BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. –The undermanned Houston Dynamo played to a 65-minute, 1-1 tie against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday in a game that included a 70-minute delay and was ended early because of lightning.
Will Bruin and Logan Pause traded goals midway through the first half, then the teams slugged it out for 40 more minutes before the skies opened and officials were forced the cancel the match.
The Dynamo played without three midfield starters, including 2011 MVP candidate Brad Davis, but they were able to escape their fourth-straight road contest – and their first game since March 23 – with a point.
Fire forward Dominic Oduro had the first chance of rain-soaked evening when he was sprung free on the left side of the penalty area by Patrick Nyarko. Oduro tried to chip Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, but Hall was able to easily corral the shot.
The Fire went on to recover several Houston turnovers on the slippery field before referee Geoff Gamble called a halt to the game because of a bolt of lightning and the peal of thunder in the 13th minute. The game was halted for 70 minutes before it resumed.
The first scoring chance after the intermission came off the foot of Sebastian Grazzini, who curled a shot from 25 yards to the upper corner, but Hall was able to make a flying fingertip save.
Minutes later, the Dynamo broke through. Brian Ching peeled off the backline and sprung Will Bruin on a through pass that split center backs Jalil Anibaba and Arne Friedrich. Bruin coolly beat Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to put the Dynamo on the board in the 24th minute.
The Dynamo goal was Houston’s only shot on target in the first half.
Just three minutes later, the Fire lucked into an equalizer. After Nyarko was taken down at the top of the box, a Pavel Pardo direct kick deflected off of the back of Pause, curled over Hall, hit the underside of the cross bar and found the back of the net. The goal was Pause’s first since May 8, 2010.
After 20 minutes of back and forth action in the second half, which included no shots on target, another bolt of lightning was sighted and Gamble pulled the players off the field. All parties (League Office, Referees, Home Team, Visiting Team and Stadium Officials) agreed to make the game official.
The Fire (1-1-2) have yet to register a multi-goal game through four contests in 2011. That streak continued on Sunday despite some lively play from Grazzini and Nyarko. The Fire will try to register their first win since beating Philly 1-0 on March 23 this Saturday at Toronto.
The Dynamo (2-1-1) have lost only one game in their first four while they wait for the completion of BBVA Compass Stadium. They’ll head to Columbus in the next stop on their seven-game road trip.