Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire

Dynamo could climb as high as second place in Eastern Conference with a win

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire
Saturday, July 27, 8:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX

BROADCAST INFORMATION
NBC Sports Network - 8:00 p.m. CHANNEL LISTINGS
Yahoo! Sports Radio 1560 AM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 AM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)

PREVIEW

The Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire meet in a key contest in the Eastern Conference when the clubs clash for the second time this season, Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo return to action still holding onto fifth place in the East, following their 2-1 win at New England two weeks ago. The Fire are currently five points out of a playoff spot, continuing their move up the table last weekend with a 4-1 home win against D.C. United.

REFEREES

Ricardo Salazar. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic MLS Career: 172 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 50; pens: 59

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY THE METHODIST HOSPITAL SYSTEM

HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: Calen Carr – left knee; Brian Ching – left adductor strain; QUESTIONABLE: Anthony Arena – right ankle sprain; Omar Cummings – right adductor strain

CHICAGO FIRE -- QUESTIONABLE: Dilly Duka – right groin strain; Steven Kinney – right quad strain

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Dynamo 7 wins, 24 goals ... Fire 4 wins, 20 goals ... Ties 5
  • AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 4 wins, 12 goals ... Fire 2 wins, 10 goals ... Ties 2
  • FUTURE MATCH: 9/1: Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 4 p.m. CT (UniMas)
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A late Brad Davis goal snapped a 1-1 tie to give the Dynamo the victory, April 14 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • In league play, the Dynamo last won in Bridgeview in 2009. The Fire won at Robertson Stadium in 2006 and 2007 in their first two trips ever to Houston – and have not won there since.
  • The teams also met a year ago in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Dynamo taking a 2-1 victory at Toyota Park on their way to an eventual appearance in MLS Cup 2012.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v CHI: P21 W8 L6 D7 ... Frank Klopas vs. HOU: P5 W1 L1 D3

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo return to action after a weekend off following a second consecutive victory, a 2-1 defeat of the New England Revolution on July 13 at Gillette Stadium. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 18 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo took the lead four minutes into the second half. Andrew Driver sent a corner kick into the mixer, where it was headed away by Revolution striker Chad Barrett. But the clearance fell to Adam Moffat, who immediately volleyed past the dive of New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth from well outside the area.
  • The Revs wasted no time filing their response when Diego Fagundez raced into the box and drove a low cross into the area. The ball was only parried by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, right to the feet of Saer Sene, and he pushed home the point-blank effort in the 55th minute.
  • The game-winner came in the 80th minute, again on a stunning long-range strike from Moffat. From all of 25 yards, he fired a shot that smacked the post before it deflected off Shuttleworth’s back and into the net.
  • The Revolution finished the game a man down after Dimitry Imbongo was sent off in the 82nd minute.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kofi Sarkodie came into the back four for Warren Creavalle, and Cam Weaver started up top in place of Omar Cummings.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Eric Brunner, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat, Andrew Driver - Giles Barnes (Warren Creavalle 92+), Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo have put together back-to-back wins for the first time since May 5-8, when they recorded consecutive shutout victories against the LA Galaxy and D.C. United – both of which came on the road.
  • “You just step on the field and try to win every game. Even though they’re on a little winless streak, we’re still trying to win games,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think if you look at it, the result was important for a couple reasons. New England’s right behind us. If they win the game, obviously we flip flop spots in the conference. Then you look up above us and New York’s won and Philadelphia won last night and I think Kansas City’s winning right now. You have to try and keep pace and these conference games are important for two of those reasons.”
  • Of Moffat’s 11 goals in MLS play, six have come from outside the penalty area – including five of his goals with the Dynamo (and, each of his last four over the last two seasons).
  • “We know Adam can hit those, we’ve seen it before. He’s done it before and he’ll do it again,” striker Cam Weaver said. “It’s great he was able to step up in the moment and get those two goals and get us the victory.”
  • Said Kinnear: “He’s been good for a goal. He hasn’t hit one of those in a while. It was a fantastic hit and I thought overall his game was good. It was a good night for him.”
  • It was also Moffat’s first career two-goal game in 102 MLS appearances. “I always think, what are your chances of doing it again? Some goals I think I could; that, I don't know if I could. It was on my weaker side,” Moffat said. “Sometimes I think, why did I even shoot there? There's no one near me. Fortunately I did. I think that's one of the harder ones difficulty-wise. The goalkeeper didn't see it. It wasn't in the corner or anything like that but that's part of hitting it first time, to catch him off guard and I did.”
  • The break also brought some good news on the injury front. Brad Davis could be ready to return following a three-match absence to an hamstring injury, and Omar Cummings was not able to make a second consecutive start, vs. New England, because of a groin strain.
  • Said Davis: “You always have that itch. We’ve got two wins in a row now and confidence is good. Hopefully, we can continue to push and keep this run going. Hopefully, this is the moment in the season we can make a run.”
  • With Corey Ashe returned to the Dynamo at the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Jermaine Taylor will likely slide back into central defense from left back, where he had started two consecutive matches.
  • “I think last year, through need, we played him at a lot of different positions and he showed how valuable and flexible he was,” Kinnear said. “When needed he’s been asked to play different positions and doesn’t say a word, just goes about his business and does very well.”
  • Said Taylor. “Maybe most of the people don’t expect a left back like me to go up in terms of the attack,” the Jamaican international said. “I’m capable of doing it so it’s just a matter of getting the chance to get up there and doing whatever I need to do offensively and defensively.”
  • On Wednesday, the Dynamo defeated Stoke City FC of the English Premier League 2-0 in a friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium. Andrew Driver (11) and Giles Barnes (88) scored the goals.
  • Here’s the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric; Warren Creavalle (Brad Davis 66), Bobby Boswell (Jermaine Taylor 46), Eric Brunner (Corey Ashe 66), Mike Chabala; Alex Dixon (Bryan Salazar 89), Adam Moffat (Kofi Sarkodie 46), Ricardo Clark (Boniek Garcia 46), Andrew Driver (Brian Ownby 46); Cam Weaver (Giles Barnes 46), Jason Johnson