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A Bucket of Crabs: Houston 1, Fire 1, recap

Midseason strugglers fall further off playoff pace with a flat, incoherent draw

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

We live in this fallen world, this least of the available possibilities, and there are times where the realization of this universe's shabbiness just washes over one, a sqiuillip of dirty rainwater poured from a second-story boot. Watching our Chicago Fire play the Houston Dynamo in BBVA Compass Stadium* was a fantastic example.

Sure, it ended a 1-1 draw. Absolutely, a road point should be held to one's chest and treasured for its own loveliness. And, hey - we've leapfrogged Colorado in the overall table! (It's thanks to their game in hand.) But ... but ... shouldn't it feel better to type the words "a game-tying goal for Patrick Nyarko"? And shouldn't Alex's back-post tap-in rankle more? This was league football on Xanax, its affect flattened beyond recognition, each taking turns to pull the other's aspirations down; so much easier to destroy than create, a proverbial bucket of crabs, indeterminate except for their insistence that anyone seeking the higher borders be laid low.

There will be other, better days for both squads. Fire manager Frank Yallop fidgeted and yelled with unusual frequency, communicating an existential urgency that did nothing for the quality of the team's play. Houston, for its part, squandered the lingering of Giles Barnes and Jermaine Taylor, both ticketed for the Jamaica national team but still somehow included.

Chicago apparently jumped out to a quick lead when Razvan Cocis sharply headed a Harry Shipp corner kick just under the crossbar in the third minute. The ball bounded sharply down and was ruled to have not fully crossed the line; the hosts escaped a shock deficit on the call.

Even fallen worlds have their narrative requirements, and of course ours imagines that former players are always aching to score against their former teammates. So it came as little surprise in the 56th minute when Brad Davis (who SHOULD BE WITH THE GOLD CUP TEAM) sliced a ball across the face of goal, and it eluded everyone before squirting onto Alex, just bundling in on the back post, his ground-bound plodding finding its perfect expression in a thoroughly unlovely revenge goal.

Nyarko slid in there like someone swiping the needle across the turntable - skeeerooooooooooot! He'd come close before off a corner, banging a header off the crossbar. Any doubts about the Ghanaian's durability were answered in his sold-out attempt to connect with Greg Cochrane's cross in the 72nd; colliding with the massive Houston keeper, Nyarko was first to his feet, lashing home the spilled ball to tie the game and, eventually, split the points.