Recap: Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union 7/25
Philadelphia came to Houston to face the Dynamo this Wednesday in what might be a preview for the final of the U.S. Open Cup. With both teams desperate for as many points as possible in their respective playoff pushes, the game was as tense as can be.
Both teams were doing everything, defending, attacking, or in between, hyper-aggressively. They set a tone that the rest of the game would follow, almost to the beat. The Dynamo broke onto the scoreboard first in the 10th minute with Manotas scoring his 11th of the season and Boniek Garcia got the assist on the play, helping Manotas break his previous single-season record for goals (10).
HOU 1 PHI 0
The Dynamo were pressing extremely hard this first half and created a lot of chances in the final third. In the 28th minute, Lundqvist puts a beautiful cross at the feet of Manotas who just failed to put a good foot on it, something I imagine he’ll think about a lot. Then the referee made his first really bad call of the night when he awards Philadelphia a foul for two Union players running into each other. I wasn’t able to find any video footage of this, but the foul was literally being laughed at by players and fans. Philadelphia responded to that Dynamo missed opportunity quickly when, in the 32nd minute, Bedoya snuck past the line and slipped the ball past Willis.
HOU 1 PHI 1
There was a lot of time spent deliberating on whether or not Bendoya was offside on the play. With how much time the first referee spent talking into his earpiece VAR was probably used, however, there was no “official review”. But in the end, the right decision was made and the goal stood. In the waning minutes of extra time in the first half, Rosenberry got a yellow card that had been coming for a while.
The game looked fairly even at the half, with both teams challenging in the final third often. There were some questionable decisions made by the referees but the way each team was playing they had a lot on their hands just keeping control of the game.
Houston came out of the gate for the second half ready to set a tone for the game, and that was a tone of quick-paced attack. Just two minutes after the start of the half, Martinez hit a screamer off the crossbar. At this point, I have to mention Lundqvist. I think every time we’ve seen him recently he’s been sharp and last night his work rate was exceptional on both sides of the ball. Lundqvist was a huge part of Houston turning on a constant and effective press at the beginning of the 2nd half. Philadelphia’s Mckenzie was issued a yellow card in the 52nd, another card that had been coming for a while. But the match-changing moment came in the 59th minute when Martinez gets a red card for serious foul play. A red card that was given out in incredibly confusing fashion. All of us in the press box were thoroughly confused, the video review that got him the card started nearly four minutes after the play had ended. Either way, this changed the atmosphere around the match. Down to 10 men, it felt like Houston had to score quick or lose their chance due to tired legs. Philadelphia’s recently subbed on midfielder Sapong gets a yellow card in the 65th for an elbow to Quioto’s head. The elbow to head caused Romell to bleed from his head, and he needed to have his head bandaged. Then in the 70th minute Cory Burke steps up and knocks in Philadelphia second of the night, Dockal once again setting up the goal.
HOU 1 PHI 2
Houston definitely still had some fight in them after this. Even with 10 men the team still made quality runs on goal. Even challenging a couple of different times, but always being pushed out of the box by Philly promptly after a shot had been taken. Six minutes of added time in the second half, which speaks to how little control the first referee seemed to have over the game at that point. In that dreaded added time, Fuenmayor gets a yellow card that he definitely earned by taking someone down in the box, giving Philadelphia a penalty. This one was deserved. Then J. Picault scores handily on the penalty.
HOU 1 PHI 3
And that was the end of the game. Looking ahead the Dynamo will be playing Portland this Saturday, looking to gain any points they can to bolster their playoff run.
Dynamo Starting 11: Willis, Fuenmayor, Machado, Lundqvist, Watts, Elis, Quioto, Ceren, Bonek Garcia(C), Martinez, Manotas
Dynamo Subs Used: Wenger for Watts(74th), Rodriguez for Elis(76th), Alvarez for Quioto(81st)
Philadelphia Starting 11: Blake, Rosenberry, Gaddis, McKenzie, Trusty, Medunjanin, Dockal, Picault, Accam, Bedoya(C), Burke
Philadelphia Subs Used: Sapong for Accam(52nd), Herbers for Burke(71st), Creavalle for Dockal(88th)