Two teams looking to bounce back from recent losses were left deadlocked in Chester, Penn., with a game of two halves ending in neither Philadelphia nor Houston’s favor. Despite holding the Union without a shot on target, Houston was unable to break through at the other end, leaving the teams scoreless at PPL Park.
Houston’s best chance came in the 38th minute when a near-post blast from Will Bruin in the left of Zac MacMath’s area rattled the keeper’s woodwork. Philadelphia, however, may have had the match’s best chance overall, with Andrew Wenger going over the bar in stoppage time with an uncontested volley from just short of the penalty spot.
Left with 10-men after perceived time-wasting earned Kofie Sarkodie a second yellow card, Houston was able to survive six minutes of added time to end the teams three game’s losing streak. Philadelphia, on the other hand, was unable to fully rebound from mid-week disappointment at Red Bull Arena, held to the team’s fourth draw of the season.
For the Dynamo, the result ends a three-match losing streak, but the performance may brings back unwelcome memories of from last summer. Now 239 minutes without a goal, Houston saw Bruin and Gilles Barnes (pictured) fail to convert the team’s strong first half into significant tests of MacMath. If one of the team’s worries coming into 2014 was the poor finishing that plagued last season, only two shots on target on top of a prolonged scoreless run may renew doubts.
For the home side, an improved second half helped put a poor first in perspective, but leaving the field without putting a shot on target, Philadelphia is facing its own doubts in the attack. Starting Wenger with Conor Casey for the first time, the Union played out a benign first half before asserting more control in the second, and while that control produced a number of strong chances (including a counterattack that Casey failed to convert from just outside the six-yard box), the question surrounding the team remains the same. For all the prowess they’ve shown keeping the ball, can Philadelphia do anything with it?
Coming in having scored five in three games, the Union almost put those questions behind them. Instead, thanks in part to a strong performance from David Horst, they’re back to searching for somebody to score goals.