Soccer For All month takes center stage at PNC Stadium on Saturday evening as Houston Dynamo FC host Chicago Fire FC. This is the first league match for the Dynamo at PNC Stadium since May 8 and Houston will play three games in the next seven days. The three-game stretch includes a midweek trip to Oregon to face the Portland Timbers.
The Dynamo look to bounce back after they narrowly fell to Orlando City SC last weekend. Sebas Ferreira scored his sixth goal of the season and Houston nearly scored the equalizer in the final minutes of the second half off a cross from Darwin Ceren. The El Salvador international found Darwin Quintero inside the box and the MLS veteran found the back of the net off a bicycle kick. Quintero’s effort was ultimately ruled offside and the Dynamo were denied a share of the points.
This is the first meeting between both teams since Chicago defeated Houston 4-0 at Soldier Field on Sept. 23, 2020. The Fire have won back-to-back games against the Dynamo but Houston holds an edge in the all-time series with a 10-8-8 record. At home, the Dynamo enter today’s game with a 6-3-4 record and a positive six-goal difference in matches played in Houston.
Chicago returned from the international break with a 1-0 victory over D.C. United last Saturday at home. The Fire look to bounce back from a challenging start to the season with only two victories in their first 14 games of the season. One of those victories came against a team from the Western Conference when the Fire defeated Sporting Kansas City at home on March 19.
The Dynamo return to PNC Stadium on Saturday, July 3 to host Charlotte FC for Americana Weekend. Festivities begin on July 1 when the Houston Dash host the Kansas City Current and continue on Sunday when the Dynamo host the MLS newcomers for the first ever meeting.
Here are three key points ahead of Saturday’s game:
- DYNAMO FIND OPTIONS FROM OUTSIDE BACKS: Dynamo defender Zeca tallied his first assist of the season on Saturday and the Brazilian outside back currently leads the backline with seven chances created from open play. Zeca has only played a fraction of the minutes available this season as he adapted to life in Major League Soccer, his first venture outside of his native Brazil. On the opposite end of the backline Swedish defender Adam Lundkvist is tied for the most assists this season with three and he leads the backline with chances created, both from open play and set pieces, with nine. Together the duo combines for 16 chances created and have played a key role in helping the team score 19 goals this campaign.
- SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS ROADMAP: The Dynamo look to build on their second half performance against Orlando, which nearly generated a 2-2 draw on the road last Saturday. The Dynamo made five changes in the final 45 minutes of the game beginning with the addition of defensive depth with Daniel Steres and Darwin Ceren entering the game. Offensively, Houston brought on Tyler Pasher, Darwin Quintero and Thor Ulfarsson to spark the offense in the final stretch of the match. The most notable play was the cross from Ceren that found Quintero in the final minutes of the match. Quintero’s effort was ultimately ruled offside. Yet, Houston generated four shots on target in the second half and two shots hit the crossbar. Overall, Houston finished with 10 shots against Orlando in the second half, more than three times the total shots from the first half. The Dynamo also entered the final third 28 times in the final portion of the match, more than double the entries in the opening 45 minutes of the match. Houston will look to carry this approach against a Chicago team that earned a clean sheet over the weekend against D.C. United. The Fire have struggled with conceding goals on the road and to date have allowed 15 goals, tied for the third most in the Eastern Conference.
- CHICAGO SNAPS WINLESS STREAK: The Fire snapped a 10-game winless run last Saturday in their 1-0 victory over D.C. United at home. The winless streak nearly stretched three months following a 3-1 victory at Soldier Field over Sporting Kansas City on March 19. The team would go on to post a 0-7-3 (WLD) record in that stretch and now look to boost their position in the table with the addition of Young Designed Player Jairo Torres. Torres joined the team on May 1 and has earned four appearances as he navigates his first spell abroad. The talented midfielder recently won a LigaMX title with Atlas F.C. in Mexico and led the team to the semifinals prior to his departure. Internationally, the 22-year-old has represented Mexico at the U-23, U-22 and U-17 levels. Torres’ last appearance was a 75-minute shift against Toronto on May 28.