Thursday, November 03, 2011

Union's season on the line in Houston

The Philadelphia Union arrive in South Texas facing a one-goal deficit in their second leg match against the red-hot Houston Dynamo on Thursday after a 2-1 setback at PPL Park last weekend.

Dating back to the regular season, Houston has put together a seven-game unbeaten streak to finish second in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Dynamo's opening leg victory marked the first postseason road win in club history as well as the first time in five two-legged playoff affairs that they have opened with a win.

Philadelphia faces a tough task at hand, needing to win by a two-goal margin in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday.

"It may be good for this team to go into the second leg not feeling the pressure to defend a 1-1 tie or a 1-0 goal difference," Union team manager Peter Nowak said. "So it maybe is a good thing that the pressure is off right now and we have nothing to lose going into Houston."

Nowak tinkered with his lineup at home, using the defensive-minded Stefani Miglioranzi as a sweeper between center backs Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes to help cope with Houston's deadly crossing and set piece skills.

The strategy failed, as the Dynamo scored twice in the opening half. 

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