October 30, 2012
Let the playoffs begin
Eastern Conference Knockout Match:
#5 HOUSTON DYNAMO (14-9-11, 53 pts)@ #4 CHICAGO FIRE (17-11-6, 57 pts), 8:00 pm CT, ESPN2
After a three-year absence, the Chicago Fire are returning to the MLS postseason. They will host the fifth-seeded Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference knockout round match on Wednesday. The Fire won the regular season series against the Dynamo, going 1-0-2 in three matches. Will Bruin and Logan Pause traded goals midway through the first half before severe weather ended the match in the 66th minute as the two teams drew 1-1 at Toyota Park April 15. In the second leg of the season series, the Fire and Dynamo battled to a 0-0 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on July 3, while in the series finale, the Fire got first half goals from Patrick Nyarko and Daniel Paladini before a late strike from Alex gave the side a 3-1 victory at Toyota Park Sept. 2. They did not close the regular season on a strong note, however, going 1-3-1 over their last five games, and dropping from second to fourth in the conference on the final day after a 1-1 draw with DC United. The Dynamo, last year’s MLS Cup runners-up, notched 11 of their 14 wins at home this season, but had the advantage last weekend of knowing their playoff fate before closing out the season, and were able to rest most of their regulars heading into Wednesday’s must-win match.