross from the left flank, and Will Bruin made no mistake, heading his shot inside the far post out of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson's reach.
*    But the Fire were level three minutes later. Houston was unable to clear a long throw-in and Daniel Paladini latched onto the ball, laying it past Corey Ashe to Chris Rolfe, who blasted a first-time shot to the near corner.
*    The Dynamo hit for the winner in the 81st minute. Davis took a Kofi Sarkodie pass on the right flank and clipped in a cross that sailed through the box untouched before nestling in the far-side netting.
*    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Ricardo Clark - Andrew Driver (Warren Creavalle 71), Adam Moffat, Brad Davis - Giles Barnes (Cam Weaver 86), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 75).
*    CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Wells Thompson, Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz, Logan Pause - Daniel Paladini (Patrick Nyarko 57), Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere (Dilly Duka 85) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 60).

The Houston Dynamo return to action after a weekend off following a second consecutive victory, a 2-1 defeat of the New England Revolution on July 13 at Gillette Stadium. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 18 matches.

*    The Dynamo took the lead four minutes into the second half. Andrew Driver sent a corner kick into the mixer, where it was headed away by Revolution striker Chad Barrett. But the clearance fell to Adam Moffat, who immediately volleyed past the dive of New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth from well outside the area.
*    The Revs wasted no time filing their response when Diego Fagundez raced into the box and drove a low cross into the area. The ball was only parried by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, right to the feet of Saer Sene, and he pushed home the point-blank effort in the 55th minute.
*    The game-winner came in the 80th minute, again on a stunning long-range strike from Moffat. From all of 25 yards, he fired a shot that smacked the post before it deflected off Shuttleworth's back and into the net.
*    The Revolution finished the game a man down after Dimitry Imbongo was sent off in the 82nd minute.
*    Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kofi Sarkodie came into the back four for Warren Creavalle, and Cam Weaver started up top in place of Omar Cummings.
*    HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Eric Brunner, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat, Andrew Driver - Giles Barnes (Warren Creavalle 92+), Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 90).

*    The Dynamo have put together back-to-back wins for the first time since May 5-8, when they recorded consecutive shutout victories against the LA Galaxy and D.C. United - both of which came on the road.
*    "You just step on the field and try to win every game. Even though they're on a little winless streak, we're still trying to win games," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "I think if you look at it, the result was important for a couple reasons. New England's right behind us. If they win the game, obviously we flip flop spots in the conference. Then you look up above us and New York's won and Philadelphia won last night and I think Kansas City's winning right now. You have to try and keep pace and these conference games are important for two of those reasons."
*    Of Moffat's 11 goals in MLS play, six have come from outside the penalty area ñ including five of his goals with the Dynamo (and, each of his last four over the last two seasons).
*    "We know Adam can hit those, we've seen it before. He's done it before and he'll do it again," striker Cam Weaver said. "It's great he was able to step up in the moment and get those two goals and get us the victory."
*    Said Kinnear: "He's been good for a goal. He hasn't hit one of those in a while. It was a fantastic hit and I thought overall his game was good. It was a good night for him."
*    It was also Moffat's first career two-goal game in 102 MLS appearances. "I always think, what are your chances of doing it again? Some goals I think I could; that, I don't know if I could. It was on my weaker side," Moffat said. "Sometimes I think, why did I even shoot there? There's no one near me. Fortunately I did. I think that's one of the harder ones difficulty-wise. The goalkeeper didn't see it. It wasn't in the corner or anything like that but that's part of hitting it first time, to catch him off guard and I did."
*    The break also brought some good news on the injury front. Brad Davis could be ready to return following a three-match absence to an hamstring injury, and Omar Cummings was not able to make a second consecutive start, vs. New England, because of a groin strain.
*    "It's one of those things that you're like ëI can't get a break," Cummings said. "Getting the win helped. We got the win and then it was like everything was OK. I felt great, but personally, it was disappointing to not be on the pitch."
*    Said Davis: "You always have that itch. We've got two wins in a row now and confidence is good. Hopefully, we can continue to push and keep this run going. Hopefully, this is the moment in the season we can make a run."
*    With Corey Ashe returned to the Dynamo at the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Jermaine Taylor will likely slide back into central defense from left back, where he had started two consecutive matches.
*    "I think last year, through need, we played him at a lot of different positions and he showed how valuable and flexible he was," Kinnear said. "When needed he's been asked to play different positions and doesn't say a word, just goes about his business and does very well."
*    Said Taylor. "Maybe most of the people don't expect a left back like me to go up in terms of the attack," the Jamaican international said. "I'm capable of doing it so it's just a matter of getting the chance to get up there and doing whatever I need to do offensively and defensively."
*    On Wednesday, the Dynamo defeated Stoke City FC of the English Premier League 2-0 in a friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver (11) and Giles Barnes (88) scored the goals.
*    Here's the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric; Warren Creavalle (Brad Davis 66), Bobby Boswell (Jermaine Taylor 46), Eric Brunner (Corey Ashe 66), Mike Chabala; Alex Dixon (Bryan Salazar 89), Adam Moffat (Kofi Sarkodie 46), Ricardo Clark (Boniek Garcia 46), Andrew Driver (Brian Ownby 46); Cam Weaver (Giles Barnes 46), Jason Johnson

The Chicago Fire put an emphatic end to a two-game losing streak, rolling to a 4-1 win against D.C. United on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. The Fire are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 19 matches.

