The Philadelphia Union flirted with the prospect of dropping two costly points at home on Sunday, but were bailed out by a quirky but timely late winner from center back Jack Elliott that dispatched a luckless Houston Dynamo side 2-1 at Talen Energy Stadium.
The visitors entered the game on a three-game losing streak and a 2-10-1 skid dating back to May, and their confidence was further eroded when goalkeeper Joe Willis let a tame shot from Kacper Przybylko slip underneath him for the game's opening goal.
But Houston rallied and drew level on a sweet finish from new acquisition Christian Ramirez, who lashed home a DaMarcus Beasley cutback cross shortly before halftime. Just when it appeared they might dig out a road draw, Elliott latched onto a delivery into the Houston penalty box in the 78th minute and followed up when the rebound dinked off the crossbar to tap home the decisive goal.
- 18' — PHI — Kacper Przybylko | WATCH
- 42' — HOU — Christian Ramirez | WATCH
- 78' — PHI — Jack Elliott | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Though they held serve (and kept a nose ahead of ascendant Atlanta in the East standings) in the end, this game was a surprising slog for the first-place Union. Did their mentality slip, or do the Dynamo —who keep dropping points in the most painful ways possible — deserve credit for their dogged performance amid a woeful run of form?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Ellliott was the beneficiary of some fortunate bounces in the leadup to his goal, but it was the key play in a tight, balanced showdown.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Philly No. 6 Haris Medunjanin quietly produced yet another solid display at the base of midfield, and ranged forward to tab an assist on the opener.
- PHI: Saturday, Aug. 17 at Chicago Fire (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
- HOU: Saturday, Aug. 17 vs. Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)