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Philadelphia Union To Open Season Against Houston Dynamo, First Home Game Against Vancouver Whitecaps



The 2011 MLS season will see the Philadelphia Union heading to Houston to face the Dynamo in its season opener and then will welcome the Vancouver Whitecaps, one of the league’s two expansion teams for the 2011 season.

Last season the Union faired well versus the Dynamo last season, taking four points away in two games against the Houston club (one win, one draw). Both games featured sublime goals from a member of the Union. In the first match up, on May 29, Shea Salinas scored what would be rated by the MLS as the third best goal of the season. Taking the ball down the right side chalk, Salinas would lose and then steal back the ball, before heading into the 18. From there he chipped the ball into the left side of the net, over Dynamo goalie Pat Onstad. The Union would go on to win 3-2 through a goal from Sebastien Le Toux in the 68th minute and Danny Mwanga‘s second straight 90+ minute screamer (his first having brought a draw for the Union in a 1-1 game versus FC Dallas two weeks prior).

The Whitecaps game will be special in its own right with the return of fan favorite Salinas. After featuring heavily in the beginning of the season for the Union, Salinas suffered an injury to his leg that forced him out of play for a majority of the season. After returning to health, Salinas was an afterthought for Piotr Nowak and found himself a fringe member of the team for the remainder of the season. Nowak apparently promised Salinas a spot on the protected list for the expansion draft but a trade and a variety of other reasons led to him being unprotected and picked by the Whitecaps. This will be the Whitecaps first season and second game ever in the MLS (the Union won their home opener, their second game ever in the MLS, 3-2 over DC United at Lincoln Financial Field last season).

Union at Dynamo on March 19 (8:30 pm EST) and Vancouver at Union on March 26 (4:00 pm EST).

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