*    The Fire took the lead just two minutes after the opening kickoff. Joel Lindpere hooked in a well-placed early cross from the left flank and Chris Rolfe finished, tapping a first-time finish over goalkeeper Joe Willis as he came off his line.
*    Nine minutes later, Lindpere benefited from pinpoint service when Jeff Larentowicz charged down the right side of the field, turned the corner and fed Lindpere, who cut back to his left foot around a defender before slamming it home.
*    In first-half stoppage time, a neat passing sequence led to Lindpere playing a one-touch chip through to Rolfe, who raced clear of the United defense and placed a low shot into the right corner of the goal.
*    The score became 4-0 about 10 minutes after the break when halftime substitute Quincy Amarikwa charged into the D.C. box and was taken down by Daniel Woolard. Mike Magee converted the spot kick for his 12th goal of the season.
*    United finally scored a goal from open play -- their first in more than two months -- two minutes later when Luis Silva curled in a gorgeous shot from 25 yards out into the upper right corner of the goal.
*    Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that suffered a 3-1 defeat by Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Gonzalo Segares came back into the back four for Shaun Francis, and Joel Lindpere started in the midfield in place of Patrick Nyarko.
*    CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Paolo Tornaghi - Jalil Anibaba, Bakary Soumare, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares - Dilly Duka (Quincy Amarikwa 47), Jeff Larentowicz, Alex (Logan Pause 77), Joel Lindpere - Chris Rolfe, Mike Magee (Maicon Santos 82)

*    Chris Rolfe doubled his league goal output for 2013 with the brace vs. D.C. United, his first two-goal game since last Sept. 22 vs. Columbus.
*    "The difference tonight was just finishing our chances," Fire coach Frank Klopas said. "I thought [Rolfe's brace] was great. Chris had opportunities the last game. Both goals were great finishes, but I thought his movement was very good and then the first ball Joel played to him, I thought it was a fantastic goal. I think Chris has that kind of quality."
*    Joel Lindpere made his first start since June 22 and played a part in three of the four goals on the night. It was his second two-assist game this season, the coming in his last start. Lindpere made the start with Patrick Nyarko sidelined with strep throat.
*    "We have talked throughout the season about guys needing to [perform] when the opportunity comes and Joel is an experienced guy," Klopas said. "I have 100 percent confidence in Joel when he comes into the game and his work rate and all that stuff he showed tonight."
*    It was also the second time in his MLS career he'd had a goal and two assists in the same game, also performing the feat July 6, 2011 for the New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC.
*    "Wednesday, in the reserve game I gave an assist, last game, in Vancouver, I gave an assist, Columbus I gave an assist, so I think I've been doing my job how I like to do it and how I have to do it. I love to play so if you can enjoy playing, then it's a good thing," said Lindpere.
*    Quincy Amarikwa made his second consecutive appearance, his sixth of the season and his longest shift in a league game this year, coming on for Dilly Duka very early in the second half. Amarikwa won the penalty that led to the fourth Fire goal.
*    "At halftime Dilly didn't really say anything and when I came out they were warming up and preparing for the second half and he said that he had an issue with his hamstring or his groin, we will have to see," said Klopas. " - We knew we would have space to play into depth. He is a guy that brings energy, his work rate, and his pace to get behind helps. Moments like that he's been good and he's played well, not only the times he's come in, but also in the reserve matches. I think that is positive for him and also for the rest of the guys."
*    Mike Magee continued his stunning run of form, his sixth goal in eight league games since coming to the Fire from the LA Galaxy and his ninth goal in all competitions for the club.
*    The Fire made a signing ahead of the Dynamo match, acquiring striker Ecuadorian striker Juan Luis AnangonÛ, who was last with Argentinos Juniors.
*    "I'm not at 100 percent yet, but I'm at about 80 percent," AnangonÛ said. "It's been about 25 days since the league in Argentina finished up, so I know I'm not quite there yet, but I've been doing some work on the side and I'm looking forward to getting back into shape soon."
*    "Everybody's got to earn that right to be on the field," Klopas said. "He's a good player, that's why we brought him here. He's got to earn that on the field for sure. He has a lot of good qualities that can impact our team and that's why we brought him here."

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