In a match more for pride than points, the Chicago Fire closed out their season with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.
Houston led 1-0 at halftime, but a penalty from Jeff Larentowicz and a stoppage-time winner from Florent Sinama-Pongolle helped the Fire end their season on a high note in front of their home fans at Toyota Park.
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Omar Cummings got the Dynamo on the board in the 18th minute after connecting on a corner kick from Brad Davis. Cummings made a near-post run and flicked on the cross low to the far post to give Houston a first half lead.
In the second half the Fire rallied from behind the grind out a win, with substitute Grant Ward proving to be a spark off the bench.
After entering the match in the 62nd minute, Ward drew a penalty with one of his first touches on the ball. Houston defender Jermaine Taylor tracked back a long ball, seemingly waiting for his goalkeeper to come out and clear away the danger. However, keeper Tyler Deric came out late and was forced to take down Ward as he looked at an open net.
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Deric received a yellow card for the foul as Jeff Larentowicz stepped up and calmly buried the penalty to knot the score at one.
As the clock hit 90 minutes, it seemed like a draw was in the books for both sides. But it was the substitute Ward once again who made a blazing run down the right flank, whipping a dangerous cross into the box. Fellow substitute Florent Sinama-Pongolle connected with a header to the near post to shock the Dynamo and give Chicago a big win to end the season.
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It was an emotional farewell for Chicago’s Logan Pause, who played in his final game after twelve seasons with the club. He was substituted off in the 79th minute and he received a standing ovation from the Toyota Park crowd, who continued to chant his name long after he was off the pitch.
Chicago: Johnson, Soumare, Palmer, Segares (Ward 62’), Larentowicz, Alex, Nyassi (Sinama-Pongolle 54’), Pause (Ritter 79’), Watson, Shipp, Amarikwa
Goals: Larentowicz (66’ PK), Sinama-Pongolle (90’)
Houston: Deric, Taylor, Sarkodie, Cochran, Horst, Davis (Driver 86’), Clark, Carrasco (Bruin 65’), Garcia, Cummings (Cascio 75’), Barnes
Goals: Cummings (18’)