The Houston Dynamo Academy and a squad comprised of Dynamo college-protected players and select guests tied 2-2 on a rainy Monday night at the Houston Amateur Sports Park in the annual Dynamo Academy Showcase. The college players won 3-2 in the ensuing penalty shootout, after Notre Dame goalkeeper Pat Wall stoned Academy goalkeeper Fernando Piña in the final round.
As in previous years, both teams came out strong, looking to impress Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear and his staff who were on hand to evaluate the players. Pana Vasquez, who trained with the Dynamo first team for two months in 2010, nearly put the college players on the board early. In the 14th minute, Vasquez grabbed a loose ball from 30 yards out, took two dribbles and fired a left-footed shot that narrowly missed the upper-corner of the net. Less than a minute later, UNC-Wilmington midfielder Daniel Roberts followed Vasquez's attempt with one of his one, curling a free kick around the Academy wall but just missing the goal.
Although they did not train as a squad prior to last night's match, the college players looked sharp in the first half, outshooting the Academy 9-1. The college squad got on the board first off a corner kick in the 29th minute. With the wind swirling, Coker College forward Carlos Recinos sent a looping ball into the penalty box. Piña mistimed his jump and could only get a hand on the ball as it trickled into the net.
The one-goal deficit gave some life to the Academy squad and it did not take long for them to equalize. In the 37th minute, left back Alex Ochoa sent a ball toward the penalty box that skipped past center back Matt Boullt. Academy forward Alan Arellano darted through the box and beat Wall to the ball to even the match before halftime.
The action continued into the second half, as the rain picked up. Wall made his first save of the night in the 49th minute when Antonio Valdez got on the receiving end of a 30-yard cross from right back Christian Gonzalez. Valdez one-timed the cross on frame, but Wall did well to parry the shot away for a corner kick. On the ensuring corner, Academy midfielder Jorge Andrade sent a line drive cross to the near post, but Jorge Contreras's flick header missed the target.
The college squad regained the lead minutes later off a set piece outside the Academy's 18-yard box. Roberts faked the long cross and rolled the ball down the line to a streaking Mateo Jimenez. Jimenez sent a low cross into the box and Josue Morales came through unmarked to beat second half goalkeeper Leopoldo Castillo.
The young squad was not to be deterred, however, and as the rain came pouring down, the intensity level picked up. In the 81st minute, second half sub Christian Camera beat his defender and was taken down inside the penalty box. The Academy was awarded a penalty kick and Manuel Chavez calmed placed the ball past the diving Wall to even the match.
The game remained tied after 90 minutes and a penalty shootout took place to determine the winner. After Ábe Matamoros's fifth-round attempt ricocheted off the crossbar, Pina stepped up with a chance to even the score. The 17-year old goalkeeper went to his right, but Wall read him well and stopped the shot to give the college-squad the victory.
College-Protected Players 2 Houston Dynamo Academy 2 (College players won 3-2 on PKs)
December 19, 2011 -- Houston Amateur Sports Park
Dynamo Academy Showcase
COL -- Carlos Recinos 29
ACA -- Alan Arellano (Alex Ochoa) 37
COL -- Josue Morales (Mateo Jimenez) 58
ACA -- Manuel Chavez (penalty kick) 81
Houston Dynamo Academy -- Fernando Piña, Christian Gonzalez, Bradley Bourgeois, Erick Tello, Alex Ochoa, Jorge Contreras, Jorge Andrade, Jose Cubillan, Christian Diaz, Alan Arellano, Manuel Chavez.
Substitutes used: Christian Camera, Leopoldo Castillo, Ryan Hostak, Emmanuel Ubadinobi, Antonio Valdez.
College squad -- Pat Wall, Miguel Zapata, Matt Boullt, Ed Estrada, Leo Ayala, Pana Vasquez, Dan Roberts, Abe Matamoros, Mateo Jimenez, Johnny Torres, Carlos Recinos.
Substitutes used: Josue Moralez, Amaury Ponce, Irvinn Ramirez.