Photo by USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
With Friday’s contest providing the team with their 400th minute played in less than a week, the Philadelphia Union finally succumbed to both tired legs and minds.
The Union, playing their third game in six days, fell to the Houston Dynamo, 2-0, Friday at BBVA Compass Stadium with Will Bruin scoring for the Dynamo before the visitors conceded a late own goal.
The Dynamo came out of the gates as the more active team, with the hosts maintaining 60 percent of possession through the game’s opening half.
Despite controlling the tempo throughout, the Dynamo failed to register a chance until the 35th minute. The hosts used a quick sequence of passing to set up a chance for midfielder Ricardo Clark to test the Union’s debuting rookie goalkeeper, Andre Blake, who made the save, the first of his career.
Sebastian Le Toux responded quickly for the Union by registering a pair of chances in the 35th and 36th minutes, although the midfielder failed to score.
Bruin made no such mistake when he got his chance in the 51st minute, as the Dynamo forward converted into an open net to make the score 1-0.
After being released by a pinpoint through ball from Brad Davis, forward Giles Barnes dribbled into space on the left side of the Union box. With no defender in sight, Barnes slid a ball across the box to Bruin, who proved to be a half-step faster than the Union defense. Bruin smashed the ball first time past Blake, giving the hosts the one-goal lead.
Following Bruins finish, the Dynamo looked to continue to test the Union’s tired legs, forcing Blake into making one of his seven saves on the night on a point-blank header off the head of Bruin in the 62nd minute.
There was nothing Blake could do to prevent the Dynamo from doubling their lead in the 90th minute, with Union defender Raymon Gaddis being responsible for conceding an unfortunate own goal in the game’s dying moments.
Substitute Omar Cummings was the catalyst, as the Dynamo forward found his way into space on the left side. The Jamaican attempted to slide the ball across the box to an open Barnes, but the ball deflected off Gaddis and past Blake, who was positioning himself for the expected cross.
With the victory, the Dynamo picked up the team’s 25th point of the season, just two points out of playoff position entering Saturday’s games.
The Dynamo will look to continue their playoff push August 23 when they visit the Columbus Crew, who enter Saturday with 27 points. Meanwhile, the Union will benefit from some much needed rest with their next contest coming August 24 against the San Jose Earthquakes.