Fire play to 1-1 draw with Dynamo

Pappa nets second-half equalizer in club's final preseason road game

Head coach Carlos de los Cobos made a couple changes in the back
following the Fire's 3-0 defeat of FC Dallas on Sunday, giving
goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and trailing Salvadoran defender Deris Umanzor
starting nods, while veteran Brian McBride returned to the lineup after
not playing against the Hoops.

The home team dominated the first half, thwarting any Fire effort at
goal while creating a number of chances that threatened Dykstra's net.

The 26th minute saw the second-year Fire keeper charge off his line to
take a clear opportunity away from U.S. international Brian Mullan. Ten
minutes later, Dykstra was called upon to make back-to-back saves on
efforts from strikers Dominic Oduro and Cam Weaver, equal to both tasks
and taking his club into the half level with Houston.

The second half saw veteran midfielder Logan Pause and trailing striker
Collins John enter the match for Baggio Husidic and Julio Martinez,
respectively. In what would become a chippy second half, the changes
gave fuel to the Fire attack allowing the team a better view toward

Despite the change in attack, it was the home team that went up first in
the 63rd minute when Luis Angel Landin served a cross from the left
that found the head of Cameron, who made no mistake with his second
chance of the match, putting it past a sprawling Andrew Dykstra.

The Fire looked for the response and found it eight minutes later,
defender Wilman Conde intercepted a Dynamo pass in midfield and made his
way forward, when he found Marco Pappa at the top of the Houston box,
The Guatemalan international fired a low, driven shot out of reach of
goalkeeper Pat Onstad, to level the scoring.

The visitors looked to go ahead three minutes later when speedy striker
Patrick Nyarko was chopped in the box by Houston's Eddie Robinson. The
foul saw the Dynamo defender shown a red card and the referee awarded a
penalty kick. Looking for his second goal on the night, Pappa stepped
to the penalty spot and put an attempt to the lower left corner, where
this time Onstad was equal to the effort, keeping the game knotted at

Following the penalty save, Houston began to threaten as they looked for
the winner. A dangerous corner in the 82nd minute saw an effort go just
wide of Dykstra's goal. The Fire lost their man-advantage when Pappa
picked up a second yellow card for a hard challenge in the 86th minute,
but neither team was able to break the score line and the match ended

As they return to Chicago on Friday, the result takes the club to 3-1-2
in the preseason. The Fire will play their last preseason match of 2010
when they take on the University of Notre Dame on Saturday, March 20 at
the Toyota Park practice field.