BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire will look to put an end to their three game losing streak when they host the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park Saturday night (8:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live).
The Fire didn’t play well in their last match, a 2-1 home loss to a shorthanded Galaxy squad. Chicago held possession decently, but struggled with their finishing and made a couple of important defensive miscues that ultimately cost them the game.
“We’ve kind of let ourselves down with mistakes all over the field,” Fire captain Logan Pause said Thursday. “It’s not just one guy, it’s a collective thing.”
The Fire’s struggles may prompt head coach Carlos de los Cobos to make a few changes to his starting lineup. The manager hinted after practice on Thursday that rookie right back Jalil Anibaba (below) and center midfielder Mike Videira – both of whom have started all five of the Fire’s league matches – might be benched for Saturday’s game. Injured center back Cory Gibbs, listed as doubtful with a left hamstring strain, could also miss the match.
[inline_node:332503]One place de los Cobos won’t be making a change is in net. Jon Conway will play ahead of opening day starter Sean Johnson for the second straight game.
Regardless of who plays, de los Cobos will want his players to avoid giving Houston set piece opportunities. The Dynamo have been very dangerous on set plays this season, scoring four of their six goals through dead ball chances.
“They have strong guys who hold the ball for them and they’re really good at set pieces,” said Fire forward Dominic Oduro, who was acquired in a March trade with Houston. “We have to try to avoid making contact close to the box and even if we do, we have to try and stay focused and defend intensely so we can stop them from doing what they’re good at.”
More than anything, the Fire want to get out on their home field and stop their losing skid.
“We have to bounce back,” Pause said. “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a little bit down after losing three in a row on a long road trip and then coming back and losing against L.A. It’s emotionally draining. But we’ve had a full week to prepare, we’re looking forward to the weekend and we’ll be ready in front of our home fans.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.