The Houston Dynamo Academy played to a 0-0 tie with the United States U-17 national team Saturday night at Robertson Stadium as the second game of a doubleheader, following the Dynamo first team's 2-0 win over D.C. United.
The match was played in front of a large crowd for a youth game, with fans filling the lower bowl and part of the upper bowl on the west side of Robertson Stadium for the entire first half. Goalkeepers Fernando Piña for the United States and Pat Wall (Strake Jesuit) and Philip Blake (Deer Park) finished with clean sheets.
The Dynamo used a number of 1992 birthdays to start the game but finished with six 1994 birthdays in the game against the U.S. squad preparing for next year's FIFA U-17 World Cup, playing with 1994 and 1995 birthdays. For Houston, Wall, forward Abe Matamoros (Strake Jesuit), and defenders C.J. Odenigwe (Fort Bend Travis) and Sebastien Ibeagha (Fort Bend Hightower) had particularly strong games.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for U.S. players Piña and midfielder Bryan Celis, although Celis did not get to play Saturday after playing in a friendly on Thursday. Both players are members of the Dynamo Academy who played against their club teammates on Saturday night. Piña (Challenge Early College H.S.) last played for the Dynamo Academy on its European trip last August; Celis (Katy Mayde Creek) was with them as recently as December.
"It was an honor to play here against my old teammates," Piña said afterward. "Once the game started, though, I put that aside, and they were on the other team like any other game."
Piña made two key saves in the match for the shutout. In the 39th minute, he dove to his left to save a Matamoros header that was Houston's best chance. Although the United States dominated possession in the second half, Piña also had to be alert to save a shot from Manuel Chavez (Cy Springs) in the 61st minute.
At the other end, Wall's best save came on a long-range shot from Alejandro Guido in the 60th minute; he had earlier watched a shot from second-half sub Kellen Gulley go just wide.
The match was the second at Robertson Stadium for the Dynamo Academy, which beat the Texas Rush 2-0 at Robertson on September 19, 2009. The Dynamo Academy returns to action next weekend with the USSF Development Academy Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Fla. The Dynamo still have a chance to qualify for the Development Academy playoffs.
United States U-17 vs. Houston Dynamo U-18
May 22, 2010 –- Robertson Stadium
United States -- Fernando Piña, Kellyn Acosta (Ive Burnett 46), Alessandro Mion, Andrew Souders, Holden Fender (Takuya Okada 80), Nico Melo, Tarik Salkicic (Zachary Pfeffer 77), Joe Amon, Riggs Lennon, Alejandro Guido, Martin Arrieta (Kellen Gulley 46).
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Wall (Philip Blake 82), Raymundo Marquez (Isaiah Noreiga 53), Sebastien Ibeagha, C.J. Odenigwe, Leo Ayala (Jordan Davies 56), Miguel Zapata, Irvinn Ramirez (Christian Camera 82), Sebastian Karpen (Bryan Salazar 65), Josue Morales, Abe Matamoros, Manuel Chavez (Erick Sanchez 63).
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial