HOUSTON — In their final game before the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, the Chicago Fire fell by a 3-0 score on the road against the Houston Dynamo Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium. At the conclusion of 11 simultaneous matches on the final day of the MLS regular season, the Fire (16-11-7, 55 points) retained the third seed in the Eastern Conference and clinched home game in the postseason’s knockout round.
Chicago will host the sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls (14-12-8, 50 points) in the knockout round at Toyota Park either Wednesday (Oct. 26) or Thursday (Oct. 27).
Additionally, Fire striker Nemanja Nikolic ended his inaugural season in MLS as the league’s 2017 Golden Boot winner, with his 24 goals leaving him two clear of second-place David Villa (NYCFC). Nikolic is the first Chicago Fire player in club history to claim the league’s top goal-scoring honor.
On Sunday, the Dynamo jumped out to an early lead on their home field with a goal in the second minute by defender Leonardo. A long throw-in by Adolfo Machado from the left touchline was redirected in traffic by Leonardo, clearing Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez at the far post.
The Fire bounced back from the early goal allowed and created a handful of chances to equalize, beginning in the eighth minute when Brandon Vincent outmaneuvered defender A.J. DeLaGarza en route to a right-footed shot in the area, but his attempt was just wide. Fire forward David Accam also managed to create back-to-back chances off the dribble in the first half but could not find net with either opportunity.
With the score the same after halftime, both sides pushed for the all-important second goal, which eventually fell for the host Dynamo. Forward Romell Quioto broke free on a counterattack and took a sharp-angled shot that was redirected into the net by a diving Sanchez.
Less than 10 minutes later, the playoff-bound Dynamo added a third courtesy of Mauro Manotas en route to the 3-0 win.
A 2-2 draw between New York City FC and Columbus Crew SC, coupled with a matching 2-2 draw between Atlanta United FC and Toronto FC, allowed the Fire to hold firm on the conference’s No. 3 seed and the third-highest regular-season point total in MLS this season.
p>MLS Regular Season
Chicago Fire (16-11-7, 55 pts.) 0:3 Houston Dynamo (13-10-11, 50 points))
Oct. 22, 2017 – BBVA Compass Stadium
HOU — Leonardo (Adolfo Machado) 2’
HOU — Romell Quioto (Leonardo) 68’
HOU — Mauro Manotas (Andrew Wenger, Alex) 75’
Chicago Fire: Richard Sanchez; Matt Polster (Joao Meira 66’), Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent; Arturo Alvarez, Dax McCarty (Brandt Bronico 73’), Djordje Mihailovic; David Accam (Juninho 71’), Nemanja Nikolic, Luis Solignac
Subs not used: Matt Lampson, Michael Harrington, Patrick Doody, David Arshakyan
Shots: 12; Shots On-Goal:42; Saves: 2; Fouls: 6; Corners: 5; Offsides: 4/p>
Montreal Impact: Tyler Deric; A.J. DeLaGarza (Jalil Anibaba 13’), Adolfo Machado, Dylan Remick, Leonard; Alex, Andrew Wenger, Eric Alexander, Juan Cabezas (Vicente Sanchez 79’), Romell Quioto (Alberth Elis 69’); Mauro Manotas
Subs not used: Joe Willis, Ricardo Clark, Tomás Martínez, Erick Torres
Shots: 11; Shots On-Goal: 5; Saves: 4; Fouls: 9; Corners: 4; Offsides: 0