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SOCCER

Chicago goes third with Houston defeat

The Chicago Fire climbed up to third place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo at Toyota Park on Sunday.

Chicago (13-8-5) is 4-1-0 over its last five games to improve to 44 points on the season.

Patrick Nyarko and Daniel Paladini grabbed first-half goals to put the Fire in comfortable lead.

Brian Ching notched a late goal for the Dynamo, but it was canceled out by Alex's goal deep into second-half stoppage time.

Houston (11-7-9) drops to fourth place with 42 points, but its winless run extends to four games.

It took the Fire less than a minute to get on the board as Nyarko eluded his defender to break free on goal before slipping a shot through the legs of Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Houston thought it had leveled the score in the 13th minute, but its goal was disallowed after referee David Gantar ruled that Macoumba Kandji used his arm to redirect the loose ball into the back of the net.

Chicago made the visitors pay for that miss, doubling its lead six minutes later when Paladini slotted home a low ball played in front of goal.

Alvaro Fernandez could have given the Fire a three-goal lead in the 25th minute. The Designated Player failed to convert the sitter though, sending a wayward shot high and wide from close range despite having acres of free space.

Chicago held its two-goal advantage until the 90th minute when Ching's header from a Brad Davis corner kick took a deflection on its way past Sean Johnson.

But it proved to be a trivial strike for the visitors as Alex hammered home a superb goal from distance deep into stoppage time to solidify three points for the Fire.