The Chicago Fire hope to end the Houston Dynamo’s bid for a new MLS record 35-game home unbeaten streak today at BBVA Compass Stadium (4pm CT on UniMas | TV Listings by Provider).
Here are Five Things You Should Know about today’s game…
Arne’s return will have to wait
In case you missed it Saturday night, the veteran defender tweeted a good luck message to his teammates, saying that he was sad not to be in Houston with them.
Fire head coach Frank Klopas had hoped to have Friedrich make his 2013 debut Sunday and signs earlier in the week pointed to that happening but it appears he’s not quite ready.
One thing is for sure, the Fire are much better when Friedrich is on the field, holding a 14-5-4 record in matches he’s appeared in vs. a 4-7-3 mark when he’s unavailable.
Thompson to continue at right back?
Paladini, Thompson Preview Houston
With Friedrich out Sunday, it would appear that Jalil Anibaba will stay partnered with Austin Berry in the middle of the back line, allowing Wells Thompson to earn his third consecutive start at right back.
A converted midfielder, the veteran Thompson has proven a valuable fill-in on the backline so far this season and even said earlier this week that he’d like to lock down the starting spot there.
In a crowded Fire midfield, taking on more defensive responsibilities seems the best way for Thompson to get more minutes this season.
An impressive 2-3-2 record at Houston
I know. You’re saying there’s nothing impressive about a 2-3-2 record but when you consider that the Dynamo are going for an MLS record 35-match home unbeaten run Sunday, 2-3-2 aint bad.
The Dynamo are 64-17-32 at home all-time and so the Fire’s 2-3-2 mark is actually one of the better one’s around the league.
Consider that of the 19 MLS clubs, New England is the only team to hold a winning record in H-Town (4-2-1 all-time) and that just under half of the league has never won there (both RSL and D.C. United are both 0-8-1).
A lot of experience in central midfield
Much talk around Sunday’s game has been about Houston’s ability in the attack and set pieces. With the likes of Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia, Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Brian Ching and Cam Weaver, the Dynamo do have a lot of assets in that area.
But the battle I’m most interested in watching today is the one in central midfield where a ton of MLS experience exists.
It’s Act Two of the new Fire partnership between Logan Pause (260 games played) and Jeff Larentowicz (212) as they go up against U.S. international Ricardo Clark (197) and the slightly less seasoned Adam Moffatt (89).
Finally the weather…
One key to the Dynamo’s success in Houston since 2006 is taking advantage of the humid summer weather in the Bayou City.
This will likely be more of an issue for the Fire come their return to Houston in late July as today’s kickoff forecast is 81 degrees with 56% humidity. Certainly a little but not nearly as bad as it could be.