The Houston Dynamo dominated possession but were unable to convert possession into points as they dropped a 1-0 result to the Chicago Fire this evening at BBVA Stadium.
Chicago took the lead just seconds before referee Ramy Touchan blew for halftime. Midfielder Nicolas Gaitan’s cross following a short corner kick took a bounce inside the box and forward Nemanja Nikolic redirected the ball over the shoulder of Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric for the only goal of the game.
The night got off to a slow start, as both teams waited out a 29-minute weather delay due to lightning in the vicinity of BBVA Stadium, but once the match kicked off, the Dynamo nearly scored straight away. Forward Mauro Manotas got free down the right flank inside of two minutes and rifled in a low cross, but winger Memo Rodriguez’s lunging effort to get on the end of it came up just inches short.
After that initial scoring chance, Chicago controlled the tempo in the first 15 minutes and almost capitalized when C.J. Sapong found Nikolic behind the Dynamo backline in the 13th minute. The forward found the back of the net after he chipped the ball over Deric, but the forward was ruled offside.
Fire forward Aleksandar Katai found space inside the box three minutes later, but his effort was off target at the near post.
Manotas forced a save in the 22nd minute when he dribbled into the heart of the box and got free for a low right-footed shot, but his effort was handled at the bottom corner of the far post by Chicago goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm.
Houston’s first counterattack of the night forced a save in the 26th minute after Rodriguez dribbled past two defenders to find Manotas at the top of the box. The Colombian forward laid the ball off to midfielder Tomás Martínez, who created space for a shot but his effort was saved by Kronholm.
Chicago nearly doubled their lead in the 60th minute off a free kick that set off a frenzy inside the six-yard box. The initial ball caromed off the near post and bounced across the face of goal before hitting the far post as Dynamo defenders and Fire attackers fought desperately to get a toe on it. Eventually a Chicago player put a solid foot to it, but captain DaMarcus Beasley was in the right place to block the ball out of danger. The rebound fell to Bastian Schweinsteiger at the edge of the penalty area, but his volley went wide of the goal.
Houston threw numbers forward over the final half-hour in search of an equalizer, and came closest to finding the net in stoppage time when forward Romell Quioto rampaged through the Fire defense before cracking a shot from the top of the area. The initial shot was deflected and fell at Quioto’s feet, and his second shot was blocked out for a corner kick. The ensuing corner was cleared, ending the threat.
Houston will now travel to the East Coast next week for a two-game road trip, beginning in the Big Apple. Houston will face New York City FC at 6 p.m. CDT on Thursday, Aug. 8 at Yankee Stadium before taking the train down to Philadelphia to face off with the Union on Sunday, Aug. 11 at 5 p.m. CDT. The Dynamo return to BBVA Stadium on Aug. 17 to host the Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. CDT.