A day after being knocked out of a playoff spot, the Chicago Fire didn't just get it back with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo, but they moved all the way up to third place in the Eastern Conference. Goals by Patrick Nyarko, Daniel Paladini and Alex led the Fire by the red hot Dynamo and now they sit three spots clear of dreaded sixth place.
Nyarko put the Fire in front before even a minute when gone when he jumped on a bad giveaway by the Dynamo at midfield and dribbled straight ahead right through the Houston defense. Alone in on Tally Hall, the Ghanian slotted it between the goalkeeper's legs and Chicago was off to a dream start.
Another bad giveaway by Houston allowed Chicago to double their lead in the 19th minute. The Fire got the ball and ran right at the Dynamo defense, putting them on their heels. Alvaro Fernandez fed McDonald, who somewhat accidentally played it into the middle for Paladini to bury and Chicago was 2-0 up.
The Fire were hardly flawless, though. They had defensive breakdowns, but time after time Sean Johnson was there to keep them away. On one occasion he denied Bobby Boswell and a double save in the 90th minute kept the Dynamo scoreless.
Later that minute, Houston would finally breakthrough thanks to Brian Ching. The veteran got on the end of a corner kick and become the first man to get one past the seemingly impenetrable Johnson, but it wasn't enough and three minutes later the Fire would put the match to bed.
With their lead cut in half, Chicago could have been on edge, but Alex made sure that they would get three points when he got the ball on his left foot and hit an absolute rocket. His shot hit the inside of the post and then found the net to seal up a 3-1 win for the home side that has them back in a playoff spot.
Now that the Fire are in a playoff spot, someone has to fall out and it is D.C. who are the victims. Houston and Columbus are in a tie for fourth place, two points behind Chicago.