CHESTER, Pa. – The Philadelphia Union and Houston Dynamo both hoped to snap winless streaks Saturday.
Neither of them could.
In an Eastern Conference matchup between two slumping clubs, the Union and Dynamo played to a scoreless draw in front of 17,301 fans at PPL Park.
The Union, now winless in their last six contests, didn’t log a shot on goal and finished a grueling stretch of three games in eight-days with just two points.
The result was a better one for the Dynamo, who managed to stop a three-game losing streak and pick up a point on the road despite going down a man in the 82nd minute, when Kofi Sarkodie picked up his second yellow card for time-wasting and was ejected.
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, the Union began to put some offensive pressure on the Dynamo early in the second half.
In the 52nd minute, Andrew Wenger was sprung free by Vincent Nogueira but opted to play a ball across the face of goal rather than shoot. The pass found its way to Conor Casey, but the veteran striker miscued his shot and it was blocked before it even reached goalkeeper Tally Hall.
One minute later, an Amobi Okugo diving header bounced just over the bar. But the Union weren’t able to generate much offense until they went up a man following Sarkodie’s red card.
In the 84th minute, Aaron Wheeler put a great flick on a long Sheanon Williams’ throw-in but the ball sailed through traffic in the box. And in stoppage time, during a scrum in the box, Wenger had a great look from close range but cranked his shot well over the bar.
Despite starting Casey and Wenger, their two top strikers, together for the first time, the Union hardly generated any offense in the first half, collecting just one shot – a weak attempt from Casey that went well wide in the 37th minute.
The Dynamo, meanwhile, put 12 attempts on target in the first half and nearly took the lead right before going into the locker room. In the final seven minutes before halftime, Will Bruin struck the post, a David Horst header that was destined for the back of the net was accidentally blocked by teammate Ricardo Clark, and a Clark blast was saved by Union goalie Zac MacMath.
The Dynamo were playing without star midfielder Brad Davis, who missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle.
The Union return to action next Saturday with a road game against old friend Jack McInerney and the Montreal Impact. The Dynamo have a quick turnaround against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday.
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||David Horst||The big center back handled everything Philly threw at him to earn Houston a road point -- especially in the air, where he was utterly dominant.|
|2||Vincent Nogueira||Continues to look like one of the league's best newcomers: Hard-working, creative, dynamic. Deserves better from his teammates at the moment.|
On a dour day for attackers, Clark and his old USMNT friend Maurice Edu were in their element, breaking up plays with abandon.