The Philadelphia Union’s offense seemed a little out of sync
playing without its leading scorer last time out.
They’re going to need to get their attack sorted out quickly to
stay in the hunt for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Union will try to get back on track Saturday night when they
host a Houston Dynamo team that is winless on the road.
Philadelphia (8-5-8) had been atop the East for much of July but
has since fallen behind Columbus after securing just one point in
its last two games. The Union, who visit the Crew in two weeks,
played to a 1-all draw with Chicago on Wednesday after losing 2-1
to Colorado last Friday.
Philadelphia was playing its first game Wednesday since
announcing Carlos Ruiz was being released, and it showed. The
offense managed one shot on goal – a Veljko Paunovic score in the
34th minute – and seemed to miss Ruiz, who had six goals and a
team-best 14 shots on goal.
Although the Union squandered a second-half lead against the
lowly Fire, they remained upbeat.
“In the end, I think we have to be satisfied with the game,”
Paunovic told the Union’s official website. “We got one point. This
was a very hard game for us. So I think one point is not bad.”
Philadelphia, 5-1-4 at home, likely won’t feel the same way if
it doesn’t earn a full three points this weekend.
The Dynamo are 0-4-6 away from Houston, one of three MLS teams
winless on the road. Shaky defense is one of the biggest reasons
for those struggles, as they’ve yielded at least two goals in three
of the last four matches away from Robertson Stadium.
Houston (6-7-9), though, is coming off an impressive 3-1 victory
over Seattle last Saturday, just its third win in 15 games
Brian Ching scored twice and Colin Clark added a goal for the
Dynamo, who scored more than two goals for the first time since
beating D.C. 4-1 on April 29, a span of 15 matches.
“I think it’s the best we have played this year,” coach Dominic
Kinnear told the Dynamo’s official website.
The win came at a cost, though, as Will Bruin suffered a left
knee injury. The rookie forward, tied for the team lead with four
goals, had surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss four to six
Help is on the way, however, as Carlo Costly finalized his
international transfer Friday. The 29-year-old forward has scored
18 goals in 48 games for the Honduran national team.
“We’re very excited,” Kinnear said. “He has pace, power and a
nose for goal. I think his passion will come through. Hopefully he
can get on the field soon and score some goals for us and help us
get to the playoffs and beyond.”
The Dynamo lost 1-0 to Philadelphia in the season opener March
19, falling to 0-2-1 all-time in the series.