The Fire will travel down to Texas this Saturday to take on head coach Paulo Nagamura and the Houston Dynamo following their 1-0 win over D.C. United this past weekend.
This will be the first time the two teams have met since 2020, and the first time the Fire have traveled to PNC Stadium since 2019.
Here’s what to look for in the Gerber Collision and Glass Scouting Report:
HUNGRY AND TALENTED
Even though Nagamura - like Ezra Hendrickson - is in his first season as an MLS head coach, he has his Houston Dynamo group hungry and well-coached.
While results have been slipping as of late (three straight losses in all competitions), this team has some pieces who can really hurt you. They have pulled off some strong results this season so far.
They beat the LA Galaxy 3-0 on the road, beat Nashville at home, and traveled to DRV PINK Stadium to pick up a professional three points against Inter Miami back in April as well.
The driving force behind this team is their Paraguayan striker, Sebastián Ferreira. Ferreira, a Designated Player, is an out-and-out finisher. The header he scored against Orlando last weekend - albeit a 2-1 loss - was absolutely sensational. He has six goals and three assists in 13 appearances.
Canadian Tyler Pasher has also been a nice compliment to the likes of Darwin Quintero, Corey Baird and Memo Rodriguez in the attack.
Nagamura typically sets his team up in a 4-2-3-1 with Tim Parker and Teenage Hadebe anchoring the defense. Parker has proven to be one of the best CBs in the league over the past several years, and is a beast. He is physical, strong in the air, and a great leader. Hadebe is a good compliment to Parker. The two have helped Houston become one of the more solid defenses in the league, conceding just above one goal per game.
Matias Vera is usually pulling the strings in the middle of the field, with Rodriguez in a more advanced position. The target is always Ferreira, and they look to either play off him or use him as a target due to the myriad of finishes at his disposal.
IT’S ABOUT CHICAGO
This is the type of game that the Fire can win, but it strictly comes down to them. Yes, Houston has some pieces, but if you look across the team sheets, Chicago definitely has the talent to be able to come out of Texas with three points.
Obviously, the news about Wyatt Omsberg is a big blow to the defense and to Omsberg on a personal level. He has proven he can be a week-in, week-out starter in this league. Now, it is up to Carlos Terán to pick up the torch and grow quickly next to the skipper, Rafael Czichos.
The attack and ideas looked good against D.C., but this will be a different proposition on the road in close to 100 degree temperatures. The Fire will need to show resilience, discipline, and ruthlessness for 90 minutes.
I don’t think this game is as about Houston as it is about the Fire. Winning breeds confidence, and confidence can morph into form.
This is a big game to build on for the Fire, but it comes against an opponent who has been struggling and been on the road for the past four games in all competitions.
They will be looking to get off to a quick start, and Chicago will have to deal with a couple of big punches, even without Houston's new star Mexican signing Héctor Herrera available yet. If they can keep their composure and stay disciplined, there is no reason they can’t come away victorious.
Once again, this match is on UmiMás, TUDN, and Twitter this weekend, so I’ll be watching from back in Chicago like the rest of you. VAMOS!