The Fire turned in another disappointing effort against a playoff contending team. They have finished the season in third place in the Eastern Conference (and overall in MLS) but dropped a 3-0 result to the Houston Dynamo to close the regular season. Houston scored early via a badly defended throw-in and added two more in the second half to put the match out of reach. A victory would have meant second place and additional rest but the Fire couldn't generate enough against a Houston side that is very difficult to play at home.
In finishing the season with 55 points (16-11-7), the Fire have their best finish since the 2012 season. That team, coached by Frank Klopas with considerably less starpower and money to work with, finished with 57 points (17-11-6).
The third place finish means that they will host the New York Red Bulls at Toyota Park on Wednesday night in a one-game knockout round.
The Fire hope to have Bastian Schweinsteiger back for that match but there should be some concern surrounding the team's inability to beat good competition at home or away, when they have needed results this season. Richard Sanchez didn't distinguish himself as a clearly better choice than Matt Lampson in this game, so the concern about the goalkeeper spot heading into a one-game elimination scenario hasn't been solved.
GK Richard Sanchez (5) - Didn't look as sharp or as sure of himself as he did in his first appearance against San Jose. Played for a near-post ball on the first goal and lost any chance of getting to the far post, where the ball eventually found its way into the net. Got a hand on the ball on the second goal but it dribbled into the net behind him. The touch may have directed into the net. The third goal was a result of Houston simply beating defenders but Sanchez did come up with two decent saves to keep the score from being 4 or 5 nil.
D Brandon Vincent (5.5) - Crosses didn't land but did manage to get several off into the area. Could have done better with a shot attempt in the 8th minute after getting by De LaGarza on the play in which he was injured.
D Johan Kappelhof (5) - One of two defenders that lost the jump to Leonardo on the first goal. Some good anticipatory moments in stepping up and cutting off passes but also trailed on the second goal.
D Jonathan Campbell (5.5) - Six recoveries, two clearances, and three interceptions. Didn't hurt the team in a return to the starting line-up.
D Matt Polster (5) - Lost the jump on a throw-in and it resulted in Leonardo scoring the Dynamo's first goal. Was not particularly effective getting forward and helping in the attack but the plan seemed to include him being more cautious.
M Dax McCarty (5.5) - The Fire maintained large possession advantages throughout the night but that was more due to the Dynamo's tactics and style of play than to any real dominance by Chicago. Completed a good deal of his passes, with the Fire at an 84% clip but there wasn't much real danger generated out of midfield.
M Djordje Mihailovic (5) - A quiet night for the rookie after a few consecutive good outings.
M Arturo Alvarez (5.5) - Perhaps the Fire's most effective passer on the day with a couple of long cross-field passes that led to some potential danger. Managed one of the Fire's four shots on target in the 62nd.
M Luis Solignac (5) - Combination with Nikolic set up a chance in the 89th. Sporadically involved in some half-chance play from the Fire but not enough to threaten seriously.
M David Accam (5.5) - Looked a bit more like himself at times, including several good runs which were negated by dribbling into multiple defenders and losing chances to shoot or pass. Forced Deric into a decent stop in the 32nd.
F Nemanja Nikolic (5.5) - Hit the post in the 86th and missed just wide from close range a few minutes later. Was active with five total shot attempts.
D Joao Meira (4.5) - Replaced Polster in the 66th. Promptly beaten by Quioto on a run through the penalty area that resulted in the second goal. Lunged and missed the ball in the 75th leading to the second score. Shambolic defending up the middle in the 87th almost led to another.
M Juninho (5.5) - Got back into a game in the 71st for Accam and helped the Fire defend while they were down 3-0.
M Brandt Bronico (5.5) - Completed 16 of 17 passes after coming on in the 73rd for McCarty. Good tackle in the 82nd to halt a counter attack.