Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union
The Philadelphia Union will be coming to town to face the Dynamo this Wednesday, July 25th for some cross-conference play. Houston, coming off a hard-fought home draw against league-leading Dallas FC, is looking to continue the climb into playoff contention. While Philadelphia is looking to bounce back after a tough loss at home to the LA Galaxy.
Houston’s last match is something of a mixed bag. Taking a draw against Dallas FC is definitely a win on paper but it can also be seen as a missed opportunity against a tactically lacking Dallas side. However, Quioto and Monatos continued playing high-quality football and the Dynamo defense had a really good showing against Dallas.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, is coming off of a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at home. The Galaxy was definitely the superior team in this match, but the Union played some scrappy soccer in the first half, managing to net the first goal of the match. But in the second half Philly broke down, unable to keep quality possession and plagued by mistakes in midfield. Those errors coupled with an inability to limit the space world-class striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to play in and the loss becomes inevitable.
The Teams So Far
Looking at the goal differential of the two clubs(-7 for Philly and +10 for Houston) you might think that Houston should pummel in this match. But, according to the underlying statistics, Philadelphia might just be the most underachieving team in soccer. Though, even if we were to “correct” for what the underlying statistics say Philadelphia should be, they’d only have a goal differential of +4. Beyond the stats, this will be an interesting matchup because the teams have had similar flaws over the season. Both sides tend to look strong in the first half. Both sides have struggled to keep the top of the table clubs from making comebacks in the second half. It’s even possible that these two teams will face each other in the U.S. Open Cup Final.
Things To Look For
As mentioned, it will be interesting to see which of these teams falls to their season’s Achilles heel and which will rise from the ashes. That will be made a bit harder by the fact that this is both sides third match in just one week. So there’s a definite possibility of tired legs having an effect on the outcome of the match in one way or another. And finally, on Houston’s side, I would expect to see Boniek Garcia played over Alexander, who did not look particularly sharp in his last match.