Just like that, the Philadelphia Union seem to have found their mojo.
The Union rode a strong first half to a 2-0 home victory over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night. Fafa Picault scored the winner at Talen Energy Stadium with a potent header in the 17th minute, and Ilsinho doubled the lead 21 minutes later with a low finish.
Philadelphia's defense took over from there, limiting the Dynamo to few clear looks on goal en route to posting their fourth consecutive shutout.
- DON'T LOOK NOW: The Philadelphia Union's strong performance on Wednesday night was impressive, but what made it all the more noteworthy was that the outing was an extension of their recent improved play. With the victory, Philadelphia have won three games in a row, posted four straight shutouts for the first time in their history, and are undefeated in their last five matches. This Union team looks almost nothing like the one that slumped its way through the opening two months of the season, and that is bad news for the rest of the league, especially for clubs in the Eastern Conference.
- MAN FOR THE JOB?: Another important develop for Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin is that he may have just found his playmaker. Ilsinho turned in a strong shift against the Houston Dynamo, continuously collecting the ball and connecting passes forward. He scored a well-taken goal that gave the Union breathing room in the first half of the encounter, and could have had an assist shortly after the break when he hit a great through ball that Fafa Picault flubbed. Those were just two of Ilsinho's biggest contributions on the night, but his overall showing was solid.
- ROAD WOES CONTINUE: The Dynamo had some okay moments from the run of play, but for the most part (and once again) looked a shadow of the team that has been so dominant at home. Houston failed to break down the Union's stingy defense, as Erick 'Cubo' Torres, Mauro Manotas, Alex, and the rest of the Dynamo attack were held largely in check. The end result? A frustrating fourth loss in as many road games this season that will only raise more questions.