mls Game Preview - Philadelphia v Houston

 
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Dynamo aim to keep momentum vs. Union

The Houston Dynamo will look to keep its momentum moving forward and keep that of the Philadelphia Union trending down when the sides square off on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.

The Dynamo (7-6-6, 27 points) extended their home unbeaten streak to 10 consecutive games across all competitions and seven straight in MLS play with a 1-1 draw against in-state rivals FC Dallas on Saturday. Houston is 6-2-2 at home this season in MLS matches

After conceding a goal to their Texas Derby rivals just 53 seconds into the match, Houston evened things in the eighth minute on Mauro Manotas' header. Manotas's goal was his 10th of the season, matching a career high.

Goalkeeper Joe Willis came up with a massive double save off a penalty kick in the 61st minute to preserve the result for the Dynamo.

"I've had plenty scored on me in the past, but I had a feeling of which way he was going to go and I was fortunate to get my legs to it," Willis said after the game. "Once I saw the rebound I just tried to get up as quick as I could and react and fortunately I was able to save the ball."

The penalty save is Willis' second of the year and third with the Dynamo in the regular season.

"(Willis) showed his mentality," Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said. "He shows that when he needs to be there and save us that what we need from a good 'keeper,. Today, Joe was very important to keep the game 1-1."

The Dynamo used their 19th different starting lineup in their 19 matches this year. Cabrera has now used 41 different starting lineup combinations in his 43 games on the Dynamo sideline since the start of the 2017 season.

Philadelphia heads to the searing heat of south Texas on the heels of the 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy at home on Saturday.

The Union's CJ Sapong opened the scoring with a quick reaction to Borek Dockal's half-volley, but the Galaxy owned the rest of the match, dropping Philly to its first loss this season when it scored first in a match.

Philadelphia (7-10-3, 24 points) has won just once in its past four outings.

"Finding ways to win these types of games is what turns what is a good season into a great one, and we haven't been able to take that step," Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin said after the loss to Los Angeles.

"We played a good first half, moved the ball well, created some chances, maybe had an opportunity to get a second goal; we didn't do it. But still played well."

Houston holds a 6-5 all-time advantage with four draws against the Union and has won five of the seven matches played in the Bayou City.

U.S. Soccer announced Monday that the Dynamo and the Union will be host teams for Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Aug. 8. Houston will face Los Angeles FC. Philadelphia will host Chicago.

First held in 1914, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition for soccer in the United States and the country's oldest annual tournament for team sports. This year marks the 105th edition of the tournament, which saw the Union finish as runners-up in 2014 and 2015.

Updated July 23, 2018

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