With a win on Saturday night at PPL Park against the Houston Dynamo, Philadelphia would have retaken the Eastern Conference lead from Columbus.
The Union looked poised for a return to first place when Jack McInerny found the back of the net on a give-and-go pass from Sebastian Le Toux in the 19th minute (which was fitting as McInerny turned 19 years old the day before).
McInerny scored again moments later but the goal was nullified by an off-sides call by the referee.
Just before the half, Houston midfielder Colin Clark had a great scoring chance from the box but his shot sailed high and Philly took their 1-0 lead into the half.
McInerny had yet another scoring chance in the second half (but was unable to capitalize) before he was removed in the 66th minute. The Sons of Ben and the other 18,000+ fans in attendance cheered wildly for the youngster as he came out of the match.
The clock continued to tick down to the final minutes. Le Toux had a scoring chance of his own in the 84th minute. As Dynamo GK Tally Hall charged at him, Le Toux took his shot, but the ball just missed, hitting the left post.
Sometimes it only takes one minute for an entire game to change. This was that minute.
A goal by Le Toux would have iced the game. Instead, Houston’s Geoff Cameron turned the tide with a goal past Union GK Faryd Mondragon in the 85th minute, tying the game at 1-1. The match would end in a tie. The one point was not enough to retake first place from Columbus.
It was a painful turn of events for the Union and their fans as Philadelphia (who is widely considered to be a defensive minded team) was unable to hold on to their lead late in the game. The team next plays on Saturday, again at home, when they will again try to return to their early season winning ways.
In other soccer news, the U.S. will play Mexico on Wednesday night at Lincoln Financial Field. It will be the first game for newly acquired U.S. head coach Jürgen Klinsmann (who was in attendance at the Union vs. Dynamo match). Independent Philly will be there to cover all of the action.
[photo credit: Jim Solomon]
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