The Houston Dynamo reverted to a familiar script on Saturday evening, locking down the backline and getting a restart goal to take a much-needed 1-0 win from the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Houston's lone goal, and the lone goal of the match, came in the 53rd minute and it was vintage Dynamo. Brad Davis swung in a free kick from 40 yards out, and Ricardo Clark was able to squeeze between two defenders to head home from from inside the six. It was just the third goal the Dynamo had scored in their last five matches, but it was a crucial one that gave them their first win in six.
With the victory, Houston leapfrogged the hosts into fourth place in the Eastern Conference on 40 points. Philadelphia remained in fifth on 39, pending the result of the Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution match.
For the Union it was more of the same as they were shut out for the fourth time in five outings. They've scored just once in the last month as they've seen a once secure hold on a playoff spot nearly slip away.
The offensive struggles weren't for lack of chances, however. Philadelphia's Conor Casey had a trio of first-half headers that he couldn't quite redirect on frame, including one absolute sitter on a perfect cross from Fabinho, while Jack McInerney contrived to push a late 1-v-1 with Tally Hall just wide.
Philly did find the net one time, and it was the source of some controversy. Keon Daniel bent in a 40-yard free kick that Hall misjudged in the 30th minute, allowing the cross to turn into a shot that seemed to put the home side up 1-0. But it was ruled out after defender Amobi Okugo had been adjudged offside on the play.
On the Dynamo side, the Clark goal was a welcome respite from a series of missed chances by the forward pairing of Will Bruin and Cam Weaver. Both spurned great looks in the first half, and Bruin had yet another breakaway in the second that he couldn't convert.
Houston return home next Saturday when they host Chivas USA. The Union have a bye week before beginning their run-in with a Friday night road trip to Sporting KC on Sept. 27.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Brad Davis||Wasn't great, but had a chance to make a play and did so. In this game, that was enough.|
|2||Fabinho||A constant danger up and down the left flank, and by all rights should have had at least one assist.|
|3||Bobby Boswell||Read most of Philly's attacks well, stepping into the play to snuff out fires before they started|