Match Preview: Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire

Houston out to avenge April 24 loss

HOU_20100424_Bobby_Boswell_Baggio_Husidic

Photo Credit: 
David Banks / Getty Images

The Basics

Houston
Dynamo
(5-10-5, 20 points, seventh in Western Conference) vs. Chicago Fire
(6-5-6, 24 points, fourth in Eastern Conference)
Saturday, August 21, 7:30 p.m. CT
Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX 

All-time record: Houston leads the series 5-3-1.

TV Info

7:15 p.m. KHOU 11.2 (English)
7:00 p.m. TV Informa (Spanish)
6:45 p.m. SportsTalk 790 (English)
7:00 p.m. La Ranchera 850 (Spanish)

Game Guide - downloadable PDF coming soon

Intro

The Dynamo are coming off a gritty but deflating 1-0 road loss to the New England
Revolution
last weekend. Geoff Cameron returned to defense and
stabilized a struggling Houston back line, and midfielder Anthony Obodai played
his best game since his acquisition. However, it was not enough, as a poor shot on
goal ended up at the wrong spot at the wrong time for the Dynamo.

Chicago enters the match fresh off a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night against
New England. New signing Nery Castillo got his first start for the Fire
since his acquisition, but it was Calen Carr, playing his first game of the season,
who scored the game-winner late.

Both teams met earlier in the year in a match Cameron would soon like to
forget. He left the game in the 30th minute after suffering a torn ligament in
his knee, and the Fire went on to win 2-0 on goals from Baggio Husidic and Peter
Lowry
.

Houston Dynamo

Houston has not defeated an MLS team since May 22. While the team took
several steps in the right direction in its last match against New
England, the Dynamo’s fading playoff hopes took a big blow with recent losses to
both the Seattle
Sounders
and the Revolution. If Houston has any hopes of climbing back into
the race, a victory at home against a team ahead of them in the standings would
go a long way.

It seems likely that Corey Ashe and Adrian Serioux will
both be unavailable for Houston, as they were unable to participate fully in
Thursday’s practice. Brad Davis will likely be a game-time decision as
well, leaving Houston scrambling in the midfield.

Chicago Fire

While Freddie Ljungberg and Castillo will get
most of the headlines, the reacquisition of Gonzalo Segares quietly solidified
the Fire in the back. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s play of late has also been
impressive, as the young goalkeeper has made several acrobatic saves, including a
couple against the Revolution.

With the midweek game and travel, the Fire may have difficulty coping with
the Houston humidity. As a result, Chicago’s ability to deal early with the
high-pressure game Houston employs at home may go a long way to decide whether
the Fire can steal any points on the road.

Heroes & Villains

Brian
Ching
vs. Wilman Conde:
The usually reliable Conde
made a mistake against the Revs, as he slipped and turned the
ball over, resulting in an early New England goal. Ching and the entire Dynamo
offense have struggled of late, but that may be due more to the lack of quality
service into Ching rather than the Dynamo forward’s own capabilities. Still, the
Hawaiian frequently provides an outlet for Houston, and Conde will have to work
hard to limit the forward's effectiveness for the Fire to get three points.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”

Houston has just two shots on goal in its last two games.