HOUSTON – At last, the club was able to enter a match without having a nearly three-month winless streak hanging over their heads.
A 1-0 victory over DC United on June 18th was the first for Chicago Fire FC since March 19th as the club finally got a victory after ten-straight matches with either a tie or a loss. The terrible stretch, which was preceded by an encouraging start, has dropped the club to the bottom of Major League Soccer.
Saturday provided the Fire a chance to do something they’ve only done one other time in 2022 – win consecutive games. But the short-handed team, despite some energy early, wasn’t able to get the job done to make that happen.
Playing without Xherdan Shaqiri (non-COVID illness)along with Miguel Navarro and Mauricio Pineda (health and safety protocols), the Fire couldn’t capitalize on early chances against Houston on Saturday night. The Dynamo made them pay with two goals in the latter part of the first half which gave them a 2-0 victory.
Thorleifur Úlfarsson’s score in the 23rd minute, which took an unfortunate bounce off the foot of Carlos Teran and into the goal, put Houston into the lead for good. Darwin Quintero added insurance with a first half stoppage-time goal.
Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina would keep the Dynamo off the scoreboard the rest of the way, making three total saves, but the Fire never found the back on the net. It drops the club to 3-8-5 on the season with their 14 points tying them with DC United for last in the MLS Standings.
For manager Ezra Hendrickson, who had to juggle his lineup a bit with absences, the question was whether the club had lost some of the moment they had gotten during the streak-breaking win over DC United.
“No. Because you know, we have to keep staying positive and remaining confident. I think what I told the boys at the end, if we’re honest with ourselves, that was not a very good performance by us. And it was sad that after such a great performance last weekend, we came here and just didn’t really show up,” said Hendrickson. “In the first ten, 15 minutes, we had some good moments, a couple of chances, half-chances in the box. But overall, it was not Fire soccer, and that’s not the way we want to play.
“That’s not the kind of discipline we want to show when we step on the pitch.”
At least they’ll get the chance to get back on track quickly as they face the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night at Soldier Field. You can watch the match on WGN-TV, Channel 9 at 7 PM.