Match #32: Philadelphia Union At Houston Dynamo

The Union (10-15-6) travel to BBVA Compass Stadium for the second time this season, looking to put a dent in the playoff hopes of the Dynamo (13-8-11).

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Controverial Call And Poor Play Down The Union

Poor play and a controversial call by referee Mark Geiger added up to a 3-1 loss for the Philadelphia Union.


Controversial Penalty Gives Dynamo 3-1

When the goals rain in, they pour against the Philadelphia Union.

As if nothing could get worse after the problems the team has had tonight, the third goal that the Union gave up was mired in controversy.

Referee Mark Geiger, much maligned in American soccer circles for what has been criticized as inconsistent and incorrect game calling, pointed to the spot after a Carlos Valdes challenge on Will Bruin. The incident occurred when Bruin missed an attempt from inside of the Union box.

Valdes slid in as the shot took place and the initial take was that he had helped to stop the shot from going on target. However, replays showed that the Colombian international came in slightly late and his follow through nicked Bruin a little bit after the shot had already left the striker's foot.

Geiger decided that it was enough to call a penalty, in the face of color commentator Kyle Martino's statements to the contrary. Martino explained to viewers of NBC Sports Network's broadcast that it was not nearly enough for a referee to call a penalty, especially when players often are tackled much worse after shots throughout games.

Brad Davis stepped up to take the penalty and sent MacMath the wrong way, finishing low and to the left, while MacMath dove to the right.

A two goal lead gave the Dynamo a more positive outlook on the Eastern Conference playoff picture, where they're fighting D.C. United for the fifth and final spot.


Boniek Strike Sends Houston Ahead of Philadelphia

Despite lacking possession and anything resembling an offensive game plan, the Philadelphia Union were holding onto a 1-1 scoreline against the Houston Dynamo in the second half.

Then Oscar Boniek struck.

An incredibly quick counter attack by the Dynamo ended with the Union absolutely stunned and on the wrong end of three points.

Tally Hall, Houston's goalkeeper, collected the ball after a Union free kick and smartly rolled it forward, out of his own 18. Brian Ching received the ball and played it ahead toward Boniek, who was racing toward the Union box.

Boniek was able to easily compose himself on the ball and attempted a curled shot at the near post. Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath appeared to cheat toward the far post and was only able to get his hands on the shot as it glanced off and went into the back of the net.

A win would help the Dynamo stay in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, in which they were fighting D.C. United for the last spot.


Philadelphia and Houston Tied at Halftime 1-1

Pride has remained the main rallying cry for the Philadelphia Union, but they're also playing spoiler tonight versus the Houston Dynamo.

A loss or tie will put the Dynamo in a tough position to make the playoffs this season, despite playing in the Major League Soccer Cup final last year against the L.A. Galaxy.

At the moment, the two teams were tied at 1-1.

Mac Kandji's fifth minute goal gave the Dynamo a rather fast 1-0 lead, slotting home a finish to the far post from inside of the Union 18. The forward won a 50/50 challenge with Carlos Valdes and angled himself well away from Amobi Okugo to shoot past Zac MacMath.

The 19th minute gave the Union a tying goal, as Jack McInerney leapt over his marker and headed a floater into the back of the Dynamo net. Houston goalekeeper Tally Hall ran backward, but was unable to catch up to the headed attempt.

For the better part of the first half, the Union were lagging behind the Dynamo in team speed, physicality and cohesiveness. McInerney's goal was uplifting for Philadelphia, but did little to alleviate their midfield or defensive problems throughout the first 45 minutes.


McInerney's Header Ties the Game in Style

Mac Kandji's goal demoralized the Philadelphia Union, but 14 minutes later they found some optimism in the in-form Jack McInerney.

The Union's starting striker was able to latch onto the end of a Sheanon Williams cross in the Houston Dynamo box and struck it solidly with his head. The ball lofted upward and floated into the left side of the Houston goal.

Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was left stunned as McInerney celebrated his fourth goal in as many games.

The Union said on Twitter that McInerney is now the team's record holder for consecutive games with goals scored. Sebastien Le Toux, who is the franchise record holder for career goals and goals in a season, held the record previously with three straight games with goals scored.

As it stands, the Union will have moved the Dynamo out of the playoff picture with this scoreline. The Dynamo need to win to prevent dropping out of the playoff picture after appearing in the Major League Soccer Cup final last year.


Kandji's Goal Gives Houston a Quick Lead

Mac Kandji got tonight's game on NBC Sports Network off to a fast start, as the Houston Dynamo striker scored in the fifth minute.

The striker received a lobbed ball over the center of the Union 18's semi-circle, putting him at odds with Philadelphia central defender Carlos Valdes, who was also challenging for the ball. Kandji raised his boot as Valdes wound up for a clearance and the Colombian defender ended up kicking the forward's studs.

Valdes went to the ground and was clearly in pain. Kandji took his space well and ran against Amobi Okugo in the box for positioning to shoot the ball.

Kandji was able to find an easy angle to fire home, beating Zac MacMath at the far post, as he shot across his body. The goal put the Dynamo up 1-0 and gave them hope to continue fighting for a playoff spot.

If Houston loses or ties tonight it will move out of playoff position in Major League Soccer's post-season.


Brotherly Game Game Thread Union at Dynamo

Talk about the game (Houston Dynamo-Philadelphia Union) inside with other Union fans and Brotherly Game staff.

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