FT: HOU v CHI 0-1
When going up against an opponent with such a visual name as the Chicago Fire, I cannot help but fall prey to the metaphorical title.
The reality was, however, that the Houston Dynamo didn’t struggle with Chicago’s heat as much as with the brimstone brought by their own demons – the failure to convert chances into goals and their inability to shake off officiating disagreements.
The collective Dynamo ego needed a solid win against Chicago last Saturday night to shake off the previous week’s loss on their home pitch, and Houston fans came with high expectations with the return of Alberth Elis to the starting eleven. The playmaker’s return, however, was simply not enough to overcome the darkness of a growing number of scoreless minutes at home.
Ultimately, a defensive error off of a Fire set piece late in the first half was the goal that lost Houston their points at home with a 1-0 defeat. A wild mess of ricochets in the box at the hour mark almost doubled the loss, but the one hour minute was the only time that Lady Luck wore orange in BBVA Stadium that night.
It’s not an easy time to be a Houston Dynamo fan. Not only are our playoff chances slipping away, but it seems that the League’s Disciplinary committee, PROreferees, and the MLS community as a whole are rallying against us.
Even among fans, the schism between supporters groups and other fans is growing as seating changes for the 2020 season have pitted fans against one another. Additionally, the blame game continues to recruit fans to various camps looking for the reason behind the Dynamo season’s decline.
And while many fans left the stadium on Saturday night disappointed and pondering their own blame stance, I left with a renewed vision of the real importance of soccer in our community.
After Saturday night’s regular MLS match, the League’s Unified teams had an opportunity to play in front of fans at BBVA. The Unified teams are the result of a partnership between the League’s social responsibility platform, ESPN, and the Special Olympics. They provide an opportunity for athletes with intellectual disabilities, as well as advocates, to participate in the beautiful game in conjunction with their first team counterparts.
Both the Dynamo and Fire Unified teams put forth a great effort and ended their Saturday night match with a 1-1 draw. The fans in attendance were supportive, interactive, and absolutely the epitome of what I love to see among fans at any match.
The rest of the weekend’s non-sports news has left me largely gutted, and that is undoubtedly the reason behind the lateness of this report. Supporting soccer, attending matches, and cheering on your team should be a reprieve from some of the more painful realities in the world – it absolutely shouldn’t be one more plight to add to the pile. The joy, the camaraderie, and the acceptance inherent in the Unified teams’ efforts is a flagship for where my own focus on the beautiful match should lie.
I’m making an effort in the coming weeks to focus on the positive, to find hope in possibilities, and as always to support my team without fail. Being a fan is one of the best parts of my week, and I’m not going to be dragged down to the depths arguing over results, regrets, or reactions. I am Forever Orange. And I look forward to sharing more news about my team after the Dynamo face NYCFC on Thursday and Philadelphia on Sunday.
Featured image: Leslie Chairez
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