The Houston Dynamo finished off their two game road trip with a stop in Chester, Pennsylvania with a 2-1 loss against the Philadelphia Union. The Dynamo have been desperate for points, losing the last three games before entering the contest against the Union and unfortunately that streak has been extended to four. Despite a strong first half and start to the second, the team again reverted to a more defensive mindset which allowed the Union to regain possession in our half and increase their chances.
Wilmer Cabrera utilized a very different starting XI than the group he sent out earlier in the week against New York City FC. The lineup featured a change in goal going back to Joe Willis and recent additions Christian Ramirez and José Bizama made their debuts. Also it’s worth noting that Alberth Elis was available following his suspension, but Cabrera opted to keep him on the bench in possibly a disciplinary decision.
Early on the Dynamo came out with a lot of pressure especially in the midfield which helped them keep the Union inside their own half. In the 11th minute that pressure helped the Dynamo regain possession often and it led to a chance for Christian Ramirez, but he swung and missed on what could’ve been a great start for the new Dynamo player.
Despite the encouraging early play by the Dynamo, it would be the Union that opened the scoring. After stopping a Houston attack, the Union passed well on the counter. A nice give and go by Haris Medunjanin set up Kacper Przybylko to get the home side up in the 18th minute. Joe Willis will want that one back as the save looked routine, but went through his hands and into the net.
After the opening goal, the Union sat a little deeper – an effective game plan against the Dynamo – which made it difficult for Houston to break them down. Still the increased possession was promising and took pressure off the back group as Philadelphia’s offense primarily came off the counter attack.
The Union nearly doubled their lead in the 39th minute starting with the team’s designated player and number 10 Marco Fabián. Fabián got free on our left side of the field and delivered a very accurate cross which met the head of Aurélien Collin, but Collin couldn’t steer the ball into the back post net as it went out for a goal kick.
Christian Ramirez would help the Dynamo get level before the halftime mark. The Dynamo began pushing the ball wide where they had found space and Beasley was free down the left side. He got his head up and played it to Ramirez who took one touch and blasted it passed the defense and goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Ramirez nearly got himself a second goal right after the second half kickoff as he attempted to chip Blake, but his effort was cleared off the line by Jack Elliot. The clearance fell to Tomás Martínez, but his one-time hit was well off target.
As the game wore on, the Dynamo dropped back a bit which was partially helped by the use of substitutes by the Philadelphia Union. As a result, the Union increased their possession in Houston’s half and their number of chances as well. The Union were able to get another ball in the back of the net, but the Dynamo were bailed out by the offside flag.
A story we’ve read before, as a result of sitting deep the Union were able to get their second goal of the game in the 78th minute thanks to Jack Elliot. A ball had been played into the box and popped up and struck the crossbar. Elliot was the first to the ball and headed the ball passed Willis.
Houston looked to push for an equalizer late with Niko Hansen making his debut to provide some help off the bench. The Dynamo were forced to finish the match with 10 men following an injury to Juan David Cabezas with Cabrera out of substitutes. Hansen immediately helped spark a chance as he got loose down the right side and put a ball across goal, but the Dynamo were unable to capitalize on it.
The final whistle would blow and Houston would again move on without picking up any points. There were some obvious bright spots like the first half and the beginning of the second along with the performances of Christian Ramirez and José Bizama. However, too often the Dynamo decide to sit back when they need to be pushing for more. Credit the tactics and changes by the Union, but for most of the second half the team didn’t look like it needed to push for a game winner.
Next up is the Colorado Rapids back at BBVA Stadium on Saturday August 17th at 8:00 PM CT.
18’ PHI: Kacper Przybylko (assisted by Haris Medunjanin)
42’ HOU: Christian Ramirez (assisted by DaMarcus Beasley, Memo Rodríguez)
78’ PHI: Jack Elliot
34’ HOU: Maynor Figueroa (yellow card)
58’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley (67’ Adam Lundqvist), Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, José Bizama (83’ Niko Hansen); Oscar Boniek García, Memo Rodríguez, Juan David Cabezas; Christian Ramirez (71’ Alberth Elis), Mauro Manotas, Tomás Martínez
Philadelphia Union (4-4-2 diamond): Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Aurélien Collin, Jack Elliot, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Warren Creavalle (54’ Jamiro Monteiro), Alejandro Bedyoa, Marco Fabián (86’ Fabrice-Jean Picault); Andrew Wooten (59’ Ilsinho), Kacper Przybylko