Throughout the course of the long MLS regular season, you can't always expect the Houston Dynamo to bring their "A" game to the park. But c'mon, they were playing the Philadelphia Union, who've only been able to put together four goals in the past eight games.
The game plan seemed simple: go to Philly for the weekend and come back three points richer. What they got was a rude awakening. Flat-footed and uninspired, the Dynamo fell 3-1 to the Union at PPL Park in Philadelphia.
"I really thought we were ready to go before the game," Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis said after the match. "The past couple of weeks have been good, playing pretty well. I can't really explain what went wrong besides a little bit of attitude, a little bit of grit. Not every game's going to be pretty."
The Dynamo were terrorized all day long by Union youngsters Freddy Adu and Raymon Gaddis. In the 28th minute, Gaddis made a great run starting from his defensive third, and was able to put a cross into the box. Freddy Adu picked up the ball on the endline, cut back toward the middle, and took a quick shot and nudged under Tally Hall for the 1-0 lead.
Just before the half, Will Bruin found Boniek Garcia just inside the 18-yard box. Garcia blasted his shot on first touch, ricocheting off the far post and into the net for the equalizer.
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The Dynamo had a rough time defending corner kicks in the second half. Five minutes after the break, Andre Hainault brought down Union defender Sheanon Williams during a corner kick, giving referee Edvin Jurisevic no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Adu stepped up and notched his second goal of the match. Another corner kick in the 70th minute would eventually doom the Dynamo, as Josue Martinez tapped in his first career MLS goal and gave the Union the eventual 3-1 scoreline.
"This is the game that we looked at that needs to be three points," Hall said. "Coming out of here with zero in a tight playoff race, there's no excuse for how the result went today."
The loss drops the Dynamo back to fifth place in the East, one point ahead of the Columbus Crew for the final playoff spot. The Dynamo have three straight home games before the season finale on the road in Colorado. The first home match is against the New England Revolution this Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.