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Match Preview: Houston Dynamo at Chicago Fire

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo at Chicago Fire
Saturday, May 21, 2016, 4:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

BROADCAST INFORMATION
ROOT SPORTS - 3:30 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)
650 AM / Radio.com app - 3:30 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM - 3:30 p.m.

PREVIEW
Two clubs looking to haul themselves out of the cellar of their respective conferences meet with the Chicago Fire play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire return home after dropping all three matches on their road swing, suffering a second shutout in a row in a 1-0 reversal at the New York Red Bulls at midweek. The Dynamo hit the road after winning for a second consecutive home game, their second win in the last three outings, in a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake last Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Cameron Blanchard; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
MLS Career: 75 games; FC/gm: 23.6; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 17; pens: 30

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY HOUSTON METHODIST (as of May 19)

HOUSTON DYNAMO—PROBABLE: Raúl Rodríguez – right quadriceps strain;

CHICAGO FIRE—OUT: John Goosens – knee sprain; Michael Harrington – right adductor strain; QUESTIONABLE: Arturo Alvarez – left hip flexor pain; Collin Fernandez – ankle sprain; SUSPENDED: David Accam (disciplinary committee)

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Fire 5 wins, 25 goals … Dynamo 8 wins, 30 goals … Ties 8
  • AT CHICAGO (10 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 13 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 14 goals … Ties 4
  • LAST YEAR (MLS): 7/3: HOU 1, CHI 1 (Alex 56 – Nyarko 72)
  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season
  • 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 Oct. 24, 2014 in the Dynamo’s last visit.
  • The Fire have never won at BBVA Compass Stadium. In five meetings there all-time, the Dynamo have won two, with three draws, including a 1-1 result last July 3 in the only meeting between the teams. 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.
  • Coaches record: Veljko Paunovic vs. HOU: first game … Owen Coyle vs. CHI: P1 W0 L0 T1

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo won for a second time in three matches, defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 in a weather-delayed match on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in 10th place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 11 games.

LAST GAME

  • The game, postponed to Sunday afternoon due to inclement weather the day before, finally had its breakthrough in the 65th minute. A punt from Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis downfield bounced through a group of players, with Giles Barnes running onto the ball before taking it down and slotting it past RSL 'keeper Jeff Attinella.
  • Willis was credited with two saves in keeping the clean sheet for Houston.
  • Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle made four changes to the team that fell 3-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium. Joe Willis came back in between the posts for the suspended Tyler Deric, Sheanon Williams and DaMarcus Beasley started in the back four for Jalil Anibaba and Abdoulie Mansally, and Erick Torres came in up top in place of Will Bruin.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis - Sheanon Williams, David Horst, Agus, DaMarcus Beasley - Alex, Ricardo Clark - Andrew Wenger (Leonel Miranda 67), Cristian Maidana, Giles Barnes (Will Bruin 90) - Erick Torres (Boniek Garcia 77).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo recorded their second win in their last three games, their second victory overall since March 19. It was also a second consecutive win at BBVA Compass Stadium; all three of the Dynamo’s victories have come at home.
  • “I thought it was a whole performance. We’ve played well for 60, 65, 70 minutes in games, but today there was start-to-finish focus,” said Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle. “What we said at halftime was that it was the final pass where we had to get better because we were in some terrific situations in the first half but never utilized that final pass. We did in the second half and we had the opportunity to score four or five goals, we had some very good chances.”
  • Giles Barnes scored his fourth goal of the season, his second in the last three matches. Barnes was starting a third consecutive match in a wide left midfield role. The Dynamo limited Real to just seven total attempts at goal and no shots on target, the seventh time in the club’s history they haven’t allowed a single shot on goal for a match, the first since April 19, 2014 vs. Philadelphia.
  • “It’s great to get a shutout, but we want to make sure and get a shutout without giving up goal-scoring chances. That cross was dangerous there at the end, and that’s important, when you get your second chance hit on goal, then take that chance. Be clinical, be ruthless, and stand up at the other end. We did that for the most part today,” said Coyle.
  • Said defender David Horst: “It gives us confidence going forward which I think is something we’ve been lacking at the end of games, between the game against Kansas City last week and the game tonight, I think it’s giving us confidence going forward and we’re moving in the right direction, getting points and finishing out games."
  • Joe Willis came back in between the posts for the first time since April 30, when he also returned to goal following Tyler Deric’s first suspension of the season. Deric is the only player to have been sent off twice in MLS this season.
  • Erick Torres made his second start in the last three matches, his only two starts of the season, again reprising the out-and-out striker role and playing 77 minutes.
  • “The only thing that didn’t happen for Erick today was scoring a goal. I thought he worked hard and he had a wonderful header in the first half that just cleared the crossbar,” said Coyle. “The more he gets minutes, the more those goals will come for him. We were delighted with how it (the goal) transpired and I think you’ve seen the gradual improvement when he gets minutes.”
  • Sheanon Williams returned to the starting lineup after a two-game absence, making his third start of the season, playing the full 90 minutes at right back.
  • DaMarcus Beasley returned to the lineup after missing his only game of the season, coming in at left back and again playing the full 90 minutes.