By Annie Ross
What’s gotten into the Union, Philly’s feckless MLS entry that have turned into a juggernaut after starting the season like wimps?
They earned their third straight victory last night to defeat the Houston Dynamo 2-0 in front of a crowd of 15,234 at Talen Energy Stadium.
Goals from Fafa Picault and Ilsinho, both assisted by Chris Pontius, pushed the Union to a fifth straight game without a loss.
The Union broke through in the 17thminute as Ilsinho danced around the Dynamo defense and found Pontius out wide on the far side of the pitch.
Pontius sent a ball inside the box and found a leaping Picault who jumped over Dynamo defenseman A.J. DeLaGarza and found the back of the net to give the Union a 1-0 lead. The goal for Picault was his second in as many matches.
Ilsinho created more fireworks in the 26th minute. After a Houston free-kick was blocked by the Union wall, Ilsinho captured possession and went coast to coast into the Dynamo zone. Ilsinho sent a rocket from distant beating Dynamo keeper Joe Willis, but his shot hit the post and the match stayed at 1-0.
Ilsinho ultimately cashed in for the Union in the 38th minute. After CJ Sapong stole possession from Houston’s Romell Quioto, Sapong found Pontius who again earned an assist on a Philly goal. Pontius found a streaking Ilsinho who buried home his first goal of the season.
For Pontius, his second assist of the night ran up his total to six on the season. His six assists not only the most by a Union player this season, but also ties his personal career high for assists in a season. Pontius also recorded six assists last season for Philadelphia.
The rest of the evening was left in the hands of 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake. In his 50th career MLS appearance for the Union, Blake registered four saves on his way to his fourth straight clean sheet.
Blake also extended his shutout streak to 363 minutes, setting the record for the longest shutout streak by a goalkeeper in MLS this season as well as the second longest shutout streak in Union history.
The two goals and Blake in net was all the Union needed at the final whistle blew with the Union capturing the 2-0 home victory. With the win, the Union are now 3-0-2 in their last five contests outscoring their opponents 12-3 during this stretch.
Philly will have a quick turnaround as they are back in action on Saturday when Tim Howard and Colorado Rapids visit Talen Energy Stadium. Kick-off for this match is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on The Comcast Network.