Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Houston Dynamo

Photo Credit: 215pix 

On a beautiful evening in Chester, the Philadelphia Union beat the Houston Dynamo, 2-1. In an inconsistent match on Military Appreciation Night, which was complete with a cannon in the River End, the Union scored two surprising goals to earn themselves another three points to stay at the top of the east.

The Union controlled the majority of possession from the start of the match and opted for long balls from the midfield to generate their attack. Houston seemed content to allow Philadelphia to control the ball for the first ten minutes, but got the first opportunity on goal in the 12th minute. Christian Ramirez whiffed on a pass that fell to him just outside the six-yard box after a scramble by Philadelphia’s defense, who failed to clear the ball.

Philadelphia’s persistent control through the midfield paid off in the 18th minute after Marco Fabian worked the ball up the center of the field, giving it to Haris Medunjanin, and then Kacper Przybylko. Przybylko was open enough to get a shot off and he netted the first goal of the match after hitting the ball straight at Houston’s goalkeeper, Joe Willis, who let it trickle in after going between his legs. For his goal celebration, Przybylko held up an “O Captain, My Cpatain” shirt, created for Alejandro Bedoya following his statement against DC United last week.

Houston began push up more following the Union’s goal in an effort to create some opportunities. The Union’s back line stood strong through the majority of first half, with Aurelien Collin and Warren Creavalle breaking up plays beautifully, and Jack Elliot clearing every aerial opportunity. Meanwhile, they kept the attacks consistent and the passing inconsistent. Andrew Wooten in the 38th minute had a beautiful give and go opportunity that ended in a trickling shot that Willis scooped up and following their first corner kick, Collin had a diving header in the 39th minute that went just wide of the net.

The Dynamo evened up the match with a goal from in the 42nd minute after the first real defensive blunder in the match. DaMarcus Beasley was able to connect to the wide-open Jose Bizama right by the penatly spot. Bizama’s shot went past a diving Andre Blake while the Union’s defense watched. The match was tied at one apiece at halftime.

The second half started quickly and in favor of the Dynamo. Elliot had a quick clearance by the six yard line after Blake came way off his line to grab a ball that was pushed past him. Houston recovered the ball and hit a shot that was well off target. After that, Blake was forced to make a diving save in the 51st that was quickly cleared by Kai Wagner. The same thing happened again 30 seconds later, but Blake stayed on his feet to deflect this shot.

Philadlephia  shifted the momentum and regained some control in the 53rd minute. Medunjanin hit a long cross for Andrew Wooten, who was running onto the ball and dove to hit, but was just short. Jim Curtin looked to carry on this momentum with two quick substitutions. Jamiro Monteiro came on after Wooten’s opportunity in an effort to tighten up their passing, while Ilsinho came on for Wooten to generate some goals.

It looked like the Union’s efforts might have paid off, but Elliot was denied his second goal of the season after being called offsides in the 59th. Medunjanin hit a well-placed free kick that Przybylko redirected to Elliot, who used his height to his advantage and headed the ball past Willis. The Sons of Ben fired off their cannon while the ref was calling the goal back, keeping the match tied at 1-1.

Just twenty minutes later, Elliot got his goal anyways. Monteiro hit a cross into the box that looked like it would be cleared by the Dynamo’s defense but actually pinballed around. Deflecting off of one of Houston’s players and then the crossbar, Elliot was able to power a header past Willis once again, this time onsides. Putting the Union up 2-1, Talen Enrgy Stadium was rockin’.

With an additional five minutes of time, Przybylko almost netted his second of the night, beating Willis, but losing the angle to score. Cutting the ball back and having limited options, Przybylko hit Willis and was flagged by the linesman. Houston went all-in on their attacks during stoppage time, but all were thwarted by Blake and Philadelphia’s back line. The final whistle came just after Monteiro had his own shot that he whipped just above the crossbar, and the Union earned three more points.

