Philadelphia Union vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
Sept. 20, 2014 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #268)
7 p.m. ET (TCN-Phi; CSN-Hou+)

A crucial match in the Eastern Conference playoff chase is ahead when Philadelphia Union play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union currently hold down the final playoff position in the division, tied for fifth place following their 2-2 home draw with the New York Red Bulls last weekend. The Dynamo are five points further back, their undefeated run now at three games following a 2-2 home draw with the Columbus Crew last Saturday.

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Danny Thornberry; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 23.9; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 4; pens: 14

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Fabinho, Raymon Gaddis … HOU: Will Bruin, Boniek Garcia, Kofi Sarkodie

ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Union 3 wins, 11 goals … Dynamo 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
AT PHILADELPHIA (5 meetings): Union 1 win, 5 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 3

2014 (MLS):
4/19: PHI 0, HOU 0
8/15: HOU 2, PHI 0 (Bruin 51; own goal 90)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Will Bruin scored early in the second half before an own goal sealed the match in a 2-0 Dynamo victory, Aug. 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium. They played to a scoreless draw April 19 at PPL Park.
  • The Dynamo have a five-game undefeated streak alive against Union, with four wins and a draw in that time. The Dynamo have won the last four meetings at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. PHI: P11 W5 L3 D3 … Jim Curtin vs. HOU: P1 W0 L1 D0


  • The Dynamo took the lead six minutes into the second half. Brad Davis released Giles Barnes down the left flank, and he drove a low ball across the face of goal. Will Bruin beat his defender to the ball and poked it home for the opener.
  • The Dynamo were gifted an insurance goal in the dying minutes of the match when Omar Cummings sent in a pass from the left and an unsuspecting Raymon Gaddis directed the ball past his own goalkeeper for an own goal.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia (Brian Ownby 90), Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 76) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin (Omar Cummings 87).
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake - Raymon Gaddis, Carlos Valdes, Maurice Edu, Fabinho - Brian Carroll, Amobi Okugo - Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey 76), Vincent Nogueira (Fred 72), Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 61) - Pedro Ribeiro.


Philadelphia Union stretched their undefeated run to four games in dramatic fashion, getting a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Union are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points from 28 games.


  • After the start of the game was delayed by a rainstorm, the Red Bulls were two goals ahead by halftime. In the 35th minute, Union center back Ethan White was whistled for a foul in the box after taking down Peguy Luyindula, who was trying to chase down a loose ball. Luyindula then buried the ensuing penalty kick past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, who guessed incorrectly.
  • Five minutes later, Thierry Henry gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 advantage. He fired a pass from Chris Duvall first-time near the top of the box that MacMath was able to get his body in front of the shot, but the ball bounced off of him and into the back of the net.
  • Union answered just one minute later. Andrew Wenger wriggled free from his marker in the left corner and got free by the endline. He then sent in a low, driven cross that Pedro Ribeiro was able to get his foot onto and turn home.
  • Then in stoppage time, Ribeiro was taken down in the box by Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya and referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot. Sebastien Le Toux stepped up and converted the resulting penalty for the equalizer.
  • Union interim manager Jim Curtin made five changes to the team that took a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Fabinho came into the back four in place of Sheanon Williams, Danny Cruz, Brian Carroll and Fred started in the midfield in place of Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana, and Pedro Ribeiro came in up top in favor of Conor Casey.
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath - Raymon Gaddis, Ethan White, Maurice Edu, Fabinho - Brian Carroll (Vincent Nogueira 70), Amobi Okugo - Danny Cruz (Sebastien Le Toux 48), Fred (Cristian Maidana 61), Andrew Wenger - Pedro Ribeiro.


