Dynamo edges Fire, sets record for home dominance

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The Houston Dynamo made MLS history Sunday with its 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire at BBVA Compass Stadium, setting a league record by running its home unbeaten streak in all competitions to 35 games.

Brad Davis took a pass from Kofi Sarkodie and beat Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson with a 30-yard bending shot in the 81st minute to break a 1-1 tie.

Houston's streak includes regular-season, playoff and CONCACAF Champions League matches. The old league mark was set by Real Salt Lake from 2009-11.

The Dynamo (4-2-0) also tied the MLS record for the most consecutive games without a regular-season loss with 29. Real Salt Lake had an identical streak, again from 2009-11. Houston has not lost at home in more than 21 months; its last home defeat was on June 18, 2011, a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew at Robertson Stadium.

"The streak means a lot because it means that we are playing well at home," Davis said. "You always want to defend your home turf, and every other team will say the same thing. But we take a lot of pride in this and playing here.

"We know that it is tough on other teams, (and) I think mentally, we have a great group here."

Houston is now within nine games of the Chicago Bulls' home unbeaten streak of 44 games, the longest unbeaten run in North American pro sports. The Bulls set that mark in 1995-96.

"To go unbeaten for this amount of time is also very impressive," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. "People always ask, 'What's the secret?' We have a good team. I think if you look at our record, we've always had a good team, we always play well at home.

"If you don't have a good team, you don't have that record. We have won and tied games in all different fashions."

On the game-winner, Davis said he was not trying to score on the play. The goal, his second of the year, was a lucky finish for one of the best passers in the league.

"Honestly, I was trying to hit the ball toward the back post," said Davis. "It's a very difficult ball for goalie to handle. They don't know if it is going to get touched, and if nobody touches it, it's going to go in. No one touched it, and it found the back of the net, and that is all I care about."

The Fire' best chance to tie came in the 84th minute on a free kick, but Jeff Larentowicz hit the crossbar, and Houston cleared the rebound.

"We had chances, but we need to limit the goals," Fire head coach Frank Klopas said. "We have given up easy goals out of situations, and that hurts you. Being on the road and giving up two goals in any game, you make it difficult for yourself."

The Dynamo and Fire (1-4-1) traded first-half goals.

Houston opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Davis made a nice move to get past Wells Thompson and found Will Bruin with space in the box. The cross was perfect, and Bruin headed the pass off the turf and into the net past Johnson for his second goal of the season.

The lead was short-lived. The Fire struck three minutes later when Chris Rolfe settled a loose ball at the top of the area and fired a shot high into the net in the 29th minute. For Rolfe, it was his first goal of the year.

In the 13th minute, the Dynamo had its first scoring chance when Jalil Anibaba was whistled for a foul near the top of the box. On the ensuing free kick, Brad Davis sent a bending shot toward the left corner, but Johnson read the play and stopped the shot.

After both teams scored, Houston nearly notched its second lead of the match in the 39th minute when Barnes got just behind the Chicago defense. His attempt was snuffed out in the box by Johnson.

Both teams were quiet in the second half until Houston's Andrew Driver found some space down the right flank in the 63rd minute. Driver got by the first wave of defense unmarked, but his low shot skipped off Johnson, who made several nice saves in the match to earn a point for the Fire.

Chicago's Maicon Santos countered in the 70th minute, but the centering pass to him was just too far off the left post.

"You always feel like you deserve better, but the little things at the end hurt us," Klopas said. "I feel that we should have walked away with at least a point, but what are you going to do?"

Houston goalie Tally Hall was credited with one save.
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