The Houston Dynamo continued their inconsistent form with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union Saturday night at Robertson Stadium, following a victory with a loss for the fifth consecutive time. Now 5-5-1, the Dynamo face two road games in four days on opposite coasts, taking on the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
Houston midfielder Brad Davis set up both Dynamo goals and now has six assists on the season, second in Major League Soccer. Forward Brian Ching returned from national team duty as a halftime substitute and scored just seven minutes later, heading in a Davis free kick for Ching’s first goal of the year. Also returning from national team duty, Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad made a season high five saves.
The Dynamo lost two players to injury in the game, with defenders Mike Chabala and Eddie Robinson leaving the game in the 45th and 76th minutes, respectively.
Philadelphia took the lead in the 39th minute when midfielder Shea Salinas won the ball at the end line, dribbled into the box, and chipped the ball over a charging Pat Onstad just inside the far post.
After getting just one shot in the first half, the Dynamo came out firing in the second half, getting seven shots in the first 22 minutes of the half and scoring with headed goals from Brian Ching and Eddie Robinson, the first of the year for both players.
Philadelphia responded behind Seabstien Le Toux and second-half subs Danny Mwanga and Roger Torres. First, Torres and Mwanga combined to set up Le Toux at the top of the penalty area, and he side-footed a low shot behind Onstad to tie the game in the 69th minute. Then three minutes into stoppage time, Le Toux broke down the right and fed Mwanga for the game-winning goal, the second straight game in which the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft has scored in stoppage time.
The loss was Houston’s third of the year at home (4-3) after the Dynamo had gone 18-2-10 at home in the 2008-09 seasons. Holder of the best home record in MLS regular season play from 2006-09, Houston lost three home games in the regular season in both championship seasons, 2006 and 2007.
Houston has now played 11 games without recording the same result in any consecutive games; they have followed each of their five losses with a win.
Brian Mullan made his 170th, Brian Ching made his 125th, and defender Bobby Boswell his 95th career appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions. Forward Dominic Oduro made his 100th career regular season appearance in MLS play.
The Dynamo played without midfielder Geoff Cameron (PCL surgery) and defender Adrian Serioux (personal).
Next Game: Wednesday, June 2, 6:30 p.m. CT, Dynamo at New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Arena, Harrison NJ
Next Home Game: Saturday, June 19, 8 p.m. CT, Dynamo vs. Águila (Dynamo Charities Cup), Robertson Stadium
Next Home MLS Game: Saturday, June 26, 7:30 p.m. CT, Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids, Robertson Stadium
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
On the game …
“It’s disappointing. It’s a terrible way to end the game. To have a lead in the second half and play the way we did in the second half is a huge letdown for us. We scored two great goals. I’m not pleased about having to make two defensive substitutions when we have some great firepower on the bench that we could not go to. I give Philadelphia credit. They came in, worked hard, and gave us problems.”
On the injury substitutions …
“It’s one of those things where you are thinking about substitutions as the game goes on because we play Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, and I hopefully had a plan in place, and that wasn’t going to happen because those two subs came along. Brian’s inclusion into the team gave us life and energy, but we just looked too spaced, too far apart … and that’s the sign of an inconsistent team. When you are confident, everyone is happy and talking, and when things aren’t going your way there are a lot of quiet voices out there.”
On his team’s performance …
“We had a couple decent looks. I’m not pleased though. We were inconsistent again. I let the guys know, I wasn’t happy with them at halftime. All in all, the guys should be disappointed, I think we all are.”
On Philadelphia …
“If the game against Dallas gave any indication of the way they are playing, they don’t care about their record, they are here to play and try and win. That is why you have to give them credit. They gave us problems by winning a lot of first balls and winning a lot of second balls and never giving up. And that is the one thing we said before the game, this team is fighting for everything. I said if we don’t come out and meet them head on, we would have trouble and we were asking for it.”
“It’s hard to talk about inconsistency because I think if you look at it, you can point at certain things, we aren’t doing this correctly and then we are doing this correctly. I can define inconsistency for you: One game the forwards are holding the ball well and the next game the forwards are not holding the ball well. The outside backs are passing the ball well one game and not passing the ball well the next game. We are dangerous on set pieces one game and not the next. What we spoke about is that the messages aren’t inconsistent, but the performances are. And that’s why I’m angry with the way we played, because you want to put your finger on it and find out the answer, and the answer is the next game, and then we go backwards to the question.”
HOUSTON DYNAMO FORWARD BRIAN CHING
On the game …
“They were a better team over the course of the game. Tonight Dom said that was the case. It’s frustrating. You look at the history of this club over the last four years, and you could probably say we are one of the best teams over those four years. This year being 5-5, a lot of teams in front of us would probably take that, but with the history we’ve had, we’re all embarrassed here. To lose three games at home just this year when over the past two years I think we’ve lost two games in total at home, it shows … I’m just frustrated. I shake my head at it. The energy level isn’t good enough. They haven’t been good enough. I think that everyone of us as players has to look at themselves. I raise my hand for this game, because I think I should have done more in the second half to lift our team. I should have held the ball more. It’s something that I think we all are going to have look into ourselves and be better and demand more. Our fans deserve better. The club history deserves better. When you suit up as a Dynamo player, you expect to play for one of the best teams in the league. At this point in the season, it’s not the case. It’s a job for every single one of us as players to come out and stand up and be men. From this point in the season, move forward and put this behind us and step up.”
On scoring seven minutes after entering the game …
“I was happy to get the ball in the net, but if you look at the scheme of things, we lost, and that’s the most important stat to me. It’s all about wins here and the trophy at the end of the year, and at this point in the season, we’re looking like a team that won’t be competing for that trophy. It’s up to us to turn things around.”
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER LOVEL PALMER
On the game …
“The coaching staff went through their team, player by player, to see what they do, so we knew what they were going to come do, and they did it, but we just were not up to the task. They did exactly what the coaching staff said, but we just didn’t concentrate. We let down the coaches.”
On facing opponents’ best efforts …
“Every game for the Dynamo is tough, because the Dynamo are one of the best teams in the league with the best players, and everyone plays hard to beat us, even when they are not playing well against other teams.”