MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
04/18/2014 4:25 PM
04/18/2014 4:52 PM
Houston (2-3-0) at Philadelphia (1-2-4), 4 p.m.
Chester, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Union will look to snap a five-game winless run when the team returns home to face a struggling Houston Dynamo side at PPL Park.
After earning their first win of the season against the New England Revolution, Philadelphia has struggled to earn positive results, entering the match with three straight draws and a loss.
Philadelphia collected a late equalizer from Maurice Edu to earn a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake last weekend, but stumbled to a 2-1 loss to Red Bull New York on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.
After a scoreless first half, Philadelphia fell behind in the 57th minute when Eric Alexander fed a streaking Roy Miller on the overlap on the left flank, and he squared a ball to an unmarked Thierry Henry, who side-footed home from the center of the area.
Ten minutes later, the Red Bulls doubled their lead. Alexander dribbled towards the goal line before clipping a ball to the back post, where Lloyd Sam was lurking, and he nodded home with a powerful strike.
But the Union battled back to pull within one 10 minutes from time after Sebastien Le Toux converted a penalty kick following a handball in the box by Ibrahim Sekagya.
Sekagya was sent off by referee Ricardo Salazar, but the Union were only able to generate one shot with the extra man over the final 10 minutes and suffered their second loss of the season.
"Not only did we let them off the hook, but we should have had them in the second half, too," said Union manager John Hackworth. "We knew they were going to be dangerous if we let them hang around for as long as we did. Very frustrating to play as well as we did in some aspects of that game and then be down 2-0."
Houston, meanwhile, has also had its struggles this season, coming into the match riding a three-game losing streak following a 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
The Revolution took the lead in the 68th minute. Kevin Alston worked a one-two with Daigo Kobayashi to create on opportunity, and Teal Bunbury's last touch left Alston with an open chance about 13 yards out that he buried for his first MLS goal.
The home side capped the win in stoppage time. From a long ball deep in the New England half, Jerry Bengtson was able to sweep in ahead of goalkeeper Tally Hall, pick up the ball on the fly and get into the box behind Hall, burying home past a sliding defender from close range.
"You have to keep things in perspective," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "Have things been going good? Absolutely not, and we understand that. On the other side of it, if we put a couple of wins together we'll be right back on top. Reality is always a good reminder of what's around you and I think we've experienced a lot to know that five games in we're not out of the chase."
In two meetings between the sides last season, Houston won both matches by a 1-0 score.
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