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Chicago Fire


April 23, 2011
Fire unhappy with Saturday draw

Diego Chaves scores for the Fire against Houston.
Diego Chaves scores for the Fire against Houston.
photo by Brian D. Kersey/courtesy Chicago Fire
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill.—The Chicago Fire may have broken their three game losing streak, but to some in the Toyota Park locker room it didn’t feel that way after giving up a late goal in a 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo.

“I don’t feel like we broke the losing streak – we lost two points,” said Fire forward Diego Chaves, who scored Chicago’s goal. “This feels like a loss against a team that didn’t want to play. We were responsible for them tying the game.

“It was very frustrating giving up the late goal. We worked 83 minutes and to give up a goal feels like a loss,” said Chaves.

The Fire, decked out in green-and-white uniforms for Earth Day, got off to a quick start thanks in large part to the efforts of Marco Pappa and Diego Chaves. Pappa gave the Dynamo defense fits down the right side, creating openings for Chaves, who forced Houston netminder Tally Hall to make his first save in the seventh minute, then put the Fire on the board in the 18th.

Pappa brought the ball to the top right corner of the penalty area, probably holding it too long as he took on a crowd of three Houston defenders. The ball popped loose at the top of the box, but Chaves was in the right place at the right time to hammer a shot to the left side of the net.

“I wasn’t too thrilled about that, with the way the goal came about,” said Houston coach Dominic Kinnear. “We gave it away. I think we can do a better job at cleaning up the mess that we made and credit to the Fire for taking advantage of the opportunity.

“I think our response was good, especially near the end of the first half, and it carried over into the second half. We had a good number of corners, a good number of balls in the box. We walked into the locker room at half time a little disappointed but confident we played pretty well,” said Kinnear.

Although the prospect of snapping their three-game losing streak should have kept the Fire’s foot on the throttle for the full 90 minutes, they seemed to lose intensity after Chaves broke the ice, and finally, in the 83rd minute, the Dynamo made them pay. Andre Hainault leaped through a crowd at the top of the six-yard box for Brad Davis’s corner kick and caught Conway out of position with a looping header that dropped just inside the right post to level the score.

“It was a restart, which is something we were aware they’re are good at, and unfortunately we didn’t do a good job of getting it cleared out,” said Fire goalkeeper Jon Conway. “It’s really disappointing because it’s the second week in a row we gave up a goal on a restart, and it’s something we’ll have to address.”

While the Fire attack often seemed disjointed and plagued by miscommunication and misdirected passes in the attacking end, the defense turned in a rock-solid performance for much of the match. The Fire backline also controlled the air in front of the goal, effectively defusing numerous Dynamo corner kicks and free kicks, until Houston tied the game.

“We knew coming in that one of the things that makes Houston successful is the ability to score set pieces,” said Fire midfielder Logan Pause. “Giving up a goal on a set piece is just a bummer. We worked on it this week in training. It was my man that scored so I’m responsible. It’s unfortunate, they threw a whole lot forward at the end and they just wore us down. It definitely hurts to lose at the end of the match.”

The Fire do escape the Eastern Conference cellar with five points from their 1-3-2 record. The Dynamo improve to 2-1-3 (9 pts).

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