Dynamo, Union clash at BBVA

3:36 PM, Jul 5, 2013   |    comments
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Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Union continue their two-match road swing on Saturday as the club battles the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Entering their second match in four nights, the Union find themselves in a decent spot in the standings, sitting in third place in the East on 27 points, But the club knows they could be higher after conceding stoppage time equalizers in two consecutive matches.

Last Saturday, the Union looked to have secured a big three points against FC Dallas, but Blas Perez's 97th goal forced Philadelphia to settle for a disappointing home draw.

On Wednesday, it was deja vu for Philadelphia against Real Salt Lake as Conor Casey's goal in the 75th minute gave the Union a 2-1 lead on the road against MLS's top club.

But Real Salt Lake was tossed a lifeline when Union defender Raymon Gaddis was whistled for a handball in the box, resulting in a penalty kick for RSL's Javier Morales, who smashed it off the right post and into the side netting to save a point.

"Credit to Salt Lake, they never stopped, they threw numbers forward, they made it really tough for us. And that's because they're a good team," Philadelphia head coach John Hackworth said. 'There's a reason they're the best team in the league right now."

Hackworth lamented his team's need to learn how to close out games.

"We've got to improve. This is the second game in a row where we've lost points at the very end of the game," Hackworth continued. "A couple mistakes on our part and we just need to learn. I thought we would've done a better job managing it this week, so we'll have to keep working on it."

Houston enters Saturday's game reeling, having gone seven consecutive league matches without a win.

Last time out, Houston failed to create many scoring chances in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.

After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, New York found a breakthrough on the hour mark when Eric Alexander hit a great ball in from the right flank that Fabian Espindola raced onto with a well-timed run before tucking a shot underneath Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.

New York made it 2-0 in the 88th minute as Thierry Henry collected a pass in the middle of the field and laid it off to Johnny Steele on the left side of the penalty area. Steele calmly trapped the ball before unleashing a venomous shot that soared into the far top corner.

Houston has not found the back of the net in four matches, something forward Will Bruin chalks up to a lack of aggression.

"I think we're too content just holding the ball and keeping possession," Bruin said. "When you're in the final third, you've got to be aggressive and have that killer instinct to score, and I think we're lacking that right now. But once it comes back, I think it's going to come along."

In seven all-time meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals, Philadelphia holds a 3-2-2 edge.

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