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Chicago Fire 2, Houston Dynamo 3: First Thoughts

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Fire 2 Nikolic 14’, Campos 16’

Houston Dynamo 3 Quioto 4’, Elis 56’ (PK) 74’

  • Lineups are here!
  • Pregame thought 1: So we’re going with a 4-3-3, Katai/Niko/Campos as our forward line. Tchani gets his first start in a while. (Please be better today.) Unchanged backline. Probably the best we can do.
  • Pregame thought 2: Meanwhile, DaMarcus Beasley wearing the armband for Houston. On Fire Throwback Day too. That hurts. (I miss you DMB.)
  • Let’s goooooooooooooooooooooooo
  • 2’ Some early defensive frailty for the Fire, featuring an early scoring chance for Houston within the first minute. Settle down guys.
  • 4’ GOAL Oh for crying out loud. Quioto played through and goes one on one with Sanchez. Ellis isn’t fast enough to catch him and Sanchez can’t stop the shot. CHI 0-1 HOU
  • 8’ TV commentators saying that Pauno hasn’t found the best version of this team yet. Yes, we’re fully aware.
  • 11’ I think we’ll be ok but right now we look awful.
  • 20’ And they’re pushing for more! God, when this team is good, it’s really good.
  • 25’ Right as I say that, Manotas is given plenty of space to get a shot off. Houston gets a corner for their troubles and Sanchez has to make an incredible clutch save to keep the Fire in front.
  • 27’ I love Katai’s footwork and movement. His tendancy to get muscled off the ball? Notsomuch.
  • 31’ Game’s settled down a bit. The Fire are content to not make any stupid mistakes right now, which is just fine when you’re winning.
  • 33’ lol Alberth Elis tries a leaping salmon header from near the penalty spot and sends it into the Harlem End.
  • 36’ Kevin Ellis tried to run down a loose ball, got beat by Beasley, and gave Houston another chance. That’s... it’s not great.
  • 37’ I mean look, I like Kevin Ellis and I’m not trying to rag on him. But dude’s too slow and we’re asking too much of him.
  • 38’ Adams picks up a yellow card.
  • 41’ Houston with a bit of momentum as they push the Fire into their own defensive half.
  • 44’ Again, not ragging on Ellis, but Houston are focusing on their left flank because they know that side is weaker.
  • 45’ One minute of stoppage time.
  • Halftime! CHI 2-1 HOU
  • Halftime thought 1: Alright, not bad. The defense is a bit of an issue but I think this team can hang on. Another goal wouldn’t hurt though.
  • Halftime thought 2: If I were in charge of that stuff I’d sub in Ramos for Ellis for the start of the second half. I suspect Pauno won’t make that change until pretty late in the half. 70’, maybe. If he does that at all.
  • Second half is underway!
  • 49’ Fire concede several corners in quick succession but survive the storm.
  • 52’ Ellis goes down and receives medical attention on the field. (Looks like it might’ve been a no-contact injury but I didn’t get a good look at what happened.) Apparently he’s going to stay in the game for now.
  • 53’ Ok now I see what happened, he turned on his leg while it was planted straight as he followed the ball. Accidental tweak. Looked a bit painful but dude wants to keep going. Respect.
  • 55’ Oh FFS. Houston awarded a penalty. Sanchez comes off his line to close down Manotas, doesn’t get the ball but does get Manotas. Alberth Elis steps up to take it.
  • 56’ GOAL Yup. CHI 2-2 HOU
  • 60’ Daniel Johnson comes in for Katai. I can’t make out how the team shape has changed.
  • 63’ Fuck, I hate how quickly the Fire can turn a winnable game into a loseable game.
  • 66’ Elis allowed to waltz into the box unchallenged and puts a show past Sanchez from close range. The ball hits the post and pings back out. Any half-decent team would be leading over us right now. JFC.
  • 74’ GOAL Oh hey, cool, there goes the game. Elis for his sixth goal of the season. CHI 2-3 HOU
  • 75’ If you keep letting your opposition attackers get in behind your defenders and go one-on-one in the box, it’s only a matter of time before someone finishes their chance. This should be obvious. And yet.
  • 78’ Quioto goes down in the box during a Fire corner kick, no foul call, him and Elis get into a scuffle with Fire players a minute or so after the incident and argue with the refs. Quioto and Elis get yellow cards.
  • 83’ Sanchez signals that he’s hurt after a challenge, play is stopped, Sanchez requires medical attention, but the ref makes sure to show him a yellow card before allowing the physio team onto the pitch. I mean hey, priorities.
  • 87’ Oh hey, Pauno finally makes that Ramos-Ellis swap! With... three minutes left in the game.
  • 88’ What’s good, Arturo Alvarez.
  • 90’ Six minutes of stoppage time. I’d be delighted if I thought there was any chance the Fire could actually make something happen.
  • 91’ I... I think Daniel Johnson is playing fullback? Is that right? Or does team shape just not matter anymore?
  • 96’ Nikolic heads it from close range but it’s saved.
  • Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Final Score: CHI 2-3 HOU
  • Final Whistle Thought: I’m tired.

Stay tuned for more postgame coverage and a full recap here on Hot Time In Old Town. In the meantime, join the conversation in the comments or on social media.