Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Dynamo drop home opener to Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Union preserved a fifth-minute Danny Califf goal to defeat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 and open their season with a road win in front of 19,385 fans at Robertson Stadium on Saturday night.


Philadelphia took control of possession early by putting immediate pressure on the new Dynamo defense. The Union got on the board when Califf drove home the rebound of a Sebastien Le Toux shot. Le Toux found some space in the box off a long Union throw-in from Sheanon Williams and put a rocket off the crossbar. Califf won the scrum for the loose ball and gave the visiting team the early one-goal lead.

The Dynamo settled down after the goal, controlling the play for the balance of the match. On the road and up a goal, the Union were content to concede possession, often dropping nine or 10 players behind the ball. In an effort to push numbers forward, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear went to a five-man midfield over the final 19 minutes. Countering Houston’s move, the Union attempted to catch the Dynamo on the counter in the second half but were never able to secure an insurance goal.

In the end, it wasn’t needed.

The best chance of the night for Dynamo came before the formation change when Brad Davis played a ball across a charging Faryd Mondragon that a streaking Dominic Oduro could not keep on target. Despite retaining the advantage in possession and the number of corners and free kicks, the Dynamo were not able to find the equalizer.


Philadelphia Union (1-0-0) vs. Houston Dynamo (0-1-0)
March 19, 2011 -- Robertson Stadium

Scoring Summary:
PHI -- Danny Califf 1 (unassisted) 5

Philadelphia Union -- Faryd Mondragon, Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey, Kyle Nakazawa (Gabriel Farfan 69), Brian Carroll, Stefani Miglioranzi, Justin Mapp (Danny Mwanga 58), Carlos Ruiz (Amobi Okugo 85), Sebastien Le Toux.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Agorsor, Jack McInerney, Roger Torres, Zac MacMath.

Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman (Danny Cruz 71), Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Geoff Cameron, Lovel Palmer, Brad Davis, Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 57), Will Bruin (Dominic Oduro 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Chabala, Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Tyler Deric.

Misconduct Summary:
PHI -- Carlos Ruiz (caution; Reckless Foul) 20
HOU -- Brad Davis (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
PHI -- Carlos Valdes (caution; Reckless Tackle) 44

Referee: Abbey Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Adam Garner
4th official: Andrew Chapin
Attendance: 19,385
Weather: Clear-and-76-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

Postgame notes and quotes