With only a few days rest for both clubs and high temperatures at game time nobody thought this match would be pretty but the first half was surprisingly well played considering the circumstances. The second half however wasn't exactly a sight to behold. That being said the resolve that has been displayed by this club over the last four matches has been impressive. A result on the road in this instance is a completely acceptable outcome.
Yes, the passing was sloppy and the club took a defensive posture for the most part but all that really matters is that good teams manage to gain results under difficult circumstances. It's not a perfect side by any stretch of the imagination. With all due respect to Dominic Oduro, who has exceeded expectations since coming to Chicago and has played remarkably well in stretches the club is still in need of a high quality striker to provide the elements that Oduro doesn't quite have in his repertoire. One also has to question where adequate service will come from without Sebastian Grazzini since the Argentine playmaker seems to be on his way out. Chris Rolfe can adequately fill the central playmaker role effectively in spurts but he's not quite the fit for the position that Grazzini is/was. Alex has shown some flair in two substitute appearances but it hasn't been much more than just that.
There are questions to be answered but an 8-5-4 record at the half way point of the MLS regular season should be evidence enough that Frank Klopas has managed to deliver a competitive side capable of challenging for playoff position. How the rest of the pieces are put into place before the transfer window closes on July 27 will determine just how capable.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Registered his second consecutive clean sheet but wasn't required to save the day this time. Houston rarely challenged or managed to get much on frame but Johnson appears to be playing with much more confidence than he was earlier in the season.
D Dan Gargan (6) - Houston decided to move Brad Davis into a more central playmaking role which made Gargan's task on the right side easier. He was seldom matched up 1v1 against Davis and Corey Ashe frequently botched attacks from the flank.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) - Stopped a dangerous 1v1 chance against Bruin in the 12th and did well in tandem with Berry to clear just about every chance in the air out of danger.
D Austin Berry (6) - Houston served 34 open play crosses in comparison to the Fire's 7. Berry cleared a good portion of them.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - The Fire's outside backs weren't as involved in the attack as they usually are. Despite the amount of crosses there just wasn't much given up by the back line.
M Logan Pause (6) - How often were Boniek-Garcia, Camargo, and Davis allowed space to create dangerous chances? Not often. Garcia disappeared in the second half. Did very well to break up numerous forward forays by Houston.
M Pavel Pardo (6) - Dual holding tandem has worked well in this stretch of good form but he hasn't been as involved offensively as you would expect.
M Patrick Nyarko (6) - Just missed hitting Oduro with a cross in the 17th and found Oduro again in the 20th but the forward failed to get a shot off.
M Marco Pappa (6) - Probably had the Fire's best chance to score in the 12th minute with an attempt that was blasted right at Hall and handled easily. Without Grazzini he's been entrusted with corner kick duties from the right side but his service is not particularly good from corners.
M Chris Rolfe (6) - His best chance came when a loose ball found it's way to him in the penalty area in the 56th but his shot was struck wide of the goal. Did well to track back and aid defensively.
F Dominic Oduro (5) - Failed to get a shot off in the 20th when Nyarko set him up with a good look and should have done better with a chance in the 32nd although he was incorrectly called offside.
M Alex (5) - Came in for Oduro in the 54th and played the ball into Pappa that resulted in Rolfe's shot in the 56th. Two long shot attempts were blocked.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Entered the match for Pappa in the 72nd. Managed to draw a foul in the 83rd but that was about it.
M Hunter Jumper (5) - Subbed into the game in the 86th minute for Nyarko as the Fire looked for a point on the road.
C Frank Klopas (6) - It wasn't pretty but the Fire came in with a game plan and executed it. Under the circumstances a draw in a very difficult place to play has to be considered a good thing. He'll have some issues to deal with in the final third during the final 17 games of the season if the lead forward issue is not addressed with a quality player.