As the Chicago Fire’s slow start to 2018 continued Sunday with a 3-2 home loss to the Houston Dynamo, one word seemed to be the theme: frustration.
The Fire now have lost six games out of 11 overall and four out of seven at home.
Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played a key role in the buildup to both Fire goals, showed visible frustration at points in the second half when his team was trailing. When asked if frustration is seeping into the team, he answered with a firm, “Yes.”
“It’s not good enough,” Schweinsteiger said. “That’s clear. We play at home. Too many losses. There are some situations in a game where we have a feeling, OK, now we are in a good way, but then we kill ourselves. Unnecessary.”
Houston took the lead in the fourth minute on a counterattack goal from Romell Quioto. Goals from Nemanja Nikolic and Diego Campos, his first MLS goal, then put the Fire in front before 20 minutes had passed.
However, chances for the Fire were fleeting the rest of the match. The Fire didn’t have another shot of any kind until an Alan Gordon header in the 93rd minute.
May 20, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez (45) makes a save against Houston Dynamo defender Alejandro Fuenmayor (2) during the first half at Bridgeview Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Houston scored twice more on counters. Mauro Manotas was tripped in the box by Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, which led to an Alberth Elis penalty. Elis scored his second goal and the game-winner in the 74th minute following a Fire corner.
“Our own mistakes killed us,” Fire coach Veljko Paunović said. “It just cannot repeat over and over again.”
Houston’s win put the Dynamo into a playoff spot in the Western Conference. It was the team’s first win on the road this season in five matches.
The Dynamo wore T-shirts in support of Santa Fe High School following the deadly shooting at the Houston-area school on Friday.
We play for Santa Fe. 💚 pic.twitter.com/ua43iABIpF
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) May 20, 2018
For the Fire, the standings don’t look as pretty. The Fire are six points behind sixth place in the Eastern Conference and have played three more games at home than on the road.
“Of course everyone is going to get frustrated when you lose a game like today,” Paunović said. “This is the best we can do right now and it wasn’t good, not nearly enough.”
The Fire had seven players out with injuries, a group mostly filled by regular starters. Schweinsteiger’s usual central midfield partner Dax McCarty missed his first game of the season.
As the injuries and losses have both piled up for the Fire, it’s become an easy excuse. Schweinsteiger didn’t want to use it.
“We have to step up,” the German said. “Everyone has to take the responsibility. It doesn’t matter, it should not only be the veteran players. Every player on the field has to step up.”