Preview: Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union

THE BASICS
Houston Dynamo at Philadelphia Union
Saturday, September 20, 6:00 p.m. CT
PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

BROADCAST INFORMATION
CSN Houston Plus - 6:00 p.m. (5:30 p.m. pregame) CHANNEL LISTINGS
MLS LIVE - 6:30 p.m. CLICK HERE
Telemundo Houston - 11 p.m. (tape delay) CHANNEL LISTINGS
Yahoo Sports Radio 1560 AM - 6:00 p.m. (5:30 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 AM - 7:30 p.m. (7:00 p.m. pregame

PREVIEW
A crucial match in the Eastern Conference playoff chase is ahead when Philadelphia Union play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union currently hold down the final playoff position in the division, tied for fifth place following their 2-2 home draw with the New York Red Bulls last weekend. The Dynamo are five points further back, their undefeated run now at three games following a 2-2 home draw with the Columbus Crew last Saturday.

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Danny Thornberry; 4th: Chris Penso
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 23.9; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 4; pens: 14

INJURY REPORT, PRESENTED BY HOUSTON METHODIST (as of Thursday, September 18)

HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: Tony Cascio – Right knee surgery; Mark Sherrod – Left knee ACL tear; Tally Hall – R knee ACL tear; Will Bruin – R mid foot sprain; Jermaine Taylor – concussion; Boniek García (concussion); Corey Ashe – R knee sprain(

PHILADELPHIA UNION -- None.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Union 3 wins, 11 goals … Dynamo 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
  • AT PHILADELPHIA (5 meetings): Union 1 win, 5 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 3
  • 4/19: PHI 0, HOU 0; 8/15: HOU 2, PHI 0 (Bruin 51; own goal 90)
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Will Bruin scored early in the second half before an own goal sealed the match in a 2-0 Dynamo victory, Aug. 15 at BBVA Compass Stadium. They played to a scoreless draw April 19 at PPL Park.
  • The Dynamo have a five-game undefeated streak alive against Union, with four wins and a draw in that time. The Dynamo have won the last four meetings at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. PHI: P11 W5 L3 D3 … Jim Curtin vs. HOU: P1 W0 L1 D0

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo stretched their undefeated streak to three matches, reaching a 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 32 points from 27 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo had the lead after 12 minutes when Crew forward Aaron Schoenfeld, battling with Dynamo center back A.J. Cochran, won the header on a corner kick but turned the ball into his own goal.
  • The doubled the lead in the 38th minute. A sharp through ball Omar Cummings found strike partner in the box Giles Barnes, and he chipped it over onrushing Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark inside the far post to make it 2-0.
  • But the Crew pulled a goal back just three minutes into the second half. Wil Trapp settled a Waylon Francis throw-in from goal and with no defender within 10 yards snuck a long-range shot past goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
  • Six minutes later the Crew equalized. This time it was Ethan Finlay taking advantage of space. Federico Higuain hit a sharp cross to the back post and with no defender marking, Finlay powered a header home from the corner of the goal area.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that took a 3-2 victory against the Montréal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Kofi Sarkodie came into the back four for Corey Ashe.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley - Boniek Garcia (Brian Ownby 46), Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 58) - Omar Cummings (Alexander Lopez 83), Giles Barnes.

TEAM NEWS

  • While the Dynamo had a two-game winning streak come to an end, they did extend their overall undefeated run to three games, the club’s longest since April 27-May 7.
  • “It’s a disappointment. We played wonderful in the first half, possibly the best first half we played in a long time. Then in the second half it’s a bit of a turnaround, come out with a point,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We were looking for three, come out with one, and it makes the job tougher.”
  • The Dynamo failed to close out with a victory for the first time in five games this season when leading at halftime. They were the final team in MLS this year that had won every game when holding the lead after 45 minutes.
  • “We’re highly disappointed in the result,” said Brad Davis. “Going up 2-0 we had a great first half and had a slow start to the second half. We had a great opportunity with New York and Philly drawing. We had an opportunity to climb again and we missed out on it.”
  • Said center back David Horst: “We just didn’t bring the same energy we had [in the first half],”. “We need to close games like that out. That’s a sign of a playoff team, a team that can close those games out. Just means we have to go out and win games on the road now.”
  • The Dynamo also extended their undefeated streak at BBVA Compass Stadium to six games. They snapped a club-record seven-game road losing slide in their last away game, the 3-1 win at Sporting KC on Aug. 29.
  • “With the games ticking off we go and play another team that’s ahead of us. We know what we have to go and do. We have to start getting results. We missed one here and we need to go there and make up for it,” said Davis.
  • Said DaMarcus Beasley: “I think it comes down more so to concentrating for 90 minutes. We’ve lacked that sometimes. Right now we’re only playing 75, and those other 15 minutes those teams are coming at us and push to get their win because we’re playing East Coast teams and we’re all trying to make the playoffs.”
  • Giles Barnes scored his eighth goal of the season, his third over the last two matches. Barnes is one goal away from his best single season in his three MLS campaigns, when he had nine goals a year ago.
  • Omar Cummings made his second consecutive start, his first two since June 29, and recorded an assist for a second consecutive match.
  • “Speed kills in any league. Whether you’re playing in Champions League or the World Cup or MLS it doesn’t matter, speed kills,” said DaMarcus Beasley. “Omar’s been a huge, huge part of that. He holds the ball, he fights and has been very helpful for Giles [Barnes] up top.”
  • “He’s done well. I thought the first half looked really good. He was running into space and creating problems for them,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We all know that about Omar, his ability to run behind the defense can be a positive for us.”