The Houston Dynamo dropped a 4-0 decision to Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field this evening.
Chicago took the lead on 15 minutes through forward Robert Berić. Forward Ignacio Aliseda tried to cut inside but was dispossessed; however, the loose ball fell to left back Jonathan Bornstein along the touchline. The defender whipped a cross into the center of the penalty area where Berić was able to side-foot it home.
The Fire made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute through forward Fabian Herbers. Aliseda picked up a deflection 40 yards from goal and drove toward the net, drawing two defenders before playing a through ball to Herbers in behind the Houston back line where he slid to poke it past Houston goalkeeper Marko Marić.
Video assisted review (VAR) played a large role in the match, as referee Marcos De Oliveira consulted the replay screen on multiple occasions this evening. In the 27th minute, De Oliveira awarded a penalty to Chicago after ruling that a cleared ball hit the arm of Dynamo center back Maynor Figueroa. After review, he overturned his initial call and waved off the penalty. VAR then led to a Chicago goal being overturned in the 42nd minute when midfielder Djordje Mihailovic’s apparent goal was disallowed for an offside violation.
The Dynamo avoided a potential unlucky break in the 27th minute. Center back Maynor Figueroa attempted to clear the ball and the clearance appeared to deflect off his right hand inside the penalty area. Referee Marcos de Oliveira initially awarded Chicago a penalty, but after reviewing a video replay, overturned his initial decision.
Chicago made it 3-0 in the 40th minute after an outstanding individual effort from midfielder Álvaro Medrán. The Spaniard picked up the ball 30 yards out and dribbled through multiple defenders before slotting a ball past Marić and inside the lower left corner.
Marić prevented a fourth goal in the 87th minute when he saved a penalty kick attempt from Chicago forward C.J. Sapong. Unfortunately for Houston, video review was less kind to them in this instance, as De Oliveira gave Sapong a do-over after replays showed that Marić came off his line early on the first attempt. The striker took advantage of the second chance and converted to make it 4-0.
Houston’s best scoring opportunity came in the 71st minute when forward Mauro Manotas, who had just entered the match seven minutes earlier, cracked a shot off the woodwork. The Colombian picked up the ball at the corner of the penalty area on Houston’s left side and quickly cut in onto his favored right foot before unleashing a low line-drive shot. The blast caught Chicago goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth off guard, but it caught the left post and caromed away before any Dynamo players could get a touch on it.
Of note for the Dynamo, midfielder Darwin Cerén celebrated his 100th start in Major League Soccer tonight.
Next up for Houston, the Dynamo will visit Nashville on Saturday afternoon for their first-ever meeting with expansion side Nashville SC. That match will be televised nationally on Univision, with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CDT