Union show fight on the road but fall to Houston, 2-1

Ching's PK downs Philadelphia in late stages

HOU Loss

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HOUSTON, Tx. -- The Philadelphia Union fell to the Houston Dynamo 2-1 Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brian Ching’s 83rd minute penalty kick proved to be the difference-maker, despite a 46th minute equalizer from Keon Daniel and a strong second half by the away side. 

It was the first road test for the Union under manager John Hackworth, and it ended much like his first home game: in a difficult defeat.

Midfielder Brad Davis got the scoring started, when a Houston buildup led to a chance in the Union box. Oscar Boniek Garcia played a ball in from the right side, and a waiting Macoumba Kandji took the ball down and laid it off into Davis’s path. The Houston captain made no mistake, sliding a shot past goalkeeper Zac MacMath to put the home team up 1-0.

The Union, who struggled to find chances in the first half, were without forward Jack McInerney. McInerney was sidelined with a stomach illness, giving Jorge Perlaza his first start for the club. Perlaza was active at times, but the offense as a whole sputtered for much of the early going and the first half ended with the Union down 1-0.

Fresh out of the locker room, Keon Daniel wasted no time putting the game on level terms. Daniel took in a pass from teammate Brian Carroll, turned, and fired a shot from well outside the box that beat keeper Tally Hall to the far post.

With newfound momentum following the Daniel goal, Philadelphia dominated the run of play for much of the second half. The Union had chances to take the lead, but Houston managed to keep the ball out of the net and the game remained tied until the later stages.

It wasn’t meant to be for the Union, who went behind for good after Dynamo substitute Brian Ching drew a controversial foul call in the box. Ching took the penalty himself, sending Zac MacMath the wrong way and blasting the ball off the bottom of the crossbar and in.

With the loss, the Union fall to 3-9-2 with 11 points on the season. The Dynamo climb to 6-5-5 and 23 points.

Philadelphia will have only a short time to recover from the defeat, facing the L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday at The Home Depot Center (10:30 p.m., CSN). The team then returns home to PPL Park to play Toronto FC on Sunday, July 8 before the semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S, Open Cup vs. Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, July 11.

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