Despite a largely even match at BBVA Compass Stadium, the final whistle reflected a result of opposites: The Houston Dynamo broke the MLS record for the longest unbeaten streak at home, while the Chicago Fire were on the losing end for the fourth time in six matches this season.
Houston's winner was scored by winger Brad Davis in the 81st minute following a set piece. Davis, who started the dead ball situation by passing to Kofi Sarkodie, found himself in acres of space about 30 yards outside of the Fire box. Davis got off a left-footed cross before Joel Lindpere could close him down, and the 31-year-old's cross went untouched before bouncing into Sean Johnson's goal.
Davis also assisted the opening goal of the match in the 26th minute when he made quick work of Wells Thompson before crossing in to Will Bruin. Bruin, who scored a brace against the Fire in the playoffs last season, exploited the space between centerbacks Austin Berry and Jalil Anibaba to give himself a free header 6 yards from goal.
The Fire wouldn't waste any time in finding an equalizer, however, thanks to Chris Rolfe. A Fire throw-in in the 29th minute made its way to Daniel Paladini, who took a soft touch into the path of Rolfe. Rolfe wasted no time in pouncing on the ball, and half volleyed it into the top corner as Tally Hall stood rooted to the spot.
The goal seemed a significant one for the Fire: In addition to it being the equalizer, it ended Rolfe's 10-match goalless drought (951 minutes) that stretched back to last season.
Chances for the Men in Red to find the winner were few and far between in the second half barring two particular moments.
The Fire nearly took the lead in the 70th minute. Second half substitute Patrick Nyarko worked the ball to the byline before playing a low cross to fellow sub Maicon Santos. Santos, however, took an awkward touch, which forced the ball wide of the far post. Rolfe came streaking in, but his effort was blocked out by Jermaine Taylor.
A second equalizer nearly came in the 84th minute through Jeff Larentowicz. Larentowicz - or "Big Red" as the UniMás commentators called him - met Lindpere's corner 8 yards from goal, but his header bounced off the crossbar.
Things seemed to be on the up for the Fire after last week's win over New York, however the loss drops the club down to a disappointing 1-4-1 record on the season with a league-worst -7 goal differential. Meanwhile, Houston sits second in the Eastern Conference with a 4-2-0 record.
The win for the Dynamo was their 35th-straight unbeaten match at home - breaking the previous MLS record set by Real Salt Lake with 34.
Next up for the Fire is a return home to Toyota Park when the team takes on rivals Columbus Crew on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Dominic Oduro, who was traded the Crew in exchange for Dilly Duka in the offseason.
Despite scoring a brace last weekend vs New York, Maicon Santos once again started on the bench. He replaced Sherjill MacDonald in the 60th minute.
Daniel Paladini, however, made a positive contribution for the second-straight week by assisting Chris Rolfe's equalizer.
Sean Johnson was forced to make three saves, including an excellent low stop on Andrew Driver in the 63rd minute.
Nyarko, Duka, Gonzalo Segares and Michael Videira were all available for selection for head coach Frank Klopas after overcoming injuries. Segares replaced Hunter Jumper at leftback, which was the only change from the side that beat New York.