The last two weeks have been extremely busy for the Houston Dynamo Academy.
For the first time in team history, the club had three youth sides competing in last week’s Dallas Cup – sending a U-15 side, along with their two USSF Development Academy sides that competed in the U-16 age group and the Gordon Jago Super group, respectively.
With a few of their regulars absent, and missing first team player Francisco Navas Cobo due to injury, it was difficult for Houston’s U-18s to cope in the Super Group. They lost their first two games against Brazilian side Coritiba FC and eventual co-champions Eintracht Frankfurt in the tournament’s first two days. Things ended on a high note in the third game, though, as the U-18s closed out with a 2-1 win over Liga Deportiva Alajuelense.
“We thought we were very competitive in the previous games but missed some chances when we really needed to score,” Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson said of the first two Super Group defeats.
The U-16s enjoyed more success, topping their bracket thanks mostly to the exploits of Lorenzo Salazar, who scored four goals in the three bracket games. Entering the tournament as the defending champions at that age level, their run came to an end with a 4-2 quarterfinal loss to Estudiantes Tecos. Houston went down a man with the score tied at 2-2, then conceded twice to the eventual U-16 champions of Dallas Cup.
Houston’s U-15s just missed advancing from their bracket, winning twice and losing once, but were edged out of a wild card spot into the knockout rounds on goal differential, despite finishing with a 4-0 win in their final game.
The packed schedule did not end with the Dallas Cup’s conclusion for a select few Dynamo youngsters. Four Academy players from the U-18 team traveled with Houston’s reserve team to play against the Chicago Fire the following Sunday. Ábe Matamoros, Bryan Celis, Miguel Zapata, and Christian Gonzalez all saw time in a 3-0 loss to Chicago.
Along with that, the U-16s and U-18s returned to action in the USSF Development Academy league, winning and tying 1-0 and 1-1 against Texans Soccer Club after finishing Dallas Cup. Development Academy action continues this weekend against Classics Elite and Lonestar Soccer Club, with the Dynamo Academy playing the first competitive matches at the Houston Amateur Sports Park in south Houston.