Philly Sports Live

Union Dropped by Houston 1-0

Parke headshot

After a five game unbeaten streak, The Houston Dynamo would play spoiler, snapping a winless streak of their own.  In a tightly contested contest where both offenses were no quite up to spec on the night, it would be the Dynamo with the 1-0 edge.

First Half:

Almost immediately, Houston was trying to get back on track, and had a great chance to pick up an early lead.  Barns would go on a first minute breakaway, only to to himself lose his footing in the box, leaving the Union with a quick clearing opportunity.  From there, the Dynamo would control much of the tempo for the first half.  On the defensive side, the Union seemed content to let Houston attack.  At times, it seemed as if only Amobi Okugo and Jeff Parke were playing D, as Williams (who did have a decent night) and Ray Gaddis seemed to want to cluster in the the middle.

25 minutes in, and the tempo switched more into the Union’s favor, going on the counter attack and putting up some chances against Tally Hall.  Conor Casey especially looked dangerous.  Sheanon Williams had more than his fair share of long throw-ins during the match, a lot of which found Casey’s head.  But you could tell that even early on, the fatigue of playing three matches in seven days was starting to set in.  While Casey gave it his all, most of his chances were off target during the 90 minutes he played.  With both teams failing to capitalize, the first half would end in a 0-0 deadlock.

Second Half:

The Union’s fatigue would come through even more in the second half, and the Dynamo would take advantage quickly.  In the 58th minute , right after an unlucky header went just over MacMath’s goal, Ricardo Clark would set things right,  putting his headed shot past MacMath, and ending the Dynamo’s goal drought.

Despite the goal, Houston’s offense was still subpar for the remainder of the night, failing to capitalize on quite a few more opportunities.  There was a big problem ,though: the Union had the same stagnant offense, despite John Hackworth’s experimental five striker formation.  With tired legs out on the field, Hackworth would bring on some fresh legs in the hope of at least walking out of Houston with a point.  Don Anding, Roger Torres and Matt Kassel would all make appearances.

But it wouldn’t be enough.  Although the injection of some fresh legs looked promising, the moves were made too late.  They Dynamo would go on to win 1-0.

Match Notes:

Although Roger Torres should have perhaps come on before him, Don Anding looked really good on his MLS debut.  He wasn’t afraid to take shots, nor did he show any signs of first match jitters.  He had confidence from the minute he stepped out onto the pitch.

Roger Torres.  It seemed everyone finally realized something was up when he didn’t start the match tonight.  Something obviously has been up, but there was no reason no to start him tonight, leading many to believe there is some underlying reason as to why he is not playing (and it’s not laziness).  When Torres finally did see the pitch tonight, he was brilliant.  That’s not an exaggeration.  Torres came on and immediately started creating chances, putting long ball on target into the box.  If it wasn’t a long ball, it was a short lob that fell perfectly onto Anding’s foot.  These are just two examples.

Either way, with half the mid-field questionable going into next week’s match against Chivas USA, Torres must play more.  He brings another attacking dynamic to the Union that they desperately need.

If not for Jeff Parke, who is tonight’s PSL Man of the Match, Houston maybe could have won this one by more than one lone goal.  Instead, the veteran center-back was everywhere tonight, playing out of position at times to make up for some poor play from Ray Gaddis.

Next Match:

After a two game road trip, the Union head back home to PA, as they get ready to take on Chivas USA from PPL Park next Friday.  Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action on The Comcast Network.  As always, PSL will be live on hand at PPL, keeping you up to date with everything you need to know before kick-off.