Jul 5, 2013, 7:58 PM EST
The Philadelphia Union have let four points slip away in the dying embers of their previous two matches, causing coach John Hackworth to tell the media how much hair it’s causing him to lose.
Hint: it’s a lot. With those four points, they’d be top of the Eastern Conference.
Instead, they sit in third and remain embroiled in the smorgasbord that is the East. Saturday they have an opportunity to distance themselves further from the Houston Dynamo, who remain just four points back despite having just picked up two points in their last seven fixtures.
The fact Houston remain in a playoff spot despite that awful record is a testament to the parity in the East. Houston are winless since May 8 and goalless in their last 329 league minutes – 419 overall including their tumble out of the U.S. Open Cup. You have to travel all the way back to April 28 to find their last home goal.
And yet, they’ve created chances. Somehow, they just can’t finish. Against New York on Sunday, the Dynamo produced 11 shots with 25 crosses. Unfortunately, the quality was missing. Just three of those 11 shots were on target. That’s not exactly much of a test for the opposing goalkeeper.
That could possibly change Saturday. Honduran playmaker Oscar Boniek Garcia is questionable, missing since the last round of World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring injury. If able to play, the midfielder would add a fair bit of quality back to the squad. His arrivial last season turned things around in time to win an MLS Cup; could his addition do it again?
Even if the Honduran does return to the Houston lineup, don’t expect goals to fly out of this match. With each team missing their young frontmen to Gold Cup duty, replacements will be needed. Jack McInerney and Will Bruin are hoping to get their first shot at real international action, leaving their clubs that much thinner.
Also on duty with the USMNT are Houston’s Corey Ashe and Philadelphia’s Keon Daniel. Although playing different positions, the two are cornerstones of their respective clubs, with their absences requiring a temporary fix.
For Houston, absences are becoming a normality. Missing for the Dynamo in addition to Bruin, Hall, and Ashe will be right-back Kofie Sarkodie, leaving yet another hole in the back line. Finally, Brad Davis is a “long shot” according to head coach Dominic Kinnear. Look for defenders Warren Creavalle and Eric Brunner to continue their fill-in duties, with Mike Chabala possibly getting a shot as well.
With Philadelphia sitting much lower than they should after last-minute points let free, and Houston tabled higher than expected with a seven-match winless streak in play, it’s a match with much intrigue, and about as much table ramifications as you can get this early in the season.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:15 PM EST
Olave, Johnson, and Espindola left, but despite what this year’s narrative said, RSL didn’t rebuild. They merely reloaded.
Dec 4, 2013, 9:33 PM EST
What do you remember about the team’s penalty kick win over the LA Galaxy?
Dec 4, 2013, 8:41 PM EST
Peter Vermes’ MLS Cup finalist can still press and pressure – but there are more winning ways in the playbook now:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Back at RFK at the turn of the new Millennium, staunch defense helped KC to its one and only MLS Cup:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:02 PM EST
Arsenal stays four clear while Everton sparks debate as to whether they upgraded after David Moyes’ departure.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:48 PM EST
Moyes says lack of “fortune” hurt United after Red Devils lose yet another home game:
Dec 4, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
The visitors hit Southampton with quick breaks, coming away with a win and proving that possession is, in fact, just nine-tenths of the law.
West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City: Citizens address road worries with convincing performance at The Hawthorns
Dec 4, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Two from Yaya Touré and an opener from Kun Agüero helped City address their road demons.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
Spurs sent a dagger into the hearts of Fulham fans, who saw their club put in an inspired performance only to be sunk by a pair of beautiful strikes from unlikely heroes.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:03 PM EST
Hazard’s masterclass pushes Chelsea over the line against spirited Black Cats:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:55 PM EST
Four goals and an assist for Luis Suárez as Liverpool ran wild over Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:51 PM EST
Gunners keep firing as they stay top of the tree with comfortable win over Tigers:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:50 PM EST
Peter Crouch and company failed to produce a breakthrough despite owning nearly every chance and plenty of possession.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
With five minutes left to play, Bryan Oviedo clinched the winner for Everton, keeping them above Manchester United in the table.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:46 PM EST
Second win in three sees Swansea bring Newcastle’s run to an end in Wales.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:32 PM EST
35 minutes was all it took for Luis Suárez to score his third hat trick in three seasons against Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
USMNT striker opens the scoring… but Chelsea come roaring back. Watch live:
Dec 4, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
Third place City hope to cure the road woes when they visit The Hawthorns.
Dec 4, 2013, 2:45 PM EST
Former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen will make his managerial debut with Fulham at home against a Spurs squad coming off an energizing draw with Meulensteen’s old club.
Dec 4, 2013, 2:40 PM EST
Two teams drifting in opposition directions meet at the Liberty Stadium, with Newcastle hoping to crack the Premier League’s top four.
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