Two Houston Dynamo goals off set pieces were not enough as Sebastien Le Toux and rookie Danny Mwanga each scored second-half goals to earn the Philadelphia Union a 3-2 victory at Robertson Stadium on Saturday night.
It was the expansion team’s first ever win on the road, and the result ensured the Dynamo continue their pattern of alternating between wins and losses. All week the Dynamo had talked about starting the match with the same intensity the team brought to its game against D.C. United last Saturday, but in the first half Houston was flat and lifeless, and the Union took full advantage.
The visitors capitalized on their better play in the first half when Shea Salinas took the ball toward the corner before slipping by Bobby Boswell and breaking free along the endline. As Pat Onstad came out on Salinas, the Union midfielder deftly chipped the ball inside the far post from a tight angle to give the Union the halftime lead.
The home team attempted a response in the second half, with head coach Dominic Kinnear bringing on forward Brian Ching to a near standing ovation. The Dynamo forward took out his frustration at missing the World Cup squad by converting a header off Brad Davis’ set piece in the 52nd minute to tie the game.
The momentum then began to swing heavily in Houston’s favor. The Dynamo continued to press and took the lead in the 59th minute. The hosts were deadly on set pieces, and it was a Davis free kick — once again — that found the head of Eddie Robinson. The defender converted from short range to hand the Dynamo the lead.
However, Philadelphia head coach Peter Nowak made some key substitutions of his own, bringing on Mwanga after the first Houston goal and Roger Torres after the second. Both bench players provided the inspiration for the equalizer — Torres deftly chipped the ball into the path of Mwanga, whose first touch was near perfect as he laid the ball off to forward Le Toux. The Frenchman converted from the top of the box, and again the score was level in the 69th minute.
Houston had several set pieces late, but the Dynamo failed to convert them and were punished in injury time. Le Toux drove down the right side of the field and dropped the ball off to Mwanga, who calmly finished to give the Union a 3-2 victory.
Philadelphia Union (2-5-1) vs. Houston Dynamo (5-5-1)
May 29, 2010 -- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
PHI -- Shea Salinas 1 (Alejandro Moreno 4)
HOU -- Brian Ching 1 (Brad Davis 5) 52
HOU -- Eddie Robinson 1 (Brad Davis 6) 59
PHI -- Sebastien Le Toux 5 (Danny Mwanga 1, Roger Torres 3) 69
PHI -- Danny Mwanga 2 (Sebastien Le Toux 2, Alejandro Moreno 5) 93+
Philadelphia Union -- Chris Seitz, Cristian Arrieta, Danny Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Jordan Harvey, Shea Salinas (Roger Torres 62), Stefani Miglioranzi, Kyle Nakazawa, Fred (Danny Mwanga 54), Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Andrew Jacobson, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo, Shavar Thomas.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Ryan Cochrane 76), Mike Chabala (Andrew Hainault 46), Danny Cruz, Lovel Palmer, Brad Davis, Brian Mullan, Luis Angel Landin (Brian Ching 46), Dominic Oduro.
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Joseph Ngwenya, Cam Weaver.
PHI -- Jordan Harvey (caution; Reckless Foul) 23
PHI -- Kyle Nakazawa (caution; Reckless Foul) 42
PHI -- Cristian Arrieta (caution; Tactical Foul) 51
PHI -- Stefani Miglioranzi (caution; Reckless Foul) 58
HOU -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Foul) 79
Referee: Steven DePiero
Referee's Assistants: Philippe Briere; Jason Cullum
4th official: Jeff Gontarek
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-88-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial