The Houston Dynamo entered Saturday’s contest against the Chicago Fire on a two game losing streak at BBVA Stadium and with the playoff picture increasingly closing, getting three points over the Fire was necessary. DaMarcus Beasley captained the Dynamo in his last match against his former club and unfortunately Houston was unable to get the win. A close 1-0 loss to the Fire, the team had some good chances, but struggled to break down Chicago after they sat back on their lead.
After a brief weather delay the game got underway with both teams flying out of the gate. First the Fire came out and nearly caught the Dynamo flat footed in the opening minute and after the ball bounced around the defensive third, Tyler Deric was able to punch it away before it was eventually cleared. Almost immediately, the Dynamo had their chance to respond, but despite a good looking cross in, no one was there to get on the end of it and Houston would be forced to move the ball back to reset.
As the two sides settled in, it appeared that Chicago had taken the momentum. Houston showed a distinct lack of energy and sat deeper which allowed the Fire to have space and time to create chances. Aleksandar Katai had a great run into the box and got his shot off, but it was just off the mark as it went into the side netting. Houston had its chance to respond with Memo Rodríguez trying his luck which went over the top. DaMarcus Beasley complained about the effort as he was to Memo’s left and wanted the ball to send across the box.
Following the reversal of a call that benefited the Dynamo, the team looked like they woke up and they promptly took back the momentum and had a number of close chances to get on the board. On the counter attack, Memo Rodríguez linked up with Mauro Manotas who one touched it to Tomás Martínez. Martínez took a touch onto his favored left foot, faking out Fire defenders at the same time, and took a shot, but goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm makes the save.
Things would even out towards the end of the first half with both sides turning the ball over often. However, just before the halftime whistle Nemanja Nikolic would steal the game’s opening goal. Following a short corner kick, the ball would end up with Nicolás Gaitán who had space in front of him. Gaitán floated a ball into the box and Nikolic directed the ball passed Deric.
HT: @niko_nemanja scores late, gets his 7th goal of the season & gives the @ChicagoFire a 1-0 at the half. #HOUvCHI pic.twitter.com/Vp2cqd37wv— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 4, 2019
The Dynamo came out with a lot of energy to start the second half getting a few chances pretty quickly, but nothing resulting in an equalizer. The Dynamo played a quick free kick to Beasley in a good spot that saw the ball in a dangerous area which resulted in Maynor Figueroa ripping one, but it was off target.
Chicago had an incredible chance to double their lead, but the ball somehow did not go in. Dax McCarty, Francisco Calvo, and C.J. Sapong all had opportunities to put the ball in, but it just didn’t want go in the net.
WOW. How did the ball NOT go in?? pic.twitter.com/lRxehLMDVz— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 4, 2019
As the game went on, Chicago sat deeper on the ball essentially daring the Dynamo to break them down. The lack of space for the wings to run and lack of movement up top made it hard to get quality chances inside the box. In the 82nd minute Tomás Martínez tried to curl one into the corner, but was over the top. He had gotten the right amount of separation on his defender, Dax McCarty, but the shot was off target.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo would lose their third straight at BBVA Stadium and their second in a row and now they head back on the road. This was disappointing because the Dynamo had the chances and it was more or less pretty even, but they switched off before halftime and were punished for it. The team’s inability to break down opponents that sit deep is also very frustrating since we know it can be done as it happens to us often.
Next up is a trip to New York City FC this coming Thursday followed by a quick turnaround Sunday against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium.
45’ + 3’ CHI: Nemanja Nikolic (assisted by Nicolás Gaitán)
44’ HOU: Alberth Elis (yellow card)
46’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
53’ CHI: Brandt Bronico (yellow card)
67’ CHI: Dax McCarty (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, A.J. DeLaGarza (86’ Marlon Hairston); Oscar Boniek García, Tomás Martínez, Matías Vera; Memo Rodríguez (62’ Romell Quioto), Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis
Chicago Fire (4-2-3-1): Kenneth Kronholm; Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Calvo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Johan Kappelhof; Brandt Bronico, Dax McCarty; C.J. Sapong (85’ Djordje Mihailovic), Nicolás Gaitán, Aleksandar Katai (90’+5’ Diego Campos); Nemanja Nikolic (58’ Przemyslaw Frankowski)