Looking for the club's first road win of the season, manager Peter Nowak made one change to his starting lineup against Houston: inserting Shea Salinas. Good move.
The lighting-fast winger had looked dangerous coming off the bench, even showing his versatility by starting on the backline, but this was his first opportunity to start where he feels most comfortable. Salinas looked right at home, relentlessly attacking Houston's defense with creativity and pace from the opening whistle.
And then it happened. After Stefani Miglioranzi cleverly chipped two Houston defenders, Salinas took a first touch at midfield with a few yards of space to work with, and then another to Alejandro Moreno a split-second before Lovel Palmer could break up the sequence. Moreno turned and played a ball into the corner, unleashing Salinas' speed on Houston defender Bobby Boswell.
Salinas acted as though he was going to go around Boswell's right shoulder, but at the last moment snuck behind Boswell's back, taking the ball with him in the process. With Sebastien Le Toux rushing to the near post and Fred providing another option far post, Salinas dribbled up the endline, baiting goalkeeper Pat Onstad to come out. With Onstad diving at his feet, Salinas masterfully flicked the ball with the outside of his right foot across the goalmouth and into the side netting for a 1-0 advantage.
Whether Salinas was even looking at his target when the ball left his feet is unclear, but what is certain is that the winger provided a much-needed goal for the Union in world-class fashion. Houston would battle back and take a 2-1 lead, clearing the way for a thrilling comeback capped by another stoppage time goal for Danny Mwanga, but Salinas' energy set the tone for Philadelphia.
UPDATED: Salinas was the runaway MLS Goal of the Week winner, receiving a whopping 61% of the online vote. For the second time in three weeks, Philadelphia fans showed their support in resounding fashion. Check out Salinas' Goal of the Week below.