Most MLS games are not over in the first 15 minutes, but after the first 15 in Colorado on Wednesday you had the sense that this one could be decided already. Sure, there was plenty of time to come back, but the Union were not showing us those signs that we had seen over the past stretch of five games.
Playing their second game in five nights, tough to say if the travel or altitude were factors early. Poor marking was most definitely a factor though, especially when it came to marking one of the league’s top players in Omar Cummings. Cummings had two chances early and finished them both, finishing off the Union’s hopes for an upset at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the process.
For Philly to have had success there, they needed to control the tempo and keep the ball. They seemed a step slow offensively in the first half, which put more pressure on the team defensively. Had they been able to score the first goal, or even get to halftime scoreless, I would have liked their chances.
Trailing Colorado by two goals, 15 minutes in at altitude, makes it very tough. It’s difficult for any visiting team to be chasing the game at altitude, especially against a Colorado side that had lost just one game at home all season. Talk about a dominating side at home ... how about these results in their last four home games: Three 3-0 scores, topped by a 4-1 triumph over the Union on Wednesday.
Not much time to recover, as the Union face Houston on Saturday, which will mark their third game in an eight-day stretch. You wonder what changes Manager Peter Nowak might have in store. A healthy Danny Mwanga (shoulder) would help for sure against the Dynamo.
Houston comes in having already been eliminated from the MLS playoffs. In 2009, they were tied with Seattle for the best defensive record. In 2010, they have allowed 45 goals, tied for worst in the league with New England, who are also missing the playoffs.
The last time Philadelphia played Houston was on May 29 when Danny Mwanga decided things with a stoppage time goal in a 3-2 win. It was Philadelphia’s first road win of the season.
Besides the Philadelphia vs Houston game, other things to look for this weekend:
Will FC Dallas extend their unbeaten streak to 18 when they take on the Chicago Fire on Saturday?
Will Jeff Cunningham tie or break Jaime Moreno’s goal scoring record this weekend at home? Cunningham’s 131 goals trail Moreno by just one.
On Sunday, we have the Super Clasico with the LA Galaxy facing Chivas USA. Regardless of the records, this is always an entertaining game. Chivas USA is basically playing for pride and for jobs next season. For the Galaxy, they are trying to get their “A" game back after stumbling last week versus the New York Red Bulls. David Beckham returned to the starting 11 last week. Now his team needs to figure out, once again, how to play with him in the first 11 after playing almost the entire season without him.