October 31, 2012
Kathryn L. Knapp
Alex scores late, but Fire fall 2-1
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Fire never got started Wednesday night as Chicago bowed out of the playoffs with a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo. In a must-win match, the club looked strong at times. But the Fire fell short in the club’s final match of 2012.
|Alex's goal was too little, too late for the Fire, whose short MLS playoff visit ended with a knockout loss to Houston on Wednesday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In the 10th minute Jalil Anibaba rocketed a shot wide left for the Fire’s best chance. Less than a minute later Alvaro Fernandez took off running toward goal. He challenged Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall one vs. one. Hall blocked a soft attempt.
But it was the visitors who got on board first. Brad Davis sent a perfectly placed corner into the box. Will Bruin connected and headed the ball in between the post and Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson for a 1-0 advantage in the 12th minute.
In the 18th minute, Pavel Pardo launched a freekick into the box. Defender Arne Fredrich headed it into Hall’s arms. Chicago had another attempt in the 21st minute. Anibaba ran toward goal. He kicked the ball into the box, where a Houston defender headed it out of harm’s way.
A Patrick Nyarko run in the 37th minute was broken up just outside the box, as Houston’s Jermaine Taylor sent him crashing to the ground. Pardo lined up for the freekick. The ball was headed out of the box. Chris Rolfe caught up with it and looped it back into the box. Hall jumped up and grabbed it for the save.
The Dynamo’s Bobby Boswell headed a corner on target in the 42nd minute. It soared just over the net.
Literally seconds into the second half, Houston took control. Boniek Garcia forwarded the ball to Bruin, who easily shot it past Johnson for a 2-0 Dynamo advantage.
Pardo lined up for another freekick in the 59th minute after a foul on Nyarko. Pardo sent it into the box only to have it cleared by Houston’s defense. Rolfe grabbed the rebound and kicked a high ball back into the box. Friedrich settled it and blasted a short attempt right on target. Hall grabbed it for the save.
Calen Carr nearly made it 3-0 in the 68th minute, sneaking behind Fire defenders and shooting the ball wide right. Carr shot again in the 69th minute, sending the ball directly at Johnson.
Sherjill MacDonald rushed toward goal in the 71st minute, dodging two defenders and passing the ball to Dominic Oduro who shot it on target. Tally made the save. Seconds later Anibaba sent the ball toward goal. With tally off his line, Chicago had an open net. But Alex shot the ball into a defender and out.
The Fire attacked relentlessly and it finally paid off late in the second half. Alex broke through for Chicago in the 83rd minute, waking up the almost silent crowd at Toyota Park. He rocketed a shot into the back of the net, cutting the Dynamo’s lead to 2-1.
With four minutes of stoppage time added to the match, the Fire threw all it had toward goal. But Houston squashed every attempt, holding on to the 2-1 advantage and earning the win.