Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire
Friday, July 3, 8:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

BROADCAST INFORMATION
Univision Deportes Network - 8:00 p.m. CHANNEL LISTINGS | WATCH IN ENGLISH
Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 AM / 101.7 FM - 8:00 p.m. (7:30 p.m. pregame)

PREVIEW
A pair of clubs looking to begin their moves up their respective conference tables meet on Viernes de Fútbol when the Houston Dynamo play host to the Chicago Fire on Friday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo have lost back-to-back league games, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference, following their 2-0 loss at FC Dallas last week, while the Fire are in last place in the East following a fourth consecutive defeat last time out in a 1-0 home loss to D.C. United. But both teams did advance to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals with victories at midweek.

REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Andrew Bigelow; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 41 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 7; pens: 15

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY HOUSTON METHODIST (as of Wednesday, July 1)

HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: Rob Lovejoy – Right hamstring strain; PROBABALE: Brad Davis – Right knee bone bruise

CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: Shaun Maloney – Lumbar spine; QUESTIONABLE: David Accam – Left hamstring strain; Jeff Larentowicz – Right groin tightness

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Dynamo 8 wins, 29 goals … Fire 5 wins, 24 goals … Ties 7
  • AT HOUSTON (10 meetings): Dynamo 5 wins, 15 goals … Fire 2 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Fire have never won at BBVA Compass Stadium. In four meetings there all-time, the Dynamo have won two, with two draws. Chicago hasn’t won in Houston since the 2007 season – after the Fire won on their first two visits there ever, the Dynamo have won five meetings since, with three draws.
  • The Dynamo haven’t won at Toyota Park since the 2009 season. The Fire have won three of the last six meetings in Bridgeview, with three draws, including a 2-1 win there in their last meeting last Oct. 24.
  • Coaches record: Owen Coyle vs. CHI: first game … Frank Yallop vs. HOU: P19 W7 L9 D3

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo lost their second consecutive match and had their road winless streak extended, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas on Friday evening at Toyota Stadium. The Dynamo are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 20 points from 17 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's opening goal came in the 33rd minute. Fabian Castillo turned the corner on the left and tried to drive a low, centering pass toward the far post. The ball went directly to the feet of Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor, but instead ricocheted off his leg and back into the left corner of the goal.
  • The lead was doubled just before halftime. After winning the ball on the left sideline, Castillo found Mauro Diaz on top of the penalty box, who in turn flicked it right back to the cutting Castillo inside the penalty area. This time Castillo fired to the left of goalkeeper Tyler Deric and into the back of the net.
  • Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle made three changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Jermaine Taylor came into the back four in place of Kofi Sarkodie, and Rob Lovejoy and Giles Barnes started in midfield in place of Leonel Miranda and Nathan Sturgis.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-1-1): Tyler Deric - Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor, DaMarcus Beasley - Alexander Lopez (Alex 84), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Rob Lovejoy (Brad Davis 29) - Giles Barnes - Will Bruin (Mauro Manotas 80).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo have lost back-to-back games for the second time this season, the first on May 1-5 when they lost to FC Dallas and San Jose. The Dynamo have not lost three games in a row this season.
  • “We're certainly disappointed with the two goals we lost,” Houston head coach Owen Coyle said. “The own goal we think is avoidable, and we certainly believe that Castillo is one of the best players in the league, there's no doubt about that, and an obvious threat. …. When all is said and done, Dallas had two goals and I think that's a fair assessment of the game.”
  • The Dynamo have also been shut out in back-to-back games for a second time this season, the first coming March 28 vs. Colorado (0-0) and April 5 vs. Seattle (0-1).
  • “Quite disappointed. We didn't start the game off on the front foot. I think we're a much better team in possession and we didn't show that in the first half [against FCD],” said Brad Davis. “In the second half I thought we possessed the ball and created some opportunities and some chances and kind of putting them on their back foot a little bit, but it's got to be like that from the start of games.”
  • Jermaine Taylor and Giles Barnes both returned to the lineup after missing just one game while with Jamaica for the Copa America.
  • Rob Lovejoy made his second start of the season, his first since March 28, coming into a wide midfield role. But his stint lasted just 29 minutes before he was forced off the field with a hamstring injury.
  • After missing the Portland match with a knee bruise, Davis came off the bench for the final hour in place of Lovejoy. But Davis withdrew from his selection to the U.S. team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup through injury following the match.
  • Alex made his second consecutive appearance off the substitutes’ bench in league play, coming on for the final six minutes. Alex did start the U.S. Open Cup match vs. Austin Aztex of the USL as well.
  • “We had a game plan coming in, and we didn't execute it the way we wanted to, and Dallas took advantage of that and got a couple of bounces that went their way,” said defender David Horst. “The first goal went in on a bounce and that's the way the game is sometimes. Bounces go in or they don't go your way, but there's no excuses. We didn't play well in the first half, but we really showed our true colors in the second half and played a lot better.”
  • On Tuesday, the Dynamo reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids in a rain-delayed match at BBVA Compass Stadium. The game’s lone goal was scored by Mauro Manotas in the 43rd minute.
  • Here’s the Dynamo team: Joe Willis; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst (Taylor Hunter 77), AJ Cochran, Corey Ashe; Leonel Miranda, Nathan Sturgis, Zach Steinberger, Alex Lima (Alexander Lopez 79); Chandler Hoffman, Mauro Manotas (Ricardo Clark 77)