BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire Arne Friedrich has played in 82 games for Germany, including two World Cups. He played eight seasons in the Bundesliga, and another four in the lower 2.Bundesliga.
He’s seen most everything the game has to offer.
But Friedrich said he had never seen anything like his Fire debut on Sunday, a lightning-shortened 1-1 tie against Houston, which included a 70-minute rain delay after 12 minutes. The game was called off after a bolt of lightning struck near the stadium during the 66th minute.
“It was a crazy game,” Friedrich said. “I’ve never seen that before, where we had two breaks in a game. It was the first time for me, and it was unusual.”
By all accounts, Fire players and coaches thought the game was theirs to win. The Fire outshot Houston 8-5 and had four shots on goal to the Dynamo’s one, which Houston forward Will Bruin buried.
“I felt if the game would’ve gone on, we could’ve pulled three points out of the night, but such was the night,” said assistant coach Mike Matkovich, who spoke alongside assistant Leo Percovich after the game while coach Frank Klopas dealt with a family matter. “We’re disappointed we didn’t get the game in in its entirety, but we can’t control the Lord above.”
Houston was missing 2011 MVP candidate Brad Davis and midfielders Adam Moffat and Colin Clark, who were suspended. But Fire captain Logan Pause doesn’t care that the Dynamo were missing starters – he has other reasons to regret the lost points.
“I don’t think anything to do with them missing a few of their top guys,” Pause said. “It was a game at home against a conference opponent. We showed glimpses in the first half that we actually played some pretty good soccer. We created quite a bit of chances. If we were just a little bit cleaner in the attacking third, maybe we get another one in the first half.”
Percovich said Houston dropped back noticeably in the second half. The Fire, spearheaded by attacking midfielder Sebastian Grazzini, were able to create offense throughout the game.
“We were very aggressive,” Percovich said. “If we were to keep going in this game, I think we would win this game.”
Friedrich’s debut was a messy affair, but he thought it was one that should have ended with three points.
“It’s sad, but we can’t do anything,” Friedrich said. “It’s just a draw, so we are not happy. One point is not good at home.”
HIGHLIGHTS: CHI vs HOU