AS IT HAPPENED: Game 6 Houston vs Chicago

The Fire head to the fortress that is BBVA Compass stadium. They Dynamo are unbeaten at home since it opened.  A stiff test is on tap today. Interestingly only one major change in the starting eleven for the Fire as Gonzalo Segares returns to the lineup replacing Hunter Jumper. Friedrich is still out injured and Alex, who I thought was healthy, doesn't make the bench. Jeff Crandall on twitter clarified that Alex is not back to full fitness. Duka and Nyarko are on the bench and available for duty. 

LINEUPS~!

Chicago: Johnson, Segares, Bery, Anibaba, Thompson, Pause, Larentowicz, Lindpere, Paladini, Rolfe, and MacDonald. Subs: Tornaghi, Jumper, Videira, Bone, Duka, Nyarko, Santos.

Houston: Hall, Ashe, Taylor, Boswell, Sarkodie, Moffat, Davis, Driver, Clark, Bruin, and Barnes. Subs: Deric, Ching, Weaver, Camargo, Creavalle, Johnson, Brunner.

Logan Pause finishes his pre game prayer. LETS GO!

FIRST HALF

Third: Austin Berry with a shot off a set piece but it goes right at Hall. Decent start to things so far. Houston is very sunny, parts of the field are in shade. Lots of empty orange seats.

Fourth: Paladini with a turnover in the middle of the field. Those types of plays have to be minimized against Houston. You do not want to be in a position to foul them to disrupt their counters. Plays right into their offensive strength.

Sixth: Bit of a mess in the Fire box. Eventually cleared by Berry. Good coverage from everybody but there was some difficulty clearing the ball.

Seventh: Rolfe misses Paladini on a run until it is too late and Dan is offsides when the ball comes. That one is all on Chris. Needs to be better.

The formation listed today had Paladini listed as a top of the diamond midfielder behind McDonald with Rolfe out on the right. Make of that what you will but so far it seems accurate.

Ninth: Good burst from MacDonald down the left wing as he gets a ball from Sega. He puts in the cross which is cut out by the Houston defense. Ball comes back to Larentowicz who gets fouled at the top of the box. FREE KICK OF OPPORTUNITY~!

Tenth: Paladini takes the free kick and puts it well over the bar. Bummer. Good offensive play to earn the free kick position. 

Eleventh: Dynamo corner # 1. Goes out for another corner. Dynamo corner #2. Headed clear by Paladini but it ends up with a foul on Barnes at the top of the box. Free kick for Houston. Foul committed by Anibaba.

Thirteenth: Brad Davis takes the free kick and puts in a good shot that is parried away by Johnson. Good save by Sean. Already too many set pieces for Houston.

Sixteenth: Wells Thompson comes flying up the field taking the space he is being given. He wants to make a pass to a guy making a run but Rolfe stands there waiting for the ball at his feat. UGH. SO NOT GOOD. Ball ends up getting turned over as no one was moving to create space for the guy with the ball. 

Seventeenth: Driver gets free heads into the box and looks to cross but SUPER SEGA is there to cut out his cross as it goes out for a Dynamo Corner #3. Ensuing corner Barnes manages to get his head on the ball inside the six yard box but puts it over. Sega had him marked but didn't really challenge for the ball. 

Twenty-First: Driver gets free down the right again, beating Sega easily. Gets his cross in finding the head of Barnes who puts it just over the bar. YIKES.

Twenty-Third: Sega and Lindpere link up down the left hand side. Sega puts in a great cross BUT AS USUAL NO ONE IS MAKING A FUCKING RUN. MacDonald and Rolfe cut their runs short. DISGUSTING.

Twenty-Fifth: MacDonald to Lindpere who finds Paladini bursting into the box. Paladini makes A GREAT PASS to the far post but Rolfe's run is late and he can't get to it. DAMMIT CHRIS.

Twenty-Sixth: GOAL HOUSTON. MOTHER FUCKER. Brad Davis gets the ball on the left wing, skins Wells makes a great cross to a WIDE OPEN Will Bruin who fucking buries it into the back of the net. Wells and Berry both needed to be better there. Replay indicates that Anibaba did not make the run with Bruin towards the net. INEXPLICABLE.

Twenty-Ninth: GOAL FIRE~! GUESS WHO? CHRIS ROLFE! MacDonald gets a throw in inside the box, flicks it towards Paladini at the top. He can't control it but Rolfe is there to pick up the trash and he FUCKING BURIES YE OL ONION BAG (tm Tommy Smyth) INTO THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THE NET. FUCK YES CHRIS.

Thirty-Third: Jalil makes a simple put out significantly more difficult. He saves the ball from going out of bounds and gives it to Driver. He ends up poking it back out of bounds. ARNE YOU CAN'T COME BACK SOON ENOUGH.

