Jul 5, 2013, 7:58 PM EDT
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.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT
Mexico’s top two teams reach halftime of their two-legged final, with leg two kickoff next Wednesday in Toluca.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT
The top four remain unchanged, while Houston, New England, and Portland make big shifts on this week’s chart.
Apr 15, 2014, 7:58 PM EDT
Thoughts from NBCSN’s analysts as will as footage from Rodgers’, Martínez’s speeches at Anfield.
Apr 15, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT
Three LA Galaxy players join two members of the Columbus Crew in our Best XI.
Apr 15, 2014, 6:08 PM EDT
Gunners go back into the top four, but can they hold off Everton?
Apr 15, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT
Four soccer players rank amount the world’s top 25 earners.
Apr 15, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT
Columbus’s Costa Rican international is the latest player to donate to MLS Works.
Apr 15, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT
The Gunners overcame a Matt Jarvis opener to take their second win of the season from the Irons.
Apr 15, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
Klopp to take over at White Hart Lane?
Apr 15, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT
Last week’s hat trick couldn’t snare our honor, but two goals in Dallas made the Sounder star this week’s best player.
Apr 15, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
Can the Clarets join the Foxes in the big time?
Apr 15, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT
A story from The Daily Beast deals with many obstacles faced by the girls, including some prevailing belief that they shouldn’t even watch sport, let alone play soccer.
Apr 15, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT
The Gunners and Hammers are putting some London derby bragging rights on the line this evening at the Emirates Stadium live on NBCSN and online NBC Sports Live Extra
Apr 15, 2014, 1:21 PM EDT
West Ham last took a point from Arsenal in an October 2009 draw, and hasn’t beaten the Gunners since an April 7, 2007 win at the Emirates.
Apr 15, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT
MLSSoccer.com’s “MLS Insider” series brings a strong video on the anniversary of Matt Reis’ heroics at the Boston Marathon bombing.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT
His speech was equal parts soccer fan, Merseyside resident and fixture in the game.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT
Let’s say you’re dating your ex-teammate’s ex-wife and spend a lot of time with his kids. What’s a super scummy idea before your team plays his?
Apr 15, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT
Former Villa player Gordon Cowans and current back-up keeper Shay Given have been “temporarily promoted.”
Apr 15, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
Images from around Twitter, covering the 25th anniversary memorial to those who died in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT
Atletico won last year’s edition, with Barca topping the tourney in 2012 and Real claiming the crown in 2011. Who do you have winning the Copa del Rey?
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