Fire host Dynamo, hope to build off D.C. win

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire overcame a blip in their 2010 MLS season with a 2-0 victory against D.C. United last week. Now they need to maintain that success as they return home to host the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park.

Chicago (1-2-1) needed most of its last match to finally strike against host United, but the Fire eventually came through with two late goals.

"It's something that we definitely needed," Fire forward Brian McBride said. "You want to get your first win as soon as possible. Now we need to build on it, and that's the whole point. It's about building on something. We had the draw in Colorado -- it's about building on that, and trying to improve, and we didn't do a good job on that, [losing to the San Jose Earthquakes]. Now we need to refocus for this weekend and make sure we do build upon this past weekend."

Houston has a couple missing pieces this season with Stuart Holden playing for the Premier League's Bolton Wanderers and Ricardo Clark moving overseas with German club Eintracht Frankfurt. Dynamo forward Brian Ching is out with a hamstring strain, so Houston is relying on the likes of Brad Davis and Geoff Cameron to pick up some of the slack.

The Dynamo (2-1-1) face their first Eastern Conference opponent of the season this Saturday. They are coming off a 3-0 victory over Chivas USA and also had a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on April 1.

The ongoing curiosity for the Fire is whether head coach Carlos de los Cobos will once again go with a 4-5-1 formation, or move back to two front-line attackers.

"I thought it caused a lot of problems [for D.C.]," McBride said of last week's formation. "Justin [Mapp] had an extremely good game, as did Patrick [Nyarko]. For the most part, the whole team. We got a result."

One Fire player who is itching to get back in the scoring column is forward Collins John, who started up top in that 4-5-1. In the past two games, John has had some strong scoring chances -- many of which were developed from Nyarko's play -- but has not found the back of the net since the Fire's 2-2 draw against the Colorado Rapids on April 3.

The connection between Nyarko and John on the pitch appears to have some potential. Things just have not panned out quite yet on the scoreboard.

"Patrick's one of the best players on the team and we get along very well," John said of Nyarko. "I think in a couple years time he'll be one of the best in MLS. He's quick and he always looks for me, gives me passes. Against San Jose he gave me two balls where I should have scored. I like him. He's a good player."

One player who has come through in the scoring column over the past two games is midfielder Marco Pappa, with the game-winner against D.C. and the team's lone goal against the Quakes the week before. The Fire will need him to maintain that consistency, especially within a midfield that already is stretched thin. John Thorrington still is out with a quad strain and defensive midfielder Logan Pause is doubtful with a knee sprain.