Sunday, July 01, 2012

Union fall in Houston

HOUSTON, TX (June 30, 2012) -- Philadelphia Union fell to the Houston Dynamo 2-1 Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brian Ching’s 83rd minute penalty kick proved to be the difference-maker, despite a 46th minute equalizer from Keon Daniel and a strong second half by the away side.

It was the first road test for the Union under Manager John Hackworth, and it ended much like his first home game: in a difficult defeat.

Midfielder Brad Davis got the scoring started, when a Houston buildup led to a chance in the Union box. Oscar Boniek Garcia played a ball in from the right side, and a waiting Macoumba Kandji took the ball down and laid it off into Davis’s path. The Houston captain made no mistake, sliding a shot past goalkeeper Zac MacMath to put the home team up 1-0.

The Union, who struggled to find chances in the first half, were without defender Ray Gaddis and forward Jack McInerney. Gaddis was out with a one-game suspension and McInerney was sidelined with a stomach illness, giving Jorge Perlaza his first start for the club. Perlaza was active at times, but the offense as a whole sputtered for much of the early going and the first half ended with the Union down 1-0.

Fresh out of the locker room, Keon Daniel wasted no time putting the game on level terms. Daniel took in a pass from Brian Carroll, turned, and fired a shot from well outside the box that beat keeper Tally Hall to the far post.

With newfound momentum following the Daniel goal, Philadelphia dominated the run of play for much of the second half. The Union had chances to take the lead, but Houston managed to keep the ball out of the net and the game remained tied until the later stages.

It wasn’t meant to be for the Union, who went behind for good after Dynamo substitute Brian Ching drew a foul call in the box. Ching took the penalty himself, sending Zac MacMath the wrong way and blasting the ball off the bottom of the crossbar and in.

Philadelphia has a quick turnaround, facing the L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center (11 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).  The team then returns home to play Toronto FC on Sunday, July 8, 4pm before the Semifinal Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup vs Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, July 11, 7:30pm.
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