Juggled lineup not quite enough to net a victory
By len ziehm Special to the Sun-Times April 23, 2011 11:14PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Saddled with a three-game losing streak, Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos revamped his lineup for Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo — but it didn’t do much good.
All the Fire (1-3-2) could do was avert its first four-game losing streak since 2007 in a 1-1 tie before 12,473 at Toyota Park. A much-needed win got away when the Fire gave up a late goal, a scenario altogether too reminiscent of last year’s disappointing season.
“A difficult situation for us because we made a big effort,’’ de los Cobos said. “It was a shame, because we could have won this match. But we need to keep working. We have young guys with good qualities, but we are young.’’
De los Cobos gave defender Yamith Cuesta, midfielder Baggio Husidic and forward Dominic Oduro their first starts of the season.
Husidic, a consistent offensive contributor last year, had played only 27 minutes in the first five games and was pulled in the 65th minute Saturday for Mike Videira, who had started the first five games.
For Oduro, getting the start was significant because he had been with the Dynamo before joining the Fire in a trade for Calen Carr early in the season. Carr, who spent five seasons with the Fire, didn’t make the trip; he’s still trying to shake off the effects of a concussion.
Cuesta, who came in a trade with Chivas USA, got the call because Cory Gibbs is nursing a left hamstring strain suffered in last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Gibbs didn’t dress for the Houston game, and Cuesta looked like he was going out before the game was over when he banged heads with Houston’s Cam Weaver in the 58th minute. Both players stayed in after a lengthy stoppage for medical treatment.
None of the new guys had a hand in the lone Fire goal, which Marco Pappa and Diego Chaves combined for in the 18th minute. Pappa started it by intercepting a pass and streaking down the right side. Dynamo defenders halted him at the top of the box, but Chaves claimed the loose ball and fired it past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Chaves notched his team-leading fourth goal while Pappa was credited with his second assist and fourth point of the season.
Oduro had a great chance to open a two-goal lead when he got loose on a breakaway in the 66th minute, but his shot from 18 yards out caromed off the crossbar.
That miss proved costly seconds after Gaston Puerari replaced Oduro in the 83rd minute. The Dynamo (2-1-3) tied the game when Bobby Boswell headed in a corner kick by Brad Davis. That kept veteran Jon Conway, making his second straight start in goal, from getting his first victory as a member of the Fire.