HOUvCHI Preview 9/22/2020

The Houston Dynamo begin a two-game road trip on Wednesday with their inaugural visit to Soldier Field. The Dynamo will face Chicago Fire FC, their first Eastern Conference opponent of the season prior to closing the road trip on Saturday in Tennessee.

The Dynamo will look to build on Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Minnesota United. The Dynamo overcame a two-goal deficit at home with goals from Darwin Quintero and Maynor Figueroa. Quintero was denied from the penalty spot in the first half, but the forward capitalized on a clearance from the Loons goalkeeper that found him out of position. The savvy veteran chipped the ball over the Minnesota backline for his fifth goal of the season.

Figueroa scored the equalizer, and his first goal for the club, minutes later again off a loose ball inside the box. The Honduran international capitalized on a drifting ball that he headed toward the near post for his sixth MLS goal.

The Dynamo won the last meeting between both teams in Illinois and hold a 10-7-8 edge in the series. Chicago enters the game with the last victory in the series, a tight 1-0 triumph at BBVA Stadium on Aug. 8, 2019.

This is the first year for Chicago manager Raphael Wicky who signed with the club in Dec. after working with Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos at U.S. Soccer as the U-17 men’s national team head coach. Wicky led the U-17 team to the final of the 2019 Concacaf Championship and the program’s 17th FIFA World Cup berth. The former Swiss international was previously the manager of FC Basel in Switzerland from 2017-2019.

The Fire have struggled in their first year under Wicky as they enter Wednesday’s match with a 2-7-3 record and a 1-1-1 record at home. The Dynamo will be the first Western Conference team to visit Soldier Field where Chicago has held firm defensively. Out of the 22 goals allowed this season, only four have been at home.

The Dynamo will travel to Tennessee for the first time on Saturday to face Nashville SC on Univision.

<p>Houston Dynamo vs.&nbsp;Chicago Fire FC&nbsp;</p>
<p>Wednesday, Sept.&nbsp;23&nbsp;–&nbsp;6:30 p.m. CDT&nbsp;</p>
<p>QuestTexas&nbsp;Ch. 55 (Glenn Davis and Eddie Robinson)&nbsp;</p><p>TelExitos&nbsp;Ch. 47.2 (Alex Parra and Enrique&nbsp;Vazquez)&nbsp;</p>
<p>TUDN Radio Houston 1010 AM (Daniel Mejia and Lester Gretsch)&nbsp;</p>

 Here are three key points ahead of Wednesday’s game: 

  1. OFFENSE LOOKS TO NEW OPTIONS: Darwin Quintero, Memo Rodriguez and Mauro Manotas have combined for six goals in the last five games and the trio will be key as the Dynamo transition to an offense without Honduran international, Alberth Elis. The offense will also look to Ari Lassiter, Niko Hansen and Christian Ramirez, who have contributed five goals in their limited minutes after the MLS is Back Tournament. The offense will unquestionably run through Quintero who leads the team in goals with five and adds six assists in his first season with the club. The offense has been effective away from BBVA Stadium as seven of the 15 goals scored this year have been on the road. That tally doesn’t include the five goals scored at the MLS is Back Tournament, which featured a 3-3 shootout with the reigning MLS Supporter’s Shield winners, LAFC.

  1. ELIS DEPARTS FOR EUROPE: Alberth Elis completed his transfer to Portuguese side Boavista FC on Monday. After months of speculation the Honduran international departs Houston as one of the most decorated players in franchise history. The 2018 MLS All-Star leaves after scoring 36 goals and adding 30 assists across all competitions for the Dynamo. Elis can make his debut as early as Saturday when Boavista face the reigning Portuguese champions, FC Porto.

  1. CHICAGO WINLESS IN FIVE GAMES: Chicago enter the match with a five-game winless streak and sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference after the 4-1 loss in Florida against Orlando City SC on Saturday. Offensively, the Fire will look for a spark from Alvaro Medran, Djordje Mihailovic and Gaston Gimenez who have combined for two goals and seven assists this season. The Dynamo backline will also keep an eye on Robert Beric and Fabian Hebers who have scored a combined six goals in 2020. Beric is a member of the Slovenian National Team and signed with the Fire in January from Ligue 1 club AS Saint-Etienne. The forward has shared the field at the international stage with Dynamo center back Kiki Struna.