The Houston Dynamo continued their road trip following their 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps with a stop in the Windy City to take on the Chicago Fire. With the season being an up-and-down ride for the Dynamo, they made this one count as they bested the home Fire 3-2 to earn the team’s first win away from BBVA Compass Stadium of the year.
The Houston Dynamo came out of the gates with a lot of energy. Alberth Elis won a poor ball out of the back and tried to play a cross in, but it was blocked for a corner. The Dynamo wouldn’t let up though as in just the 4th minute they would strike and get on the scoreboard. Tomás Martínez would play a long through pass to Romell Quioto who would end up going 1v1 with Fire goalkeeper Richard Sánchez. Quioto would easily beat the keeper and he put Houston up 1-0 early on the road.
The Chicago Fire found their way back into the game as they would score following a long ball to Brandon Vincent who headed a ball to Nemanja Nikolic. Nikolic one touched the ball as he fell passed Joe Willis to level the score.
The defense would continue to struggle as Damarcus Beasley, who was a surprise omission from last week’s 18, couldn’t clear a cross with his head well. The ball would fall to Kevin Ellis who squared a ball to Nemanja Nikolic. Nikolic would play Diego Campos through who easily beat Joe Willis 1v1 to put the Fire up 1-2 on the Dynamo.
The Dynamo would try to answer as Mauro Manotas shot on a pass on his first touch which was deflected out just wide for a corner kick. On the corner Alejandro Fuenmayor was able to get a head on the ball but Richard Sánchez was able to get a touch on it and push it underneath the crossbar denying the Dynamo an equalizer.
Houston would continue to press for a goal back in the game with DaMarcus Beasley beating two defenders to the ball as he made a great run towards goal from the end line. As he tried to pick out Mauro Manotas, a Chicago Fire player was able to get a foot on the ball and clear it away from danger.
The halftime whistle would blow with Chicago up a goal on the visiting Dynamo. Houston had looked in charge for most of the game two minutes where the Fire would equalize and then lead being the exception. They would respond well as they pushed for a goal back into the game, but the finishing just wasn’t there in the first half with Chicago playing relatively deep.
Coming out of halftime we saw a little more of the same. The Dynamo were able to gain more and more possession with Chicago sitting back on their lead, but the opportunities for quality looks on goal just weren’t there even with the Dynamo winning a lot of corner kicks early on.
The game would go level in the 56th minute as Houston finally broke through. Mauro Manotas was able to get behind the Chicago back line and was taken out by the Fire keeper inside the box resulting in a penalty. Alberth Elis would step up to the spot and send Richard Sánchez the wrong way to make it 2-2.
Elis nearly put the Dynamo up in the 65th minute as he would find acres of space on the right side of the field after a great ball by Tomás Martínez. He would end up going 1v1 with the Fire keeper, but his shot struck the post.
The Dynamo would go up in the 74th minute as Boniek blew through the midfield and played an outstanding ball to rushing Alberth Elis. Elis would go 1v1 with Richard Sánchez again, but this time he would convert to make it 3-2 to Houston.
Tempers would begin to flare with Chicago growing frustrated late and Houston embellishing some contact at times. After some shoving and several players booked, play began again with Quioto linking up Elis down the left side of the field. The Fire goalkeeper would bring down Elis just outside the box earning a yellow card for himself and a free kick for Houston. The following free kick would sail well over goal and into the stands.
After 6 minutes of extra time was announced, Chicago came out aggressively looking for another goal. Wilmer Cabrera had changed his formation to include 5 men at the back to withstand the pressure. Alan Gordon had come on to help the Fire get a goal and he was close as he got his head on the end of one, but Joe Willis came up with a huge grab to deny the striker.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo earned their first road win of the season. Although there was a very poor stretch of play during the first half which led to two quick goals by the Fire, the Dynamo looked in control from start to finish. They responded very well to Chicago’s goals and kept attacking and looking for chances to score. Wilmer Cabrera adjusted his game plan late to manage the game by putting 5 in the back and he kept his fastest player Elis on as a center forward to chase down clearances. The strategy worked, although there were a few nervous moments with the Fire desperate to score.
The Dynamo’s next game is Friday May 25th at 7:55 PM CT at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX against New York City FC.
4’ HOU: Romell Quioto (assisted by Tomás Martínez)
14’ CHI: Nemanja Nikolic (assisted by Aleksandar, Brandon Vincent)
16’ CHI: Diego Campos (assisted by Nemanja Nikolic, Kevin Ellis)
56’ HOU: Alberth Elis
74’ HOU; Alberth Elis (assisted by Oscar Boniek García)
38’ CHI: Mohammed Adams (yellow card)
68’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
79’ HOU: Romell Quioto (yellow card)
80’ HOU: Alberth Elis (yellow card)
83’ CHI: Richard Sánchez (yellow card)
90’ + 1’ CHI; Rafael Ramos (yellow card)
90’ + 6’ HOU: Joe Willis (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Adolfo Machado, Andrew Wenger; Oscar Boniek García, Eric Alexander, Tomás Martínez (88’ Arturo Álvarez); Romell Quioto (85’ Luis Gil), Mauro Manotas (78’ Leonardo), Alberth Elis
Chicago Fire (4-3-3): Richard Sánchez; Brandon Vincent, Grant Lillard, Johan Kappelhof, Kevin Ellis (87’ Rafael Ramos); Tony Tchani, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mohammed Adams (73’ Alan Gordon); Aleksandar Katai (60’ Daniel Johnson), Nemanja Nikolic, Diego Campos