Union close busy stretch with Dynamo clash
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Union will close out a busy stretch of three matches in seven days with a clash against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday.
The resurgent Union began their bust stretch with a home clash against the struggling Montreal Impact last Saturday before a quick turnaround and a flight to Dallas to face FC Dallas in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
Philadelphia managed a 2-1 win over Montreal to jump into a playoff position and continue a stunning run of form under interim head coach Jim Curtin, who has led the club to a 7-1-3 mark in all competitions.
Friday's tilt will again test the Union's resolve as the club comes to Houston on only three days rest following Tuesday's thrilling victory over FC Dallas on penalty kicks at Toyota Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, Amobi Okugo gave the Union the lead, but FC Dallas pulled it back level nine minutes from time when goalkeeper Zac MacMath misplayed a ball which allowed Fabian Castillo to fire into an open net.
30 minutes of extra time passed without incident and the match went to penalty kicks. In the shootout, Philadelphia buried four PKs and MacMath made up for his earlier error by stopping two FCD attempts, sending the Union to the final of the Open Cup at PPL Park against Seattle on Sept. 16.
"That was kind of like a heavyweight boxing match," said Curtin. "Fortunately we were the last team standing even though Dallas put in a great team effort. I'm happy; I had 11 men out there the whole night and this is something that we have been striving for. Now we host a final and we're extremely excited."
Houston, meanwhile, trails Philadelphia by five points in the race for fifth place in the East and desperately needs three points. But the club will need to bounce back in front of the home crowd after suffering a 2-0 loss to Seattle last time out.
Seattle opened the scoring in the 69th minute through a goal from Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda made it 2-0 with 15 minutes to play when he converted a penalty kick to send Houston to its 12th loss of the season.
"Made a couple of mistakes and a little bit of luck goes their way and there you have it," head coach Dominic Kinnear told the media after the game. "I thought it was a pretty even game, thought we looked real good in the first half, but they came out with a good push of energy in the second half. Thought we looked good and it takes a little deflection and the momentum swings their way."
"You look at tonight, we have an opportunity with the penalty I missed in the first half, I had the opportunity to put my team up 1-0," midfielder Brad Davis said. "We're playing well, we're getting good opportunities on the road and it's just things like that. It's not like we were played off the park by any means. It was a wide-open game; we were just unable to take our chances."
08/14 16:16:26 ET