The Houston Dynamo fought hard before ultimately falling 2-1 to the Philadelphia Union tonight at Talen Energy Stadium. Dynamo forward Christian Ramírez, who joined the club in a trade from Los Angeles FC on Wednesday, scored on his club debut, while defender José Bizama and forward Niko Hansen also made their debuts for the team.
Philadelphia scored the first goal of the night in the 18th minute. Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin and forward Kacper Przybylko connected for a series of passes just outside the 18-yard box. Przybylko managed to slip into the box and get onto the end of the final pass from Medunjanin for a low shot that slipped past Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willisand into the net.
Ramírez pulled the Dynamo even late in the first half, scoring his first goal for the Dynamo in the 42nd minute. Midfielder Memo Rodriguez received the ball just past midfield and quickly fed the ball wide to defender DaMarcus Beasley. The Dynamo captain then cut the ball back to the top of the penalty area, where Ramírez settled the ball and lashed a right-footed volley past Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The Dynamo came out fast in the second half, as a long ball from Beasley to Rodriguez put the winger in behind the Philly back line. Rodriguez cut it back to Ramírez, whose deft shot past Blake was cleared off the line. The clearance fell to the feet of Dynamo midfielder Tomás Martínez, who ripped a quick shot just wide of the net.
Houston nearly found the go-ahead goal in the 52nd minute after forward Mauro Manotas got in behind the Union defense. The Colombian found himself facing a tight shooting angle, but played the ball past Blake and across the face of goal, but Martínez wasn’t quite able to get to it before it rolled out of play past the far post.
The Union appeared to take the lead in the 59th minute off of a free kick that resulted from a foul by Dynamo midfielder Juan David Cabezas. The Union settled the ball just outside the box and crossed it in, connecting with defender Jack Elliott. Elliott taped the ball in, but the goal was called back when assistant referee Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho ruled Elliott offside.
The Dynamo continued to press for the go-ahead goal as the second half wore on, creating several dangerous-looking chances, but they were unable to find the final ball as Philadelphia’s back line defended with numbers.
The Union found the eventual game-winner in the 78th minute on a sloppy play after a Philadelphia corner kick. Midfielder Jamiro Monteiro curled in a cross that was flicked on by Przybylko to Elliott. Elliott’s initial shot was deflected up and over Willis before clipping the crossbar, and the Englishman was first to react to it, heading it into an empty net.
Houston nearly equalized late through a strong individual effort from Hansen. The former Columbus Crew winger carried the ball diagonally across the middle of the park before laying it off and receiving a return pass along the right flank. Hansen drove to the byline and put a low ball to the penalty spot, but forward Alberth Elis’ shot didn’t make it through traffic to goal.
Houston returns home on Saturday, August 17 to take on the Colorado Rapids. That match is scheduled for an 8 p.m. CDT kickoff, with tickets starting at $20.