The Houston Dynamo got a late goal from defender Bobby Boswell to earn a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire in front of 12,473 at Toyota Park on Saturday night. Diego Chaves scored early for the Fire, assisted by Marco Pappa.
The result moves the Dynamo, with 9 points at 2-1-3, to 3rd in the East. The Fire, now with 5 points at 1-3-2, fall to 8th in the East just above Sporting Kansas City (the only team the Fire have beaten so far in the regular season).
Player ratings and post-match press conference with coach Carlos de los Cobos after the break.
Jon Conway (6) - Wisely stays put on a ball that Mikulic wanted him to come out for, would have been a footrace and we know Conway doesn't have the speed for that. Good saves. Gets up and punches out a corner but doesn't get far enough and a shot comes right back in glancing wide off the post. Second time he does race out and almost gets beat. Alert and aware late, coming out to meet a breaking defender.
Jalil Anibaba (5) - Defensively did a fair job breaking up tackles and runs. Clears the ball out with space instead of looking up and distributing, terrible clearance right to an orange attacker in the central pitch could have been a disaster. Getting up the wing but leaving huge gaps in defense on his attacks. Subbed out in 76th minute.
Josip Mikulic (5.5) - Good positioning, making great individual tackles. Seemed frustrated with the defensive communication. May have gotten most of the ball on the late "Houston" goal. Showed signs of fatigue late.
Yamith Cuesta (6) - Great save on the line early after Mikulic mistake. Solid overall performance in the center.
Gonzalo Segares (6.5) - Perfectly timed sliding tackle in the box to save a clear goal. Dangerous overlapping runs up the left. Gets nutmegged at the end nearly leading to a second Houston goal.
Patrick Nyarko (5) - Struggling in the first half, passes not connecting, speed didn't seem to be there. Didn't have good touches tonight. Does create a great late chance for Oduro, but alas, he can't finish.
Baggio Husidic (5.5) - Different shape to the side with Husidic playing up further than Videira as AM. Skies a bouncing sitter from the penalty spot. Wasn't really creating much with his passes. The position was right, the creativity and control just wasn't quite there. Subbed off in the 65th minute.
Logan Pause (6.5) - Great defensive patience. Great sliding tackle in the box that saves a dangerous chance for Houston. Defensive responsibilities seemed a little more straightforward without the extra man in the Fire's own half.
Marco Pappa (7)- Made some good runs, taking on multiple defenders, drawing fouls. Created the Fire goal and earned an assist.
Dominic Oduro (6) - Did well holding the ball up waiting for help, decent footwork. Missed a one-on-one shot off the crossbar that he really should have finished. Just pass it into the open net kid. We're starting to see some of the Oduro that Houston lost patience with. Subbed off in the 83rd.
Diego Chaves (7.5) - Missing his touch early. Miscommunication with Husidic and Oduro up top on a breakaway. Eventually his positioning and awareness earn him goal number 4. Fantastic job coming back and helping defensively. Continued his incredible work rate despite cramps and late fitness issues.
Michael Videira (4) - Comes in for Husidic in the 65th minute to preserve the 1 goal lead and regain control of the midfield. Gets beat in the middle to set up a chance for Houston. The FIre momentum collapsed about the time Videira came in. It was all Houston from then on out.
Dasan Robinson (5) - Came on for Anibaba in the 76th. He made some throw-ins and stalled a bit, but not much else from his 25 minutes.
Gaston Puerari (N/A) - Came on for Oduro in the 83rd. Not really enough time on the pitch to do his thing. Should probably have come on earlier.
Carlos de los Cobos (5) - Props for sticking with Conway, trying Husidic, and starting Oduro against his old club after his recent goal. With Gibbs hurt Cuesta was the logical choice. With the lead Videira seemed like a good defensive move but the old habits returned with him. Robinson was a questionable sub, but Anibaba has been struggling as of late.
Man of the Match - Diego Chaves
Flop of the Match - Jalil Anibaba
Coach Carlos de los Cobos after the match:
Houston is a strong team, have a very good start to the season. We knew that they take advantage of dead balls, set pieces. We worked on this in our training but we are reliving some situations in each game.
Today we had a very good start to the game, the team was aggressive to attack, we created some approach, but in the last minutes of the first half we lost the ball, we lost control of the game.
You saw, we had a very good chance to score the second goal and this situation changed the end of the game.
Because we knew very good that the style to play of this team is very direct way to play - long balls all the time, long throw ins, this is their style. I respect too much this style to play. They put pressure over us about these kind of balls.
We tried to solve the problems, we generally have a good work in the box, on the throw ins and corner kicks, but one of these chances they take advantage and they score.
It is a difficult situation for us because the players were making a very big effort in the game.
We tried to keep the ball better in the second half with Mike Videira, and my idea was strengthen the midfield because they have control of the ball in the second half.
Its a shame because we could win this match if we have efficiency in the last part of the field with this clear chance but this is soccer.
We need to keep working, we have some young guys like Jalil, he has good qualities but he needs to learn, it's normal that he'll make mistakes because he's young.
Then at the end of the game with the last part of the second half we don't play good.
On Baggio Husidic & Dominic Oduro
Dominic is a very fast player and that situation was good for us because in the 1st and even in the 2nd half his speed always created problems for the back line of Houston.
My intention with Baggio was, Baggio is a player with more futbol like Mike Videira, he's not so strong but my intention was to put some player beside Logan to keep the ball, to move the ball up and to make the other guys play. I think Baggio tried but in some moments of the game he disappeared and for that reason I take off Baggio.
Jalil was tired, he worked very hard because they try to always attack from that side, my intention was to strengthen the back line with Dasan, a more experienced player. He's strong, he make good work.
The long balls, always they try to put the ball into the box, even with the throw in. The guys tried to defend I think they generally make good work but the probability is, with the number of corners ... they take advantage.
On Yamith Cuesta
He's very young, 21 I think, he has great potential, but he's very strong. Need to work with him on his positioning, he had difficult players to mark but he played well. I am satisfied with his play and control on the ball. Tough to come in and replace Gibbs but I am satisfied with his play. He won a lot of balls in the air, didn't make mistakes, did a good job.