CHESTER, Pa. — Just when it looked like the Philadelphia Union would climb back into first place, Houston’s Geoff Cameron made sure they’d stay right where they were.
With Philly minutes away from a 1-0 victory that would have vaulted them over Columbus to the top of the Eastern Conference table, Cameron delivered a goal that sucked the life out of PPL Park and gave the Dynamo a 1-1 draw with the host Union on Saturday night.
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It was the fourth goal of the season for Cameron, one of four players who represented Houston (6-7-10) in the all-star game last month.
Jack McInerney scored his first goal of the season for the Union (8-5-9) on a beautiful give-and-go with Sébastien Le Toux in the 19th minute.
McInerney started the sequence with a pass that was a little behind Le Toux. But the Frenchman stopped short and delivered a left-footed through pass to a streaking McInerney, who slid to the ball right before Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall could get there and tapped it into the back of the net.
McInerney, who turned 19 on Friday, drilled another shot in the back of the net off a pass from right back Sheanon Williams just minutes later, but the play was called back because the youngster was offside.
The Dynamo's best first-half chances come on crisp but relatively non-dangerous long-range shots from Brad Davis and Corey Ashe. That changed in the 44th minute when midfielder Colin Clark found himself alone in the box for a great scoring opportunity. But Clark’s attempt skied high and the Union escaped the first half with a 1-0 advantage.
McInerney, making just his fourth start of the season, was at it again after the halftime break. In the 53rd minute, left back Gabriel Farfan sent a ball into the box, which McInerney took a bad first touch on but nearly redeemed himself in spectacular fashion with a overhead volley that went just high.
The teenager got a huge ovation from the 18,524 fans in attendance when he came out in the 66th minute for the more defensive-minded Stefani Miglioranzi.
Le Toux, who collected his team-leading eighth assist on the McInerney goal, nearly had a tally of his own when he chased down a pass from Miglioranzi and cut the ball toward net in the 84th minute. All that separated the Frenchman from his second goal of the season was a charging Tally, but Le Toux’s shot hit the left post.
That near-miss proved vital as just a minute later, Cameron tied the game for Houston, who escaped with a point despite finishing with just two shots on target.
Saturday’s game also marked the debut of Honduran international Carlo Costly, who was signed on Thursday. He entered the contest in the 61st minute.
The Union have another home game next Saturday against FC Dallas, while the Dynamo return to Robertson Stadium to host Portland next Sunday.
PHI -- Jack McInerney 1 (Sebastien Le Toux 8) 15
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 4 (unassisted) 84
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Foul) 78
PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Foul) 83
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman (Jermaine Taylor 68), Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 62), Adam Moffat, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Cam Weaver (Carlo Costly 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Jason Garey, Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Tyler Deric.
Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Gabriel Farfan, Justin Mapp (Michael Farfan 46), Roger Torres (Danny Mwanga 46), Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux, Jack McInerney (Stefani Miglioranzi 66), Veljko Paunovic.
Substitutes Not Used: Keon Daniel, Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Zac MacMath.
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Chris Strickland
4th Official: Ismail Elfath
Time of Game: 1:49
Weather: Cloudy and 77 degrees