Houston, TX – The Chicago Fire will attempt to extend its winning streak to four games on Tuesday against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Fire held out for a 1-0 victory against Sporting Kansas City over the weekend, and with the team sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and just six points back of leaders D.C. United with two games in hand, Chicago will attempt to edge a bit closer toward the top of the East.
Houston finds itself four points behind the Fire in fifth place, and although the results haven't gone their way in recent weeks, Dominic Kinnear's team will be boosted by a 2-1 victory against Philadelphia last time out.
Marco Pappa scored the only goal of the match in the 58th minute in Chicago's victory, while goalkeeper Sean Johnson provided a big effort in goal to preserve all three points.
"Anytime you can win back-to-back games in this league, it's a good feat," said Fire striker Chris Rolfe. "It is such a competitive league so that doesn't happen too often for most teams. For us to do that now to start the summer when we really have to grind through the middle of the season, that's really big for us."
Collecting three points at a tough place like Kansas City should give the Fire even more confidence, but Johnson knows that such a quick turnaround leaves little time for his team to savor its win.
"There is always room for improvement, but we'll enjoy this and get back to work," said Johnson. "We have a quick turnaround game on Tuesday against a good team in another hot place. We have to refocus now and get back to work."
Chicago may already be looking ahead to its game in Houston, but Dynamo forward Brian Ching is still holding on to his winning goal against the Union over the weekend as he converted a penalty kick in the 83rd minute to break a 1-1 deadlock.
"It was special," Ching said of the goal. "I know every game the crowd has been cheering for me to get one. I'm thankful for that. They're behind me. I'm just happy that the ball went in and we got the three points."
The win was the important thing as it was Houston's second in five games, keeping the club in the middle of the Eastern Conference and right in the thick of the playoff hunt.
Four of the club's next five games come at home, where Houston is unbeaten in its first six matches this season, meaning that another win on Tuesday against Chicago could help the club start a nice run in an effort to inch further up the table.
One thing that would help Houston's cause is a return to form for Ching, who found the net for only the second time in 15 games this season.
"Hopefully, it kind of breaks the dam," Ching said of his goal against the Union. "I felt confident in taking the penalty kick, I've done it a number of times and it felt good when it hit the back of the net."