With both the Houston Dynamo and Chicago Fire coming in on short rest, perhaps it’s unsurprising that the two sides played to a 0-0 draw in a measured affair at BBVA Compass Stadium Tuesday night.
The match was devoid of many clear-cut chances — the teams combined for only three shots on target — and the result devoid of any ramifications. The shared point leaves the pair static in the standings with Chicago in fourth place (28 pts) and Houston right behind them in fifth (24 pts).
The result does, however, keep Houston undefeated at home on the season with a record of 4-0-3. On the other side, the draw snaps a three-match winning streak for Chicago.
Despite both clubs coming off a match three days ago, and both were missing a few players. Houston was without Geoff Cameron, who sat out with a left hamstring strain, while the Fire were once again without playmaker Sebastien Grazzini.
But the early going was full of energy. Houston coach Dominic Kinnear opted again for a 4-3-3 lineup, marked by speedy wingers Mac Kandji and recently signed Designated Player Boniek Garcia. The Fire, meanwhile, pushed through their own speedster, Dominic Oduro.
But for all the pace, there were precious few chances in the first half. Kandji was alone on the right side of the goal in the 8th minute, but his meek side-footed shot missed the net.
Chicago’s Marco Pappa then test Tally Hall in the 12th minute with left-footed strike from outside that box that Houston’s 6-foot-4 ‘keeper coolly controlled. It was the only shot on target in the first 45.
Just before the break, Will Bruin had Houston’s best chance of the night. Corey Ashe’s driven cross found Bruin in space at the top of the six-yard box. The second-year striker, who has nine goals already on the season, was unable to keep the ball on target and sent his header into the stands.
The second half was played at a much slower pace as the teams seemed low on gas and conserved their energy.
Houston had the advantage, posting eight shots in the second 45 to Chicago’s four. But those shots were never threatening — only one from each side on target — and the only good chance for the Dynamo fell to Brian Ching seconds after he subbed on for Bruin in the 66th minute. The veteran striker redirected a cross from the right side but couldn’t quite get his header on frame.
The Fire saw their latest signing, Alex, make his second appearance in the 55th minute, and the Brazilian playmaker nearly broke the deadlock late in the match. In the 80th minute, he snaked past a few defenders and into the area, but his shot was blocked by Jermaine Taylor, and the score remained knotted at zero.
The Dynamo (6-5-6) next travel north to face Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. The Fire (8-5-4) return home to host the LA Galaxy on the same day.
Houston Dynamo (6-5-6) vs. Chicago Fire (8-5-4)
July 3, 2012 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX - Attendance: 22,039 (sellout)
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Luiz Camargo (Brian Ownby 69), Adam Moffat, Brad Davis; Boniek Garcia, Will Bruin (Brian Ching 65), Macoumba Kandji (Colin Clark 81)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Cam Weaver, Warren Creavalle
Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Austin Berry, Dan Gargan, Gonzalo Segares; Chris Rolfe, Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause, Marco Pappa (Orr Barouch 72); Dominic Oduro (Alex 54), Patrick Nyarko (Hunter Jumper 87)
Substitutes not used: Jay Nolly, Corden Bone, Arne Friedrich, Daniel Paladini
HOU – Corey Ashe (caution) 39
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant referees: Chris Strickland, James Conlee
4th Official: Leszek Stalmach