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The Block is Hot: Houston Dynamo vs Chicago Fire MLS Week 16 Preview

Houston Dynamo v Chicago Fire FC Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When I think about the match against Houston on Saturday, I can’t help but think about the Fire hydrant scene in Do the Right Thing. It’s going to feel that way in Houston on Saturday. Temperatures at kickoff are going to be in the 90s, and both the Fire and Dynamo are going to need that level of cooling to safely make it through the game.

It’s also an interesting piece of visual storytelling. It takes place right in the middle of the massive heatwave, both temperature and otherwise. With the state of the world and current events, things are more than likely going to continue to get hot, and the role sports, and places that write about sports will continue to play is the part of the fire hydrant.

Even when the block is hottest, everyone needs to cool off, reset, and get back out there.

Chicago Fire all-time MLS record vs Houston Dynamo: 8W-8D-10L, 33 GF / 36 GA, 32 pts out of 78

Chicago Fire away MLS record vs Houston Dynamo: 3W-4D-6L, 13 GF / 16 GA, 13 pts out of 33

Previously on…

Houston is another one of these teams that have had a long run of bad results. In their last 10 league games, they’ve won only two and drawn once. Their most recent win was May 22nd against the Galaxy, but they’ve lost their last two games, including their first game back from the break to Orlando City.

Suggested Lineup

All of a sudden, things have gotten a little bit White Sox for the Fire on the player front. Mauricio Pineda joined Miguel Navarro on the Health & Saftey list. Wyatt Omsberg is having surgery on his foot today, so he will be out for a long period of time. Jairo Torres has moved from “questionable” in last week’s availability report to “out” this week. Carlos Teran is even listed as questionable. So If he can’t go, I have no idea what to do about the second center-back.

The good news is that Xherdan Shaqiri is available for selection; back from his injury with the national team. However, because of a combination of Gutierez playing well last week and wanting to ease him back into the team, I don’t expect him to start or go longer than 20 minutes as a second-half substitute. Look for him to come in somewhere around the 75th minute unless the game has been decided, one way or the other.

Keys To The Match

Let the Ball Do the Work: The biggest advantage the Dynamo have coming into the match is that they're from Houston. They’re used to playing in the hot muggy conditions the town is known for. How the Fire deal with this adversity is going to largely inform their level of success on Saturday.. The easiest way to do that is to lean into it. The Fire need to control possession with passing it from side to side. Make Houston run around and chase the game, waste their energy, and get a late goal when they're dead tired.

Essentially, the Fire needs to turn this game into a giant borefest before snatching the win late.

Finish Chances: That being said, if Houston are going to offer you opportunities to take shots on goal, don’t turn them down. It’s no secret that the Fire struggles to put away chances. By whatever means they have, at some point, they have to put the ball in the back of the net on a more consistent basis. Przybylko needs to be better with balls off his head. Guti needs to finish his 1v1’s, and Mueller and Gimenez need to be more accurate from distance. As a whole, It’s high time this team figures out how to score goals. And they have to do it quick.

How To Watch

Time and Date:

Television: UniMas/TUDN

Streaming: Twitter

Final Thoughts

This is another game where the Fire on paper are the better team, even with all the injuries. However a multitude of factors, including temperatures at kick-off of 94 degrees. the game is going to turn into a sloppy toss-up. The team that scores first will probably win.