BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire (1-1-2; 5pts.) used Logan Pause’s deflected goal to earn a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo (2-1-1; 7pts.) Sunday night at Toyota Park in a match that was first delayed in the 13th minute and then called due to inclement weather in the 66th.
The heavy rains began just before kickoff, making the early portion of the match rough for both sides. Playing against his former team, Fire striker Dominic Oduro had the best chance before the initial break in action when Patrick Nyarko played him into the box up the left. Oduro collected in front of Dynamo defender Andre Hainault before cutting back and unleashing an effort that was well-held by Tally Hall in the second minute.
The teams played on until the 13th minute when lightning was spotted and thunder heard in the vicinity of Toyota Park, resulting in referee Geoff Gamble’s decision to suspend play. After consultation with referees, league and stadium officials, the teams returned to the field following a 70-minute delay.
Back from the break, the Fire looked to put their stamp on the game but it was the Dynamo that struck against the run of play following a great sequence out of defense. Houston left back Jermaine Taylor began the play with a long ball up the left for Will Bruin settled for Brian Ching. The former U.S. international held the ball before pushing Bruin in alone on goal, allowing the Indiana University product an easy chip over an onrushing Sean Johnson in the 24th minute.
The Fire responded almost immediately as Nyarko made an incredible individual run towards the box before being chopped down by Dynamo midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson 25-yards from goal. Pavel Pardo stepped up to take the free kick and hit his low drive into the back of a crouching Logan Pause, whose deflection carried over Hall, off the underside of the cross bar and over the line to equalize in the 27th minute.
The home side nearly went ahead in the 32nd minute when Sebastian Grazzini drove past a Dynamo defender into space before tucking a through ball into the path of Marco Pappa. The Guatemalan international slid past Taylor into the box but his first-time effort was saved by Hall off his line, taking the sides into the break level at 1-1.
Coming out of the locker room, the teams returned to relatively peaceful weather as the Fire continued to dominate possession. Again it was Nyarko who caused trouble, this time darting down the right before being fouled just outside the box by Nathan Sturgis. This time Pappa stepped up to take the kick and drove a belting low effort through traffic and just wide of the back post in the 48th minute.
Ten minutes later, Pappa combined to send Nyarko on a dazzling run up the left before the Ghanaian cut back inside the box to center for Grazzini but the Argentine’s first time effort whistled over the bar.
The match came to a halt once again when Gamble spotted lightning in the 66th minute. After deliberations between both teams, referees, League and stadium officials, the match was officially abandoned, leaving the result a 1-1 draw.
The Fire and Dynamo will hope for better weather Monday morning as the two team’s face off in MLS Reserve League play at 10:00 a.m. CT on the Toyota Park Practice Field.
The Fire return to league play next weekend when they travel north of the border to face Toronto FC on Saturday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports; ESPN Deportes 97.5 FM). The Men in Red return to Toyota Park to face Seattle Sounders FC in a rematch of the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. CT (NBC 5.2; ESPN Deportes 97.5 FM). Chicago Fire Season Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE (657-3473), via Ticketmaster or by heading to the club’s official website at Chicago-Fire.com.
- With his appearance in the match, veteran Fire attacker Patrick Nyarko became the 14th player in club history to tally 100 regular season appearances.
- Now into his 10th season in Chicago, Logan Pause’s redirected effort in the 27th minute is the third of his Fire career. The club captain sits second behind C.J. Brown with 231 appearances.
- Following international duty with the U.S. U-23 team, Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson made his first Fire appearance since a 3-2 victory over Columbus on October 22, 2011.
- Fire defender Gonzalo Segares moved into a tie with Jim Curtin for ninth all-time on the club’s all-time regular season appearance list.
- Former Dynamo forward Dominic Oduro extended his run of playing in every regular season match since being traded to Chicago from Houston on March 23, 2011. Oduro has appeared in 37 consecutive regular season matches since joining the Fire.
Chicago Fire 1 – 1 Houston Dynamo
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dan Gargan, Arne Friedrich, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares; Marco Pappa, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause ©; Sebastian Grazzini; Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro
Substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Austin Berry, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini, Rafael Robayo, Federico Puppo, Orr Barouch
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor; Je-Vaughn Watson, Nathan Sturgis, Luiz Camargo (Calen Carr 63’), Corey Ashe; Brian Ching, Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Warren Creavalle, Kofi Sarkodie, Alex Dixon, Macoumba Kandji, Cam Weaver
HOU – Will Bruin (Brian Ching) 24’
CHI – Logan Pause (Pavel Pardo) 27’
CHI – Marco Pappa (caution) 49’
CHI – Patrick Nyarko (caution) 61’
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Drew Fischer