The Houston Dynamo and the Chicago Fire battled to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium before a nationally televised audience. The 1-1 draw was a less desirable result than the Dynamo expected.
Back at full strength for one of the few times this season, the Dynamo weathered a storm of early energy from the Fire before losing midfielder Andrew Driver to an Achilles injury in the 11th minute of play.
Seven minutes later the Dynamo appeared to have taken the lead when defender Corey Ashe delivered a ball into the box that fellow defender Bobby Boswell headed into the back of the net. Moments later referee Ricardo Salazar disallowed the goal as sideline referee Cody Parker raised his flag signaling offsides on Boswell. The game quickly began to disintegrate from there for the remainder of the opening half.
Chicago became more flagrantly aggressive in their chippiness following the disallowed goal without apparent consequence. First it midfielder Ricardo Clark was taken down in the box and in the latter quarter of the half, forward Giles Barnes was taken down hard just outside the box with barely a whistle from Salazar for infractions in between.
The Dynamo came out of the second half locker room ratcheting up the offensive pressure and in the 61st minute, Houston broke through against the Fire’s defense. Midfielder Oscar Boniek-Garcia gathered in a loose ball on the near sideline at midfield and after some nifty footwork sent a crisp pass to Adam Moffat. Mofffat turned aired a cross field pass to Ashe streaking down the far side. Ashe dropped the ball inside to Brad Davis who had replaced Driver and Davis did the rest drawing the defender to him and hitting a charging Cam Weaver who tapped home his first goal of the season for a 1-0 Dynamo lead.
Just when it appeared the Dynamo had extinguished Chicago’s fire, a rare defensive lapse one minute later by the Houston defense left the MLS’ hottest goalscorer, Mike Magee, alone in front of the Houston net. Magee slipped a pass from Patrick Nydarko home for the game tying goal. Magee netted his seventh goal in nine games since joining the Fire on May 29, 2013.
“Well it was a frustrating night,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear in the post game press conference. “Scored a great goal, then gave up a softie, then we had some chances to back ahead and it didn’t happen so while looking at three we get one,” Kinnear continued. I can’t fault the guys effort.”
Chicago (7-9-4) came into the game riding a wave of emotion with a 4-1 win DC United and having been unbeaten in seven of their last eight matches picked up a point to stay within striking distance of the playoffs.
The Dynamo (8-6-6) missed an opportunity to gain ground on conference leading Sporting KC who dropped a 1-0 decision to Montreal. Instead Houston lost ground as Philadelphia, New York and New England all posted victories. New England moved into a virtual tie with the Dynamo although Houston owns the tiebreaker.
Houston hosts the Columbus Crew on Saturday August 3, 2013 following the MLS ALl-Star break.