Three Points

Passing issues. The Union had some amazing play break-ups, but they would almost always follow it up with a bad pass. Passes were usually off their mark completely or they would either fall short or were hit way too hard. There were few great passes throughout the match and while  too many poor passes that completely stopped Philly’s attacks. Overall, passes were way too inconsistent and need to be better.

Making something out of nothing. It was apparently the Union’s specialty tonight, generating something positive out of almost nothing. Both goals came from almost dead plays or balls that Philadelphia had no business scoring off of.

It’s a sellout. Union fans came out in droves in another sellout at Talen Energy Stadium. It was the fourth of the season and the crowd was more than happy to voice their support. Chalk it up to a beautiful summer evening and a first place Philadelphia team that people are actually both proud and happy to support.


Philadelphia Union
Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Aurelien Collin, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Warren Creavalle (Jamiro Monteiro 54′), Alejandro Bedoya (c), Marco Fabian (Fafa Picault 85′); Andrew Wooten (Ilsinho 59′), Kacper Przybylko
Unused Substitutes: Joe Bendik, RJ Allen, Auston Trusty, Brenden Aaronson

Houston Dynamo
Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley (c) (Adam Lundkvist 67′), Maynor Figueroa, Aljaz Struna, Jose Bizama; Boniek Garcia, Juan Cabezas; Christian Ramirez (Alberth Elis 71′), Memo Rodriguez, Tomas Martinez; Mauro Manotas (Niko Hansen 83′)
Unused Substitutes: Michael Nelson, Darwin Ceren, Tommy McNamara, Kevin Garcia

Scoring Summary

PHL: Kacper Przybylko (Haris Medunjanin) – 18′

HOU: Jose Bizama (DaMarcus Beasley) – 42′

PHL: Jack Elliot – 78′

Disciplinary Summary

HOU: Maynor Figueroa – yellow – 34′

HOU: Juan Cabezas – yellow – 55′


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    crum. maybe only the 4-5 game when I didn’t have at least one eye trained or strained on it… missed every minute tonite.
    either way. keep on keeping on.
    ban trophy hunting forever.

  2. It wasn’t pretty but we’ll gladly take 3 POINTS!!

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    Two words that describe tonight: sloppy and lucky. As said many times before by many people… this was a game the Union lose in the past. But I give them credit for getting the 3 points. Hopefully Montiero gets the start next week an can go 90… or close to it. I didn’t think Collin was as good as last week. I donated my tickets tonight so I wasn’t there… a shame cause the crowd and the weather both seemed amazing down there. But overall, hey, another win is another win. Keep it rolling

  4. Was frustrating to see the boys having such a hard time cracking through the Houston mid-field, but that’s the kind of game that Philly would have simply rolled over and lost two seasons ago. Great to see them relentlessly hang in there and make something happen.
    That was easily the best “butts in the seats” crowd we’ve seen all season.
    Also, kudos that vocal little group in the corner of the river end. Had a pretty good portion of the general population involved in their chant and it was FUN.
    It’s not that the crowd doesn’t want to sing/chant (as many SOBs have stated here), leadership is about inspiring people to want to follow along.
    That vocal little group in the corner should be given the seats front and center.
    One last thing, a FIVE second “moment of silence” isn’t showing anyone any respect at all. We were disappointed at how uncaring that felt. Something can be learned from the Europeans here; make it a FULL MINUTE of silence. It’s powerful, reflective, and if you’re going to M-E-A-N-I-N-G-F-U-L-L-Y honor a person’s passing or tragedy, one damned minute isn’t much to ask.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I believe you are referring to the Keystone State Ultras… in the upper corner singing, etc.

      • Must be them, thank you.

      • Onemanwolfpack, do you know what they were chanting ?

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I think saw on Twitter last night, if I can remember correctly, it was just something to effect of: “La, la, la, la, la….” and at the end a “woo!” and it went back and forth between the two sections. It wasn’t on their Twitter, someone had posted it, so I couldn’t find it when I just checked. I wasn’t able to be at the game last night, so all I saw was that video.

