Despite being mathematically eliminated from the MLS postseason after Seattle’s 3-2 victory over Toronto FC earlier on Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Union battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at PPL Park against a Houston Dynamo side that had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
An early goal from Canadian defender Andrew Hainault was canceled out by one of the Union’s best goals of the season, scored by MVP candidate Sebastien Le Toux just before halftime. It was the Frenchman's 13th tally of the year, which leaves him just one goal shy of the league lead.
The visiting Dynamo had more chances in the match and played a stronger 90 minutes but were not able to walk away with a win. Forward Cam Weaver had a wide-open header in second-half stoppage time that grazed the crossbar with a chance to win it.
Houston came into PPL Park determined to play well, and in the early stages of the match they did just that, taking the match to the Union on Philly's home turf. Controlling the tempo, Houston pressured Brad Knighton’s goal with a number of chances that tested the young goalkeeper’s resolve.
The Dynamo were able to make the breakthrough in the 12th minute of the match after some sloppy corner coverage from the Union led to Hainault’s first goal of the season. Hainault kept the play alive from the initial delivery, then followed up the rebound of a shot from Brad Davis which Knighton parried right to the Houston left back. The Canadian fired it home to give the Dynamo the 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia slowly recovered from the goal and began to see more of the ball as the first half opened up. Working the ball through Le Toux, the Union transitioned into the possession style that they have grown into as the season has gone on.
It was Le Toux again who was able to bring Philly level with a classy goal in the 40th minute. Taking the ball down magnificently in the middle of the box from a Roger Torres cross, the French striker had one touch to settle the ball and then used his next to slot it home past Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
The teams went into the break all level and for most of the second half were not able to do much to change the score line. Swapping minutes on the ball, Philadelphia and Houston battled to a 1-1 draw despite Weaver's late chance and a Houston claim for a penalty kick when Brian Ching appeared to be bumped out of a clear chance.
Houston Dynamo (7-14-6) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-13-7)
October 02, 2010 -- PPL Park, Chester PA
HOU -- Andrew Hainault 1 (unassisted) 12
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 13 (Roger Torres 5) 40
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 2 (Brad Davis 9) 70
HOU -- Dominic Oduro 4 (Brian Ching 3, Lovel Palmer 1) 100+
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad,
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala, Joseph Ngwenya, Eddie Robinson.
Philadelphia Union -- Brad Knighton, Sheanon Williams,
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, J.T. Noone, Amobi Okugo, Toni Stahl.
PHI -- Jordan Harvey (caution; Tactical Foul) 38
HOU -- Brad Davis (caution; Tactical Foul) 58
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Joe Fletcher; Peter Balciunas
4th official: Abbey Okulaja
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial