Sunday, October 22, 2017

Houston Dynamo drive into MLS Playoffs with 3-0 win over Chicago Fire

Photo by Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2017 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (October 22, 2017) The Houston Dynamo made the decision to take possession of their fate on MLS Decision Day; handing the Chicago Fire a 3-0 loss in the final regular season game for both teams at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Sunday, October 22, 2017. With the win, Houston end the regular season with a 13-10-11 record and as the number four seed in the Western Conference. They established a new club record with their 12th home victory and will host Sporting Kansas City in the knockout round on a yet undetermined date.

It did not take the Dynamo long to get on the scoreboard, and take an early lead. In the second minute, Leonardo took a long throw in from fellow defender Adolfo Machados heading the ball into the net past Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez for the score. The goal was the second goal of the season for the 29-year-old Brazilian in his 30th game of the season.

They added an insurance goal halfway through the second half when forward Romell Quioto 's foot race with a Fire defender resulted in a left-footed shot from left side of the goal area. The shot gently rolled past Sanchez and put the Dynamo up 2-0. It was the Honduran's seventh goal of the season. Houston continued their offensive assault into the playoffs seven minutes later when midfielder Andrew Wenger; driving down the right side of the penalty area, connected with Mauro Manotas. The Colombian took the pass from Wenger and forcefully drove it in to the net, to make the score 3-0. Manotas stated, “I am thankful to God because I was able to start today. We had played a good game, we had run, we gave our all and created some chances. I was able to score on that play, praise God for that, but the most important thing is that the team won.”

Heading into the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the Dynamo will face a Sporting Kansas City squad that dropped their final game of the season to Real Salt Lake 2-1. The two playoff squads have faced each other twice in 2017. The first game on October 11, that was postponed from August 26, due to Hurricane Harvey, resulted in a 2-1 win for Houston. On October 15, they battled to a scoreless draw in Salt Lake City.

Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera spoken with the press after the match about playing the next game in Houston.

“We feel good because we wanted to close the season winning at home because we’ve been strong at home. If you have to choose, you always choose to play at home no matter what. The players put a lot of effort during the game today, they knew it was important to win. Our goal was to win today at home and continue to show how strong this team is and how strong we have been doing it lately home or away. We needed to win those three points and we wanted to show the effort to get those three points. We didn’t know what was going to happen outside of the market because it was out of our hands. It looks like the results came in our favor and now we have to rest and we have to recover well, because we have a playoff game here at home and it could be Wednesday or Thursday.”

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