The pressure increased on Friday for the eclectic group participating in the Dynamo potential player combine, as the players spent almost the entire training session in a virtually full-field game.
Head coach Dominic Kinnear split the group into two squads and pitted them against each other in three periods totaling about 55 minutes, with slight modifications to the teams between games. Afterward, Kinnear said the level of play was competitive, although he did not single out any individuals.
The orange squad was active throughout, taking a 3-1 win behind two goals from Dynamo Academy forward Chance Bergen (Cy Woods ’10) and the active flank play of Francisco Navas Cobo on the right and Gherland McDonald on the left. Tyler Deric, in goal for the white team, had to make two saves in the first four minutes on close-range chances, and he was let off the hook in the ninth minute when Bergen headed wide from a Yordany Alvarez long ball.
At the other end, Risto Lakic forced a save out of Tally Hall in the 10th minute, and hard work from Jhonatan da Silva and Yedi Zahiri almost led to a penalty kick in the 11th minute, but Kinnear – serving as referee for the first two periods – waved play on.
The orange squad went ahead in the 12th minute when Navas Cobo snuck behind Mike Chabala at the halfway line on the right, then made a surging run forward. At the edge of the penalty area, he cut to his right past one defender, then squared the ball across the face of goal as Deric slid at him, and Bergen flicked a roller past a defender into an empty net.
Both Deric and Tally Hall made saves on attempted chips over the final eight minutes of the 20-minute opening period, and the orange team led 1-0 at the first intermission.
In the second period, Alvarez – the Cuban who has played for the Austin Aztex over the last two years, shifted from midfield to right back, pushing Brandon Poltronieri from right back to left back and McDonald from left back to left midfield. After Hall saved an early chance from da Silva, the move paid off in the sixth minute when McDonald stepped up to the edge of the penalty area and ripped a left-footed one-bouncer inside the far post.
The orange team made it 3-0 just three minutes later when Bergen won the ball in traffic on the right and dribbled into the penalty area before laying the ball off. Deric made an initial save, but Bergen continued his run to tap into an empty net.
The only other good chance of the second period saw da Silva play a good cross to Jade George (Langham Creek ’10), who headed wide.
In the third period, Alvarez switched teams with Lakic and played on the white team back line with Nelson Akwari before switching into midfield and allowing Geoff Cameron to play at the back. The best early chance of the period came when Chabala bent in a right-footed cross, and George glanced a close-range header on frame, but Hall reacted quickly to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The only goal of the final stanza came 12 minutes in when da Silva, full of skill on his left foot, found himself on the right side of the penalty area. Flat-footed, he improvised a left-footed toe-poke to the top right corner.
Capping off the day, Deric dove full-length to his left to save an Emmanuel Gaytan header after a strong driven corner from McDonald.
Afterward, Kinnear told the players they would have one more session tomorrow, but they will likely be down in numbers, as the Dynamo Academy players head to Colorado for two games over the weekend and first-team players Cameron and Chabala leave town on vacation. That will likely leave just 12 field players for Saturday’s session.
ORANGE: Tyler Deric, Brandon Poltronieri, Pablo Salazar, Gherland McDonald, Francisco Navas Cobo, Emmanuel Gaytan, Omar Gomez Galicia, Yordany Alvarez, Chance Bergen, Jorge Carrasco.
WHITE: Tally Hall, Risto Lakic, Nelson Akwari, Mike Chabala, Yedi Zahiri, Geoff Cameron, Diego Velazquez, Pablo Brenes, Jhonatan da Silva, Jade George.