      • It was a bunch of “la-las” followed by AAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY Philadelphia WA-HOO and then the chant got passed back.
        It was fun. It was simple. It was CLEAN (For goodness’ sake L-E-A-R-N something from that river end! Over half of your demographic in the stadium is families with kids under 12, NOT “faux bad-ass hipsters”). It was picked up by at least half the stadium.

  5. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Using an enigma machine from a WW2 museum i deciphered the Elephant’s message to read.

    . Hot Damn, we won a game we should have never gotten three points from.
    Keep up the pace to finish the race.
    Try eating something vegetarian tomorrow.
    End of message….maybe he’s drinking with Hulky and in jalapeno popper euphoria.
    The whole stadium doing that chant was impressive.

  6. Peanut Gallery says:

    ^^ That was my attempt to post “applause” emojis. Nicely done. 🙂

  7. Not the best effort the team has ever had but 3 points is 3 points, especially with Atlanta getting the win earlier. The team definitely needs to work on passing and making sure that when they lose the ball against a counterattacking team it is going North-South rather than East-West.
    Obviously a great effort by Elliott to keep the ball out at one end and then score the game winner on the other. On the goal that was called back, was it Elliott offside or was Przylylko offside on the initial pass? I had thought it was the latter but didn’t have a great angle.

    • Sara Griswold says:

      I’m not sure who was called for offsides. I thought it was Elliott, but could have been Przybylko. Didn’t have the best angle from the press box either, and we were all trying to figure out what was going on. Only replay I saw was what was on the board in the stadium and it didn’t show too much…

      • Section 114 (Former) says:

        Why wasn’t there any replay on the telecast?

      • Przybylko was offside. You could barely see it in the one replay they showed on TV; the AR called it straight away, and it was the right call.

  8. The Union twitter account sent out “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with it’s starting lineup before the game…smh…just because you rolled a badly prepared DC team, I thought Curtin would at least be a little more creative. Better teams would have made us pay. Uh, can we please have Trusty back as a starter? Collin’s a nice veteran presence, but he can’t be our starter. Way too many mistakes today. And I like Creavalle too, but please no more starts unless fully necessary (realize it’s because Monteiro’s not 100%, but still). Obviously we’re easing Monteiro into getting a full 90, which is good. So the main complaint is passing? That instantly got better when Monteiro and Ilsinho got on the field. And just because Fabian’s on the field and in form, I don’t see the reluctance to not put Aaronson on the field at some point. As for Wooten, can’t say I’m all too impressed. Think Fafa and Kasper are our best options now. I’m just thinking down the line when we play ATL and LAFC the 31st and Sep 14th. Having Collin and Creavalle in there won’t fly against the likes of Carlos Vela or Joseph Martinez.

    • No Collin the first goal doesn’t happen, no one else would take the foul there if I’m not mistaken he disrupted an attack by fouling and the ref gave houston advantage which led to the union goal

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I’m thinking that Monteiro will start either next week or in two weeks against DC so he should be ready to replace Creavalle well before ATL and LAFC. On Saturday after the open practice, he said he was not yet 100% but was getting there.
      Like many other players, Wooten will probably take some time to fit in. He did make the key play to set up Ale’s goal against DC.

    • Disagree with this. The back line has been shaky and needs veteran presence. Collin is our only real CB vet. I have never been a big believer in Creavalle, but thought he had a great night! IMO I would start him instead of Haris. We have enough offensive play-makers now that we don’t need a #6 who is not fast, has low motor and doesn’t slide tackle or win aerial battles.
      With Bedoya, Monteiero and Fabian across mid and Kasper and Wooten up top, we can afford to have Creavalle as defense-only #6 locking things down.

