Fire vs. Houston: Match Preview

Houston Dynamo Starting Eleven

Fresh off a crushing penalty kick loss to Tigres UANL in Wednesday's SuperLiga final, the Fire is looking to turn it around on Sunday night when they take on the MLS leading Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium in Texas (7:30 / DirectKick). The two teams will be playing their second match against each other this season. The first match-up, which was played on June 5th at Toyota Park, saw the Dynamo beat the Fire 1-0 courtesy of a 3rd minute Stuart Holden goal.

The Fire will be without midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco and defender Gonzalo Segares for Sunday's match, as both players will be with their national teams (Blanco with Mexico and Segares with Costa Rica) ahead of next week's World Cup Qualifying matches.

I'm still unsure as to whether or not midfielder John Thorrington or defender Wilman Conde will be available for the match as both players missed Wednesday night's game with injuries.

The Fire won't be alone in missing players though. The Dynamo will be without three of their best for Sunday's match as forward Brian Ching and midfielders Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden will all be with the U.S. National Team ahead of next Wednesday's qualifier against Blanco and Mexico.

So which team has the advantage with all of these players missing?

For an answer I'll take a look at the team's first match, which was similar to Sunday's in that both sides were missing multiple players due to international duty. The Fire was without Bakary Soumare, Blanco and Segares for that one while Ching and Clark were unavailable for the Dynamo. Houston definitely outplayed the Fire that night but something tells me that the Fire having Baky available for the rematch and Houston losing Holden will make a big time difference. Which brings me to...

**The Prediction:**

I'll say 1-1. I think this would be a very good result for the Fire as Houston isn't an easy place to play in (it's a little hot down there folks...) and the Dynamo do happen to be in first place in the league. I'm guessing Patrick Nyarko continues his hot streak and scores again for the Fire while Brad Davis will put one in for Houston.

Congrats to Wednesday night's prediction winner NaperSteve. Steve predicted that Tigres would win 2-1 and he took an early lead in the prediction standings. Not to put you on the spot or anything here, but I'm expecting you to attempt to defend your title NaperSteve so you better give a prediction for this one... We'll see if anyone else can take him down this time around...

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Check out my Tribune article from the first Fire - Houston match [here](http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/jun/06/sports/chi-06-fire-chicago)

And click [here](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-fall-to-houston-1-0.html) for the Fire Confidential write up...

And [here](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-0----houston-1-more-post-game-reaction.html) if you want to read a few extra thoughts I had on the teams' first match...

And [here](http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-fire-confidential/2009/06/fire-vs-dynamo-player-ratings.html) for the player ratings. Why not throw in another link, right?

Comments

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  • FIRE win 1-0 Marco Pappa in the 33' with a long range blast that takes Onstad by suprise! FIRE4EVER

  • 2-1,,,,rolfe and carr....own goal in second half and i dont want to talk about it.

  • ok,,,you talked me into it...its a lazy play by busch and it sneeks past him...2-1

  • Fire 1-0.

    Although it does look like the Houston USMNT trio will leave for US camp after the Fire match.

  • Fire 4-2. It's hot and everyone stops playing defense. Goals from Rolfe, Nyarko, Pappa, and Conde. On the flipside, Brandon Prideaux gets burned twice on Houston's goals.

  • Houston 2-0 Ching and Stuart score

  • I read all players mention will be avaiable for the game...

  • Sorry about the confusion in the above post -- it looks like my mind went on vacation in the last week too... -- the Fire's website is saying that neither team will have any players miss the game due to international absences.

    Again, my apologies.

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