Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
Sept. 14, 2013 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #265)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-Phi; CSN-Hou2/KTBU)


A massive match for playoff positions in the Eastern Conference kicks off Saturday evening when Philadelphia Union entertain the Houston Dynamo at PPL Park. The teams are separated by just two points in the division, Union holding onto fourth place, while the Dynamo are out of the postseason spots only on goals scored. Union return home after having their winless streak stretched to four games in a 1-0 loss at San Jose last weekend; the Dynamo have also gone four games without a win, following their record 4-1 home loss to the New York Red Bulls.


REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Eric Proctor; AR2 (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Mark Kadlecik

MLS Career: 115 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 28; pens: 37


SUSPENDED: HOU: Dominic Kinnear (head coach; through Sept. 14); Boniek Garcia (through Sept. 14)


SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: PHI: Danny Cruz, Sheanon Williams Ö HOU: Andrew Driver, Boniek Garcia

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Brian Carroll, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Farfan, Jeff Parke, Conor Casey, Keon Daniel Ö HOU: Corey Ashe, Adam Moffat



ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Union 3 wins, 11 goals ... Dynamo 3 wins, 11 goals ... Ties 2

AT PHILADELPHIA (4 meetings): Union 1 win, 5 goals ... Dynamo 0 wins, 3 goals ... Ties 2

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Ricardo Clark scored the gameís only goal in the 59th minute for a Dynamo victory July 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • The Dynamo have never won at PPL Park, the teams reaching draws in their first two meetings in Chester before Unionís 3-1 win last Sept. 23.
  • The clubs met in the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Dynamo advancing 3-1 on aggregate after a 2-1 win at PPL Park, then a 1-0 home win.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v PHI: P8 W3 L3 D2 Ö John Hackworth vs. HOU: P4 W1 L3 D0



7/6: HOU 1, PHI 0 (Clark 59)

  • The game's lone goal came in the 59th minute. Giles Barnes raced forward from midfield into the box, before sending the ball wide to Jermaine Taylor. He then sent a driven cross into the center of the box where Ricardo Clark elevated to head it inside the far post.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Warren Creavalle, Eric Brunner, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Ricardo Clark, Andrew Driver (Alex Dixon 83) - Giles Barnes (Jason Johnson 76), Omar Cummings (Cam Weaver 69).
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis (Matt Kassel 84) - Antoine Hoppenot, Brian Carroll, Leo Fernandes (Roger Torres 71), Sebastien Le Toux - Conor Casey, Aaron Wheeler (Don Anding 60)



Philadelphia Union saw their winless streak stretched to four matches, going down to a 1-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. Union sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 39 points from 28 matches.


  • The game's lone goal came in the 15th minute. Sam Cronin played a beautiful chip from just past midfield to Shea Salinas, who made a well-timed run into the box and found himself all alone after a defender fell down. He took one touch and volleyed it past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
  • The game took a dramatic turn near the hour mark when Rafael Baca was sent off by referee Fotis Bazakos with a second yellow card after going in hard on Union striker Conor Casey on a 50-50 ball, but the Quakes held out over the final stanza.
  • Union team manager John Hackworth made no changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Montreal Impact at PPL Park
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis (Aaron Wheeler 78), Jeff Parke, Sheanon Williams, Fabinho - Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 60), Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll, Sebastien Le Toux - Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 70), Conor Casey.



  • Union saw their winless streak extended to four matches in league play, their longest of the season, with two losses and two draws in that span.
  • “We let an opportunity to separate ourselves in the table slip,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “And we did it by having a poor performance. … We didn’t have a lot of quality, in particular in the first half. That’s not a good enough performance from our team.”
  • Said substitute Antoine Hoppenot: “We've done a good job all season of being able to rebound from losses. We haven't lost two games in a row all season. We have a home game next week and we need three points. It's vital that we get three points. I think we'll go out there, put a lot of pressure on them and hopefully get the win.”
  • Union were also shut out for a second consecutive match and for the third time in the four-game winless run. They’ve scored one goal in that time; it was the first time this season they were shut out at the attacking end in back-to-back games.
  • “We’ve got to hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard than we did tonight,” Hackworth said. “That level of play is unacceptable for this club and this organization, all the way around.”
  • For the second time in four games, Hackworth ran out an unchanged first XI, keeping the group from the Montreal match. He kept the same team in the D.C. United and New York matches Aug. 10-17.
  • “I thought we played better to start the second half,” Hackworth said. “I thought we started to settle down and started connecting a little bit. They were playing a really high line, too. You have to be intelligent about the type of soccer you're playing and we sorted some things out at halftime, but we lost that game in the first half.”
  • After not featuring in the Montreal match, following a start a week earlier, Michael Farfan came on for the final half-hour against San Jose.
  • “We felt like we needed to be more careful with the ball. We had too many unforced turnovers. Michael is a better possession player in that regard, so we thought that he could open some things up, and he did,” Hackworth said. “When they went down a man, it made some of our life easier and a lot of our life harder because they kept so many people behind the ball. We certainly created the chances, but couldn't find our touch.”



