Every fighter wants the opportunity to finish a bout, and the Houston Dynamo were no different on Sunday night in rain-swept Chicago.
But after 65 minutes and two weather delays that resulted in one hour and 52 minutes of down time, referee Geoff Gamble in conjunction with MLS officials made the decision to call the game, which meant the 1-1 scoreline was official and left the Dynamo and the Chicago Fire to share the spoils.
The early stoppage, however, was bittersweet for Houston, who wanted the chance to earn all three points.
“I think we’re happy to step away with the result, but we’re a competitive team and we always feel we have an opportunity to get more points,” Dynamo captain Brian Ching told MLSsoccer.com after the match.
What made Houston’s desire to finish was the fact that they seemed to hit their stride after the first delay.
“It was a tough start to the game for us, but I think we came back and fought well,” Tally Hall told the media after the match. “It was disappointing because I thought the team was playing its best soccer when the second lightning delay happened … We were on our front foot, game stops and so be it.”
In the end, though, the safety and health of the players trumped any eagerness to log a full 90 and the teams will both have to settle for a unusual point.
“They were telling us we wouldn’t be able to kick off until 11:30, looking at the radar, and it’s difficult because you do risk injuries, but both teams want to play,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s unfortunate for the fans and players of both teams, but to lay off two or three hours would be tough, so the decision to call the game was pretty good.”
Changes hold up
One of the main storylines coming into the match was how the Dynamo would fare without three midfield starters.
Kinnear went with experience, making room for veteran players like Jermaine Taylor and Nathan Sturgis by shifting Corey Ashe and Je-Vaughn Watson to new positions. The moves produced positive results.
“There was a lot of movement in the back and in the midfield, but the back four was pretty strong with Jermaine adding to the backline like he has before,” Kinnear said. “Overall I was pretty happy with the way we went about it.”
Road success continues
While it was not the full three points, Sunday’s draw makes it seven points from four straight road matches. Considering it took 11 games to match that total in 2011, the outlook after Sunday’s draw was positive.
“Coming away with a result is a good thing, especially on the road and it’s another point for us,” Ching said. “I always point to our record on the road last year and think we’re off to a great start this year.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.