Dynamo, Fire battle to tough draw
HOUSTON – With both the Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire coming in on short rest, perhaps it’s unsurprising that the two sides played to a 0-0 draw in a measured affair at BBVA Compass Stadium Tuesday night.
The match was devoid of many clear-cut chances — the teams combined for only three shots on target — and the result devoid of any ramifications. The shared point leaves the pair static in the standings with Chicago in fourth place (28 pts) and Houston right behind them in fifth (24 pts).
The result does, however, keep Houston undefeated at home on the season with a record of 4-0-3. On the other side, the draw snaps a three-match winning streak for Chicago.
Despite both clubs coming off a match three days ago, and both were missing a few players. Houston were without Geoff Cameron, who sat out with a left hamstring strain, while the Fire were once again without unsettled playmaker Sebastien Grazzini.
But the early going was full of energy. Houston coach Dominic Kinnear opted again for a 4-3-3 lineup, marked by speedy wingers Mac Kandji and recently signed Designated Player Boniek Garcia. The Fire, meanwhile, pushed through their own speedster, Dominic Oduro.
But for all the pace, there were precious few chances in the first half. Kandji was alone on the right side of the goal in the 8th minute, but his meek side-footed shot missed the net.
Chicago’s Marco Pappa then test Tally Hall in the 12th minute with left-footed strike from outside that box that Houston’s 6-foot-4 ‘keeper coolly controlled. It was the only shot on target in the first 45.
Just before the break, Bruin had Houston’s best chance of the night. Corey Ashe’s driven cross found Bruin in space at the top of the six yard box. The second-year striker, who has nine goals already on the season, should’ve added to his tally, but instead his header sailed over the bar.
OPTA CHALKBOARDS: A defensive affair
The second half was played at a much slower pace as the teams seemed low on gas and conserve their energy.
Houston had the advantage, posting eight shots in the second 45 to Chicago’s four. But those shots were never threatening — only one from each side on target — and the only good chance for the Dynamo fell to Brian Ching minutes after he subbed on for Bruin in the 66th minute. The veteran striker redirected a cross from the right side but couldn’t quite hit the frame.
The Fire saw there latest signing, Alex, make his second appearance in the 55th, and the Brazilian playmaker nearly broke the deadlock in the 80th. He snaked past a few defenders and into the area, but his shot was blocked by Jermaine Taylor, and the score remained knotted at zero.
The Dynamo (6-5-6) next travel north to face Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. The Fire (8-5-4) return home to host the LA Galaxy on the same day.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Corey Ashe||Speedy left back neutralized the equally fast Patrick Nyarko, several great crosses should've been finished|
|2||Jalil Anibaba||Stout and quickness allowed him to handle the high-flying Bruin and the tricky Kandji|
|3||Jermaine Taylor||Positionally sound, steady on the ball, tough in the tackle as replacement center back for injured Cameron|