for this game

Holden's goal enough to help Houston keep rolling

Jun 6, 2009 - 4:54 AM By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STATS) - The Houston Dynamo may have been held to one shot on goal, but Stuart Holden certainly made sure it counted.

Holden scored in the fourth minute and the Dynamo held on to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Fire 1-0 to extend their unbeaten streak to eight games on Friday night.

The second-place Dynamo (6-2-3) have won three straight and have outscored opponents 12-2 over their last eight while going 6-0-2, moving within three points of West-leading Chivas USA. Houston will host Chivas on Wednesday.

"We're jumping up the table after a slow start and feeling pretty confident right now," Holden said.

His goal Friday came after he made a run into the center of the box, where forward Kei Kamara found him with a through-ball. The 23-year-old midfielder chipped a shot over sprawling Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch for his second goal in as many games.

All three of Holden's goals this year - matching his total from all of last season - and two of his three assists have come during the unbeaten streak.

"He's a good player and he's got good form now," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said of Holden, who has played with various U.S. youth national teams. "I think a lot was expected of him to begin the season, which I think was unfair.

"We just want the team to do well. Our team is doing well and he's having a big impact."

The Fire (5-2-6), who have lost consecutive games after opening the season with a club-record 11-game unbeaten streak, managed seven shots but only three on net and none after the 47th minute.

Chicago's best chance came in the 36th minute when Marco Pappa found Brian McBride at the far post on a corner kick. The forward headed a pass to Patrick Nyarko at the opposite post, but his point-blank header was blocked on the goal line by Dynamo midfielder Richard Mulrooney.

"I thought we created some chances tonight, especially in the first half. We made a great push," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "In the second half, we probably didn't create as much, but it was a result of them dropping deeper. Tonight, we just didn't make a play."

The Fire, who fell to 0-3 all-time at home against Houston, are 0-2-3 overall at Toyota Park since a 1-0 victory over New York on April 5.

"When we're at home, we seem to have one bad play and the other team penalizes us for that," Hamlett said. "When you make bad mistakes, teams that come here will capitalize on that. No different from when we go on the road."

For a second consecutive game, Chicago played without defender Wilman Conde due to a shoulder injury and playmaker Cuauhtemoc Blanco because he's with Mexico's national team for World Cup qualifiers. The Fire also were missing defenders Gonzalo Segares (Costa Rica) and Bakary Soumare (Mali) due to national team commitments.

Houston was without forward Brian Ching (hamstring), the team leader with four goals, and midfielder Ricardo Clark, who is with the U.S. team for Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Honduras.


Information from: STATS LLC,