HOU 1 – PHI 0: Deep Defending Sees Houston Through

Another day, another semifinal leg in which history repeated itself. In the opening leg, the Houston Dynamo created a plethora of scoring chances from wide positions. Thursday evening they sealed a spot in the Conference Finals with a goal created from an outswinging cross.

Houston sat back and urged the Union forward, picking off passes (dark blue) and making clearances as Philadelphia advanced closer to the penalty area.

Granted, it was off of a set piece, but the Union struggled with crosses in the first leg and did little to shore up their defense between matches.

Houston, on the other hand, put together a solid defensive effort. They did concede a lot of possession to the Union, a sound tactic given the Dynamo use a 4-4-2 (a great countering formation) and already had an aggregate lead. The Union only ended up with a 6% possession advantage but the Dynamo made 31 more clearances and intercepted 17 more passes. And they did it from deep in their own half.

Assuming Dominic Kinnear uses the same tactic in the Conference Final, it’s going to be quite a contrast with Kansas City, who prefers to press high up the pitch.

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