Mullan leads torrid Dynamo over FireSep 1, 2008 - 2:41 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Dynamo's two-month surge to the top of the Western Conference has included five wins, five shutouts and one loss in eight matches.
Behind Brian Mullan's go-ahead goal Sunday evening, they continued such dominance in a clean 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.
"I think it was a good game," Chicago coach Denis Hamlett said. "We had a good start, we got a early goal but we fell asleep on that (first) piece and that got them back in the game. After that, they turned it up a few notches and had us defending a bit and got a great second goal."
Mullan's tally came in the 39th minute for Houston (9-5-8), which improved to 7-1-3 at home this season. Brad Davis fed him a nice pass from the left channel and Mullan scored his third goal of the season into the lower left corner of the goal.
"They moved the ball well, we got caught shifting, Mullan buries it, good goal by them," Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch said. "We got to do a better job of shifting on the back line. They just moved the ball well."
Brian McBride booted a shot high through the middle from the center penalty area in the fifth minute for the Fire (10-7-5), which fell to 4-2-4 since mid-June, to give them an early advantage.
"Given that both teams had a few chances where the first half score could have been 3-2 or 4-3 - because we had good looks we didn't do well with and the same on their end," Hamlett said. "The second half, we regrouped a little bit and talked about the shifts that caused us some problems. The second half was better defensively, we just couldn't get that equalizer."
In his first start for the Fire after playing for Fulham of the English Premier League the last five seasons, McBride picked up an assist against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday.
"We started off well, we had a miscommunication on that first goal, we created plenty of chances for ourselves," McBride said. "The second half was a lot more tight both sides, they had good movement and a great understanding of the game. That's why they've won two championships in a row."
Two minutes later, however, Dwayne De Rosario leveled the contest by beating Busch.
"It was a good ball by Brad and thankfully we were able to bounce back, and fortunately we were able to rebound from that letdown," De Rosario said. "Luckily it was a great result on that play."
Goalkeeper Pat Onstad and De Rosario returned from international duty for Houston, but the Dynamo continued to play without striker Brian Ching, the team leader with nine goals, when they dropped a 3-0 decision to the New York Red Bulls last Sunday. Ching, a member of Team USA, returned in time for this game.
The Fire were outshot, 16-9, in the contest.
"I think both teams really created a lot of chances tonight," De Rosario said. "We finished two of them tonight and I know, as a team, we could have converted a lot more. But the fight in this team, the desire and the non-stop, championship first attitude helps us out a lot and having these fans on our side is a tremendous help."
The Dynamo also won 2-1 at Chicago on May 17, with Bobby Boswell scoring his lone goal of the season for the winner.
HOUSTON 2 FINAL
Aug 31 9:00 PM
HOUSTON 2 HALFTIME
Aug 31 7:54 PM
- MLS UPDATE
HOUSTON GOAL: Brian Mullan in the 39th minute
Fire 1, Dynamo 2 1st - 39'Aug 31 7:47 PM
- MLS UPDATE
HOUSTON GOAL: Dwayne De Rosario in the 7th minute
Fire 1, Dynamo 1 1st - 7'Aug 31 7:14 PM
- MLS UPDATE
CHICAGO GOAL: Brian McBride in the 5th minute
Fire 1, Dynamo 0 1st - 5'Aug 31 7:13 PM
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