Thirty-Fifth: Lindpere earns a corner. Lindpere, Sega and MacDonald are all combining well together. Corner ends at Rolfe's feat AND HE HITS A MIGHTY BLAST! It hits a defender. HANDBALL? Lots of shouting from the Fire for a call. Replay is relatively inconclusive. Looked possible. 

Thirty-Seventh: Logan Allen Pause cuts out Driver as he tries to make a cross. Logan is SCREECHING for a goal kick but does not get the call. EL CAPITAN is PISSED. The fourth Dynamo corner amounts to nothing.

Thirty-Eighth: Barnes gets the ball down the right wing and he finds a sliding Rico Clark inside the six. Rico's shot goes over the bar. AYE AYE! TIGHTEN UP BOYS. Sega's flank is a wide open door right now. He needs help when he gets forward. Tactical change is needed.

Forty-Second: Chris Rolfe with a weak give away in the offensive third. Thompson recovers in the defensive end. Ball comes back down towards the offensive third. MacDonald has the ball in the box but takes to much time with it. He tries to pass it to Paladini but his pass is late and not very good. Paladini was wide open for a bit but Mackie found him late.

Forty-Fourth: SEGA IS BEATEN AGAIN. Berry is forced to acrobatically put the ball out for a corner. FIFTH Dynamo corner of the game coming up. 

Forty-Fifth: Ensuing corner finds Boswell but he heads it well over the bar. Boswell did not have good position. Decent defending. SOMEONE HELP SEGA.

HALFTIME

While that could have gone better the offense looks to be able to hold possession and create opportunities on the road. Positive step that we haven't really seen so far this season. The back line as a whole needs to tighten up. Each player has had shaky possessions. In particular Jalil and Sega had bad haves. Anibaba looks ripe to concede a penalty tonight. He is all athletic ability and isn't showing much composure or in game smarts. Sega either needs to stop going forward or get some help from his defensive midfielders. Berry is trying to help out but Anibaba's lackluster game is forcing him to hang back towards the middle more. 

It is OK if Brad Davis beats you. He is one of the best players in the league and there is no shame in having him beat you at his house. DO NOT LET BARNES OR DRIVER BEAT YOU. This is very concerning as Davis was pretty much under control except for the one play that led to the goal. After a second watch of that play it looks like it could have been cut out by better central defending or with Johnson coming out to punch the cross away. 

Acceptable half if you are a Fire fan. Tactically I'd like to see things tighten up on the left flank. Offensively things look solid but adjustments should be made to aid Segares defensively.

Second half UNDERWAY!

Forty-Sixth: Jalil is just all over the place already. Nothing pretty about anything he just did. Ended up in a long ball turnover.

Forty-Seventh: Long drive from a Houston midfielder who I couldn't make out. Easily handled by Johnson. No danger what so ever.

Fiftieth: Jalil and Barnes go at it verbally. A few 'Fuck You's" are exchanged. EL DIABLO WELLS THOMPSON comes over to lend a veteran presence and to stick his hand in Barnes chest. SHIT IS ON NOW MOTHER FUCKERS.

Fifty-First: WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT IS THAT WELLS? Ball comes in, Wells hits the ball RIGHT AT SEAN who clears it out. NO. DO NOT DO THAT.

Fifty-Second: Paladini fouls Davis, free kick conceded. (STOP THAT) Free kick crossed in looking for Jermain Taylor's head. Jalil is THERE and it whistles by too high for either player to make a play on.

Fifty-Fourth: Paladini elbows Corey Ashe RIGHT IN THE FACE. Yellow card for the Human Yellow card Dan Paladini. Dan tries to taunt Corey Ashe into getting a yellow of his own for acting like a jack ass but fails. Dan is clearly under Ashe's skin. Expect a rash challenge from him shortly.

Fifty-Sixth: Driver gets the ball down the left flank but this time is challenged by Berry and he has some support. His cross is hit to no one. Much better.

Fifty-Seventh: Nyarko on. Paladini off. Not a huge fan of this move. Hate taking Paladini off the field.

Sixtieth: Santos on. MacDonald off. Standard predictable sub from Frank. I'm pretty sure Kinnear had 'Santos-60th min" written on his white board earlier this week.

Fire offense punchless right now. Game has entered a bit of a lull. Fire don't want to get stretched so their movement is pretty static at the moment. 

Sixty-Third: Big Save from Johnson. Larentowicz was "dispossessed" of the ball in the defensive third. He was absolutely fouled from behind and there was no call. Build up came from there and Driver got the shot off.

