Philadelphia has been somewhat of a revelation under interim head coach Jim Curtin, who took over in June and has steadily guided the club back into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
But the club will need to find a way to get back on the winning track on Sunday after suffering a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo last Friday -- the culmination of a difficult stretch of three games in seven nights.
In an effort to rotate his squad and keep some players fresh, Curtin included a few surprises in the starting 11 against Houston, putting rookie forward Pedro Ribeiro up top and former No. 1 overall draft selection Andre Blake in goal for his first start in MLS.
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, the Dynamo struck first in the 51st minute as Giles Barnes got on the end of a long ball down the left flank from Brad Davis. Barnes got to the end line and squared it across to a wide-open Will Bruin, who finished past Blake with ease.
Houston then put the game away in the 90th minute with a bit of luck as Barnes' attempted pass from the left wing deflected off the leg of Union defender Ray Gaddis and beat Blake for an own goal.
"It was an even game, but at the end of the day we walk out of here with nothing which is disappointing," Curtin said. "It turned out to be a one- play game like it often is in this building. Houston made a play to their credit to get the goal."
For San Jose, it will be a quick turnaround as the club heads to Philadelphia following a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.
Following a scoreless opening period, Seattle wasted little time in breaking the deadlock as Chad Barrett scored just 35 seconds after the restart, taking a through ball from Obafemi Martins and firing a shot past the on-rushing Jon Busch.
But San Jose managed to level the score in the 65th minute when Chris Wondolowski got on the end of Cordell Cato's low cross to the back post and tucked the finish into the empty net.
San Jose will also be without Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia for the second consecutive match as the midfielder underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
Sunday's match will be the only meeting of the season between the sides. Last season, San Jose claimed a 1-0 win over Philadelphia at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sept. 9, 2013.
UPI Sports Results for September 20, 2014
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