    • Jamie , i can’t disagree more with your take on Collin and Trusty. Trusty has been the problem in the backline. He’s always out of position, he’s very weak when defending one on one. He’s gotten beat so many times this year!!! And he sucks in the air. I really don’t know how anyone can say that Trusty is better than Collin rn. Trusty isn’t fast either. From last year to this year he’s been a disappointment. Collin although not perfect , has been pretty stellar in disrupting play. I don’t think i can count how many disruptions he had last night on two hands haha. He was very crucial in stopping Houston getting any momentum going forward. His in the air ability and defense is 100 times better than Trusty. His passing is better too. He controls the backline very well. He was ordering the backline all night. Trusty’s mouth is zipped shut every game, always out of position and I’m no mans land. Keep Collin as the starter. He’s a Veteran who knows what it takes to get to the playoffs.

  9. An earned win. Gutsy even. I only got to watch the 2nd half, so I’m not entirely informed, but the Union continue to have a really hard time in the attacking third. Lots of passing the ball around the box, more often than not concluding with a back pass to the center backs. I get that Houston was packing it in, but the Union need to get a plan together to deal with it.

  10. First and foremost, that stadium was as vivacious as I’ve seen. Ever. In 10 years of games. (I guess everyone loves hot dogs…) TRE was full and loud and the rest of the crowd really fed off that… During the injury stoppage when the sides of the stadium were alternating that chant … simply awesome. My 10 YO, who has been coming to games since before she could walk, could not stop talking about it last night….

    They were definitely careless with too many passes today. Including dangerous turnovers in the middle third. After that Houston goal, I was afraid we were going to have a relapse of “Haris pointing” D that cost us points the first few weeks …

    The past 2 weeks, IMO, Creavalle has been the second best player on the field. He was great again this game.

    And Fabian was running hard. Even though he didn’t feature on the scoresheet, particularly in the first half, he was working as hard as I’ve seen all season. We will need this moving forward.

    Again, the atmosphere and crowd were amazing and, dare I say, perhaps willed the team to victory in an ugly game.

    • Best chanting moment in that stadium – ever. Great energy, started by just 20 people, and the energy grew. It was a chant that ordinary folks couldn’t help but join. All without an F word thrown in, which has been the prerequisite of many of the chants. You won’t get families joining in on that, but this one did the trick. The result — a loud, soccer environment, which made everyone forget about the cold hot dogs and poor transitional passing.

  11. Three points is three points. Onwards.

  12. Montag, the USMNT make bad player decisions all the time…… How much playing time did Trusty get ???

    • Your post made it sound like they were in the 18 but not called on. I never said that the National team made great player decisions. Nor did I employ that. Trusty got the same amount of playing time I did.

  13. Anybody have any idea why the line to get into the stadium was so bad at all three gates? I know we’re not used to having sellouts and all, but that was insane trying to get in. Missed the first 5-10 minutes because of it.

    • From my scientific observation of three lines (the one I was in and the ones to either side of me) There seemed to be a lot of newbies getting their bags searched and low and behold getting water bottles and food confiscated. I guess they didn’t get the memo. Lesson learned. Get in lines with teenage boys. They will only have a phone and maybe a wallet.

    • I thought the concession lines were worse. Some of them only had 4 people working the registers, where if they just added a fifth it would have made such a difference. Then you have 3 or 4 people just walking around yelling back to the kitchen, “2 more hot dogs!”. Personally, I had to wait 15 minutes into the game before I went for a beer. I had a feeling that I would miss a Union goal if I did, but then I thought “If my missing it means the Union go up 1-0, I’ll gladly do my part.” The result? Our first goal. You’re welcome, all Union fans.

  14. So many things to comment on. First, I think that Houston team is better than the record shows. They always play hard, rough footy. I think our boys fared well against a compact desperate side. Yes, John the lines were long… who knows why but it’s kind of ridiculous 10 years in.
    The crowd wAs awesome. We’re in 121 so we couldn’t make out what was going on the opposite end but it was f’ing brilliant.
    Gotta keep Collin in. He’s not fast or flashy but he is physical and makes the simple plays. I think Warren is our insurance policy for Harris on D which I’m totally cool with until monteiro is 100%.
    Got the 3 points which is most important, sometimes Its better to be lucky than good. Keep it rolling fellas. GO U!!!

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