A switch to a more attack minded 4-3-3 formation didn't change the results and didn't provide any more offensively than the Fire have been able to generate over the last few weeks. A few isolated chances in an otherwise drab performance in Houston resulted in Chicago's eighth loss of the season. The record breaking 17th draw will have to wait but the Fire have five more chances to claim it.
Houston was in control from the start and the scoreline could have been worse. "Well obviously results wise, very disappointing for us," said Frank Yallop after the match. "I thought we had a few half chances that maybe we could have done better with but Sean Johnson had a great game, so that says something about Houston's play. I think the heat had a factor in the match. We played a little bit of a slow pace but for us it was a poor performance away from home where we needed to pick up points but we didn't."
The triple forward line up of Robert Earnshaw, Florent Sinama-Pongolle, and Quincy Amarikwa failed to get many looks at the goal as the Fire's midfield of Matt Watson, Razvan Cocis, and Harry Shipp didn't have much going either.
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Two fantastic saves in the 52nd and 53rd minutes against Giles Barnes and AJ Cochran kept the score close and Johnson was probably the Fire's man of the match but distribution was not good in this match.
D Gonzalo Segares (4) - A cross in the 15th minute left Larentowicz and Segares looking at each other after Cummings found space in between the two for Houston's first goal. The second goal followed a cross from the vacated left side of the Fire defense.
D Jeff Larentowicz (4) - See above. The Fire can't afford sloppy marking at any point as every mistake seems to be cashed in on by opponents.
D Patrick Ianni (5) - Playing in place of Soumare got beat several times but did clear a few corner kicks away from danger.
D Logan Pause (5) - Slotted into the right back position with Palmer out. Houston's first goal came from a Ricardo Clark cross from the Fire's right side. Played one cross into Amarikwa in the 40th that resulted in a shot attempt.
M Matt Watson (5) - Took a crack from distance in the 18th but his shot was saved by Deric. That was about it.
M Razvan Cocis (5) - A shot from distance in the 20th was blocked away before he had to leave the game. Took an elbow from Clark in the 10th that eventually forced him out in the 28th.
M Harry Shipp (5) - Played the full 90 but didn't seem to have a link with his midfielders or the front runners. Probably would have been better suited centrally than out wide in a 4-3-3.
F Florent Sinama-Pongolle (4) - Got a chance to start and really didn't show much. A free kick from just outside the area in the 27th was hit directly into the wall. Seemed to be floating into a playmaker spot but seldom got forward before being replaced in the 65th.
F Robert Earnshaw (4) - The Fire needed something out of the three forward alignment but essentially got nothing from two of them. Earnshaw's only real chance was a free kick from distance in the 52nd that was easily handled by Deric.
F Quincy Amarikwa (5) - If not for Amarikwa the Fire would have been completely inept up top. That being said, he didn't have many clear looks either.
M Patrick Nyarko (5) - Subbed in for Cocis in the 28th. Headed a cross in front of goal in the 66th and almost got onto the end of another cross in the 72nd.
M Alex (5) - Entered the match in the 65th for Sinama-Pongolle and provided the service for the aforementioned Nyarko half chances.
M Grant Ward (5) - An 80th minute sub for Segares as Yallop tried to get more attackers onto the field. That didn't work either.
A midweek visit to Philadelphia as the Fire enter the final month of the season.