The Houston Dynamo saw their winless run stretched to four matches, falling 4-1 to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 27 matches.


  • The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a dazzling early goal. Eric Alexander started the play down the middle, playing a sharp give-and-go with Jonny Steele and curling a shot from 20 yards out which beat Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who was off his line.
  • Houston responded four minutes later. Alexander Lopez lofted a perfect pass into the path of the streaking Jason Johnson in the left side of the area, and the rookie took a touch before pushing his shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • But early in the second half, the Red Bulls again grabbed the lead. Thierry Henry collected a ball from Bradley Wright-Phillips and, after a miss-hit back pass from Houston midfielder Adam Moffat, walked into the box and finished past Hall.
  • The Red Bulls stuck in the dagger in the 59th minute. Wright-Phillips put a ball over the top and Steele beat the pulled-up Dynamo back line, rounded Hall and calmly finished for the Red Bulls’ third.
  • With the Dynamo pushing forward, Lloyd Sam found a fourth goal for the visitors, side-footing home from the heart of the area as the Houston back line was pulled apart with sharp passing.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Mike Chabala, Alexander Lopez and Giles Barnes all came into the team, in place of Corey Ashe, Brad Davis and Andrew Driver.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Warren Creavalle, Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala (Brian Ching 80) - Adam Moffat (Ricardo Clark 53), Alexander Lopez (Brian Ownby 60) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Jason Johnson - Cam Weaver.



  • The Dynamo allowed a club-record four goals in a home match in the loss to New York. They have allowed 12 goals in their last four matches.
  • “We’ve given up five and four in two of our last four games,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “There’s three parts to the game, attacking, defending and transition as they call it or when the ball turns over. When one is not doing well you have to address it with the group.”
  • “The chances they got were not just half-chances; they were breakaways or clear shots,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “If the other team is taking chances and getting half-chances and running away with the ball with difficult shot, that’s one thing. But when it’s a one-on-one, there’s been a breakdown. We’ve had a handful of games now on the trot where we haven’t been good enough,” Hall continued. “I think there’s a common thread.”
  • The match against Philadelphia will be the first of two over the next three weeks against clubs directly around the Dynamo in the bid for a playoff position. They travel to New England on Sept. 28.
  • “We were talking about winning the East a month ago. It was looking very possible. We’re stagnant in one spot. The goal has been scaled back,” Hall said. “… We’re not mad because we’re feeling like it’s slipping away. We’re mad because we know we’re a good team and we’re capable of far greater than this.”
  • Making a second consecutive start, Jason Johnson scored his first professional goal, in his 11th league appearance.
  • Alexander Lopez made his first MLS start in the center of midfield and contributed his first assist.
  • After missing the last three matches, Ricardo Clark returned to action, coming off the bench for the final 37 minutes in place of Adam Moffat.
  • “We miss Rico, he’s a big part of this team,” Dynamo captain Brad Davis said. “We haven’t had our full team almost all year. That’s frustrating. It really is. We’ve been missing a lot of guys for a lot of time. It’s great to have Rico out there.”
  • Mike Chabala made his first league start of the season, coming in at left back, with Corey Ashe out with a leg injury and Jermaine Taylor on international duty.
  • Andrew Driver was out with a leg injury, after coming off before the hour mark in the loss to Columbus, then there was another late absence after Davis was called into the U.S. national team the day before the New York match.
  • “You have to deal with it,” Kinnear said. “You can’t talk about people who aren’t here. We know they’re not here, but you can’t talk about them because they can’t help you at that moment.”

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