Sixty-Sixth: Lindpere takes a free kick from the left side. He puts in a decent ball but no one is on the end of it. Ball bounces around and Rolfe hits an absolutely terrible pass to Lindpere that is to high for him and goes out of bounds. Really need to string some passes together soon.

The subs have been pretty lackluster so far. Nyarko and Santos have contributed zilch.

Sixty-Eighth: Lindpere earns a free kick just outside the box on the left hand side. Segares takes the free kick. Dealt with easily. 

Sixty-Ninth: Driver slips pas Segares who clearly didn't see him. He puts in a cross but Johnson is there to handle. Sega is really having a rough night.

Seventieth: Nyarko shows up! Wins the ball gets into the box maks a run towards the end line, cuts it back to Santos who flicks it towards the back post. Rolfe can't get on the end of it. BEST OFFENSIVE SEQUENCE OF SECOND HALF. Nice work from Nyarko and Santos. Lets see that a few more times.

Seventy-First: Houston sub. Creavalle on. Driver off. I won't miss typing about Driver.

Seventy-Third: Nyarko with a nice interception to win possession back for Chicago. He is starting to get into the flow.

Seventy-Fourth: Chris Rolfe earns a free kick off a Rico Clark foul just at the top of the box. 

Seventy-Fifth: Ensuing free kick taken by Santos who shoots it high above the bar. Houston Sub: Bruin off. Ching on. THE KING OF FLOPPERS IS HERE AND HE WILL FLOP AND YOU WILL BE ANGRY.

Seventy-Sixth: Wells Thompson with a fantastic tackle in the box. Shutting down the Houston opportunity. Good recovery speed shown.

Seventy-Ninth: In a demonstration of what is wrong with the Fire offense: a pass goes to Rolfe. Instead of breaking forwards Maicon tracks back towards Rolfe. Rolfe flicks the ball forward to WHERE SANTOS SHOULD HAVE BEEN. Jesus. All I want is a striker who knows how to run towards goal. THAT IS ALL I WANT.

Eightieth: Lindpere just shoves down Barnes giving away a cheap free kick. Davis thankfully hits it short down the wing, he gets it back in ACRES OF SPACE. PASSES IT TOWARDS GOAL and IT GOES IN?!?!? GOAL DAVIS. Poor defending on Davis to allow such a dangerous player so much space. The cross itself was dangerous but amounted to nothing but Johnson never went with the ball. INEXCUSABLE GOAL KEEPING.

Eighty-Second: Nyarko destroyed by Brad Davis on the right wing. Goes down, foul is called late. 

Eighty-Third: Lindpere over the free kick. Punched away by Hall. Ball comes back in. Sega gets off a shot that goes out for a corner.

Eighty-Fourth: Ensuing corner finds LARENTOWICZ'S head and IT GOES OFF THE BAR. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.

FUCK.

Eighty-Fifth: Fire sub. Duka on. Lindpere off.

Eighty-Sixth: Dynamo sub: Weaver on. Barnes off.

Eighty-Seventh: Ching gets free on the left but Sega is able to catch up to him. He tackles the ball away. Out for a corner. HILARIOUS CHING DIVE TOOK PLACE. I so hate Brian Ching. You have no idea.

Eighty-Ninth: Chris Rolfe channels his inner Marco Pappa and dribbles into four defenders. This ends poorly.

THREE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE.

Nintieth: Free kick earned by Sega left side of the box. Sega takes the free kick badly. Mother of fuck. Ball finds its way out to Thompson who thumps it back into the box but Hall comes out to take control of the situation. 

Ninety-Third: Weaver gets a free run at goal and blasts his shot so far above the bar that it is comical. 

Hey look everyone there is Corey Ashe's reckless challenge. He takes down Duka from behind and then points at Pause and I assume Thompson. Screeching like a mad man the entire time. Hopefully he gets a yellow. He indeed does get a yellow.

Duka takes the free kick. It is awful. Somehow Nyarko gets it in space. He takes a shot but it is cut out. Ball bounces around, finds Chris at the top of the box and he hits his shot SO SO SO FAR OVER THE BAR THAT IT IS DEPRESSING. 

FINAL WHISTLE.

The offense went straight to shit after Paladini got subbed off. Outside of the one play Santos was fairly invisible. Sean Johnson was at fault on goal number two. Nothing wrong with the defense there, he just didn't move with the ball. Not many offensive chances in the second half. Our strike force continues to misfire. Too many guys want the ball at their feet. Not enough movement towards goal without the ball. Need someone to step up and make runs.

Overall a good effort and probably deserved a draw. Still bad plays cost you points and the cheap free kick conceded by Lindpere ended up costing the Fire two points.

Join us for the podcast. The panel and I will review this game and then have a preview for the game against Columbus.