Highlights and context: Chicago moves up in the East

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There is certainly of balance of power shifting in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

A month ago, Houston was rising steadily, keeping pressure on the Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City, envisioning dreams of Supporters Shield spoils.

This morning, the Dynamo finds itself in fourth place in the East, having just been lapped by the Chicago Fire. Not winning a game in a month will do that to you; The Dynamo is 0-2-2 in MLS matches over the last month, a slide that’s been masked (and somewhat mitigated) by success in Champions League.

Meanwhile, Chicago has taken Houston’s place as the hot pursuers in the East. The men from Toyota Park put a solid claim on third place with a 3-1 win Sunday night over Houston. With the win, Chicago is 4-1 over the same stretch.

Things were set up nicely for the Fire, who were well-rested, off  a 10-day break. The Dynamo, meanwhile, just traveled back from Central America. So when Patrick Nyarko struck in the first minute, the climb back must have looked herculean for Houston.

Chicago’s has been able to keep piling up the points without Logan Pause, their important and underrated glue man in the center of the park. Pause was back on the field last night, appearing for the last five minutes. So, there’s a lot to feel good about for Frank Klopas’ team at the moment – even if last night’s win wasn’t the most stylish you’ll ever watch.

Take a look for yourself:

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