The Houston Dynamo rallied from a 2-1 halftime deficit to earn their first road victory of the season, topping the Chicago Fire 3-2 Sunday afternoon in a nationally-televised match at Toyota Park.
Forward Alberth Elis spurred the Dynamo to victory with two second-half goals, including the game-winner on a breakaway in the 74th minute. With the score knotted at 2-2, the lightning fast Honduran international raced past Chicago’s defense to get on the end of a through pass from midfielder Boniek García before calmly slipping a right-footed shot past Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sánchez.
Elis had leveled the match 18 minutes earlier from the penalty spot, getting Sánchez to guess the wrong way and then passing the ball into the right side of the goal. Forward Mauro Manotas chased down a pass from forward Romell Quioto inside the box, but was cut down by Sánchez, leaving referee Silviu Petrescu an easy decision to award the Dynamo a penalty kick.
The Dynamo seized control of the game from the outset, thanks to a goal from Quioto in the fourth minute. Midfielder Tomás Martínez sent a through ball to Quioto down the left flank, where El Romantico picked up the ball and drove into the Chicago penalty area before placing his right-footed shot in the bottom left corner.
The lead proved to be short-lived, though, thanks to a pair of Chicago goals. First in the 14th minute, forward Nemanja Nikolićreceived a cross in the middle of the box from Aleksandar Katai and poked his right-footed effort past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis to equalize. Two minutes later, the Houston defense cleared a Chicago corner, but the Fire recirculated the ball and worked it toNikolić at the top of the area, where he played a nifty backheeled pass to forward Diego Campos, whose first-touch shot put the home team ahead.
The Dynamo had two close opportunities in the 24th minute. First, Manotas took a right-footed shot at the top of the area that was deflected by a Chicago defender and trickled just wide of the right post. On the ensuing corner kick, García delivered a cross to the middle of the box finding defender Alejandro Fuenmayor. The Venezuelan headed the ball on target, but Sanchez got a hand to it and deflected it off the crossbar.
Elis nearly had the game-winner in the 66t minute, but the post denied that opportunity. Martínez and Elis worked a give-and-go play that left Elis alone in the final third. Elis dribbled the ball into the box and fired a right-footed shot that beat Sánchez but hit the framework.
The Houston Dynamo will be back to BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday, May 25 when they face the New York City FC at 7:55 p.m. CDT in their second consecutive nationally-televised contest. Tickets for that match start at $24 and are available online at HoustonDynamo.com, by phone at 713-276-GOAL and at the BBVA Compass Stadium box office.
Chicago Fire (3-6-2; 11 pts.) 2-3 Houston Dynamo (4-3-3; 15 pts.)
MLS Regular Season Week 12
May 20, 2018 – Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Illinois
HOU: Romell Quioto 3 (Tomás Martínez 4) 4
CHI: Nemanja Nikolić 6 (Aleksandar Katai 1, Brandon Vincent 3) 14
CHI: Diego Campos 1 (Nemanja Nikolić 1, Kevin Ellis 2) 16
HOU: Alberth Elis 5 (penalty kick) 56
HOU: Alberth Elis 6 (Boniek García 3) 74
Chicago Fire: Richard Sanchez; Brandon Vincent, Grant Lillard, Johan Kappelhof, Kevin Ellis (Rafael Ramos 87); Tony Tchani, Bastian Schweinsteiger ©, Mohammed Adams (Alan Gordon 73); Aleksandar Katai (Daniel Johnson 60), Nemanja Nikolić, Diego Campos
Unused subs: Patrick McLain, Brandt Bronico, Jonathan Campbell, Jorge Corrales
Total shots: 6 (Nemanja Nikolić 3); Shots on goal: 3 (Diego Campos, Alan Gordon, Nemanja Nikolić 1); Fouls: 10 (Mohammed Adams 3); Offside: 2 (Aleksandar Katai 2); Corner kicks: 3 (Diego Campos 3); Saves: 2 (Richard Sánchez 2)
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; Andrew Wenger, Adolfo Machado, Alejandro Fuenmayor, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Eric Alexander, Tomás Martínez (Arturo Alvarez 88), Boniek García; Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas (Leonardo 78), Romell Quioto (Luis Gil 85)
Unused subs: Chris Seitz, Eric Bird, Adam Lundkvist, Memo Rodriguez
Total shots: 13 (Alberth Elis 4); Shots on goal: 5 (Alberth Elis 2); Fouls: 11 (Boniek García 3); Offside: 1 (Alberth Elis 1); Corner kicks: 10 (Boniek García 7); Saves: 1 (Joe Willis 1)
CHI: Mohammed Adam (caution; foul) 38
HOU: Boniek García (caution; foul) 67
HOU: Romell Quioto (caution; other) 78
HOU: Alberth Elis (caution; time wasting) 79
CHI: Richard Sánchez (caution; foul) 83
CHI: Rafael Ramos (caution; foul) 90+1
HOU: Joe Willis (caution; time wasting) 90+5
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referee 1: Peter Balciunas
Assistant Referee 2: CJ Morgante
Fourth Official: Alejandro Mariscal
VAR: Alex Chilowicz