  • Union extended their overall undefeated streak to four matches, though their winning run came to an end after three games. Union also extended their league undefeated streak at PPL Park to seven matches, though a four-game home winning run came to an end.
  • Pedro Ribeiro scored his first MLS goal in his second career league start, all three of his MLS appearances coming over the last five matches. Ribeiro was the 15th pick overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
  • “He had a long year playing with Harrisburg. He rises to the occasion every time,” said Union interim manager Jim Curtin. “He’s a soccer player, man. He’s solid. He has great feet. He’s a great teammate and he always has a smile on his face. I can’t say enough about him. He’s going to be a part of this organization for long time.”
  • Said Ribeiro: “[Curtin] has confidence in me and I took the opportunity. I could have done a lot of stuff better, like holding up the ball and making plays. But it was a decent result.”
  • Sebastien Le Toux scored his 12th goal of the season, the most goals he’s had in an MLS campaign since scoring 14 goals in his first season with Union in 2010. Le Toux converted his fifth penalty kick this season in five attempts; he has converted 12 penalties in 12 tries in MLS games with Union.
  • “I try not to think too much about it, I have a spot and I try to make sure I hit it. Luckily for me, I have been fortunate in my career here to finish them and get goals for the team which makes me happy,” Le Toux said.
  • Fred made his second start of the season, his first since May 31, coming into the attacking midfield role. He had made seven substitute appearances over the previous 12 league matches.
  • Danny Cruz and Fabinho also returned to the starting lineup for the first time in four matches, since starting the Aug. 15 match vs. Houston.
  • “We have healthy competition across all the positions. You can see now that when you go to a Danny Cruz, a Brian Carroll and a Fabinho, they all played 20 games and more this year for us. So it’s not like this crazy idea. With Fred, I know he has the experience to manage a game. I thought he was excellent tonight in that role,” said Curtin.
  • On Tuesday, Union saw their bid for a first trophy in club history come to an end when they were defeated 3-1 by Seattle Sounders FC in extra time in the U.S. Open Cup Final at PPL Park. Philadelphia’s Maurice Edu and Seattle’s Chad Barrett traded goals on either side of halftime, but goals from Clint Dempsey (101) and Obafemi Martins (114) gave Sounders FC their fourth Open Cup title.
  • Here’s the Union team: Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams (Fred 105), Carlos Valdes, Ethan White, Raymon Gaddis; Sebastien Le Toux, Maurice Edu, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana; Andrew Wenger (Danny Cruz 81), Conor Casey (Pedro Ribeiro 78).


The Houston Dynamo stretched their undefeated streak to three matches, reaching a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points from 27 games.


  • The Dynamo had the lead after 12 minutes when Crew forward Aaron Schoenfeld, battling with Dynamo center back A.J. Cochran, won the header on a corner kick but turned the ball into his own goal.
  • The doubled the lead in the 38th minute. A sharp through ball Omar Cummings found strike partner in the box Giles Barnes, and he chipped it over onrushing Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark inside the far post to make it 2-0.
  • But the Crew pulled a goal back just three minutes into the second half. Wil Trapp settled a Waylon Francis throw-in from goal and with no defender within 10 yards snuck a long-range shot past goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
  • Six minutes later the Crew equalized. This time it was Ethan Finlay taking advantage of space. Federico Higuain hit a sharp cross to the back post and with no defender marking, Finlay powered a header home from the corner of the goal area.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that took a 3-2 victory against the Montréal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kofi Sarkodie came into the back four for Corey Ashe.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia (Brian Ownby 46), Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 58) - Omar Cummings (Alexander Lopez 83), Giles Barnes.


  • While the Dynamo had a two-game winning streak come to an end, they did extend their overall undefeated run to three games, the club’s longest since April 27-May 7.
  • “It’s a disappointment. We played wonderful in the first half, possibly the best first half we played in a long time. Then in the second half it’s a bit of a turnaround, come out with a point,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We were looking for three, come out with one, and it makes the job tougher.”
  • The Dynamo failed to close out with a victory for the first time in five games this season when leading at halftime. They were the final team in MLS this year that had won every game when holding the lead after 45 minutes.
  • “We’re highly disappointed in the result,” said Brad Davis. “Going up 2-0 we had a great first half and had a slow start to the second half. We had a great opportunity with New York and Philly drawing. We had an opportunity to climb again and we missed out on it.”
  • Said center back David Horst: “We just didn’t bring the same energy we had [in the first half],”. “We need to close games like that out. That’s a sign of a playoff team, a team that can close those games out. Just means we have to go out and win games on the road now.”
  • The Dynamo also extended their undefeated streak at BBVA Compass Stadium to six games. They snapped a club-record seven-game road losing slide in their last away game, the 3-1 win at Sporting KC on Aug. 29.
  • “With the games ticking off we go and play another team that’s ahead of us. We know what we have to go and do. We have to start getting results. We missed one here and we need to go there and make up for it,” said Davis.
  • Said DaMarcus Beasley: “I think it comes down more so to concentrating for 90 minutes. We’ve lacked that sometimes. Right now we’re only playing 75, and those other 15 minutes those teams are coming at us and push to get their win because we’re playing East Coast teams and we’re all trying to make the playoffs.”
  • Giles Barnes scored his eighth goal of the season, his third over the last two matches. Barnes is one goal away from his best single season in his three MLS campaigns, when he had nine goals a year ago.
  • Omar Cummings made his second consecutive start, his first two since June 29, and recorded an assist for a second consecutive match.
  • “Speed kills in any league. Whether you’re playing in Champions League or the World Cup or MLS it doesn’t matter, speed kills,” said DaMarcus Beasley. “Omar’s been a huge, huge part of that. He holds the ball, he fights and has been very helpful for Giles [Barnes] up top.”
  • “He’s done well. I thought the first half looked really good. He was running into space and creating problems for them,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We all know that about Omar, his ability to run behind the defense can be a positive for us.”
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Season Goal Leaders

Season Stats

Philadelphia UnionHouston Dynamo
28Games Played27
43Goals Conceded50
125Shots on Target121
346Fouls committed346
326Fouls suffered291

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