CHESTER, Pa. -- Despite being mathematically eliminated from the MLS postseason after Seattle’s 3-2 victory over Toronto FC earlier on Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Union battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at PPL Park against a Houston Dynamo side that saw their playoff hopes dashed last weekend.
An early goal from Canadian defender Andrew Hainault was canceled out by one of the Union’s best goals of the season scored by MVP candidate Sebastien Le Toux just before halftime. It was the Frenchman's 13th of the year, which leaves him just one goal shy of the league lead.
The visiting Dynamo had more chances in the match and played a stronger 90 minutes but were not able to walk away with a win. Forward Cam Weaver had a wide open header in second half stoppage time that grazed the crossbar with a chance to win it.
Houston came into PPL Park determined to play well, and in the early stages of the match they did just that, taking the match to the Union on their home turf. Controlling the tempo, Houston pressured Brad Knighton’s goal with a number of half chances that tested the young keeper’s resolve.
They were able to make the breakthrough in the 12th minute of the match after some sloppy corner coverage from the Union led to Hainault’s first goal of the season. After seeing the ball bounce around the area, Hainault followed up a rebound of a shot by teammate Brad Davis which Knighton parried right to the Houston left back. The Canadian fired it home to give the Dynamo the 1-0 lead.
Philadelphia slowly recovered from the goal and began to see more of the ball as the first half opened up. Working the ball through Le Toux, the Union transitioned into their possession style that they’ve grown into as the year has gone on.
It was Le Toux again who was able to bring Philadelphia level with a classy goal in the 40th minute. Taking the ball magnificently in the middle of the box from a Roger Torres cross, the French striker had one touch to settle the ball and then his next was to slot it home past Pat Onstad.
The teams went into the break all level and for most of the second half were not able to do much to change the score line. Swapping minutes on the ball, Philadelphia and Houston battled to a satisfying 1-1 draw, one that extends the Union’s home undefeated streak.
The Galaxy circus comes to PPL Park on Thursday for Philadelphia’s next match as they try to play a spoilers while Houston travels to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes on Saturday.