In their first organized scrimmage of 2012, the Houston Dynamo first team defeated the Dynamo Academy 3-0, Saturday morning, at the Houston Amateur Sports Park. The open scrimmage was an opportunity for fans to see the Academy U-18s take on a mix of first team players and trialists after the first week of preseason training.
The Dynamo began the match with mostly trialists against the Academy U-18 squad. Academy goalkeeper Leopoldo Castillo - who started in place of injured goalkeeper Fernando Piña - was tested early and often. In the 16th minute, Trinidadian forward Darryl Roberts got behind the Academy defense and into the penalty box. Castillo came out and grabbed the ball off the foot of Roberts, but was called for foul after the referee ruled that he also grabbed the forward's foot. On the ensuing penalty kick, Castillo dove to his right and stopped the shot from newly acquired Nathan Sturgis.
Minutes later, Castillo was tested again when Karo Okiomah picked up a loose ball and went in untouched toward the Academy goal. Castillo stood his ground and parried away the attempt to keep the game scoreless. The Dynamo first team out-shot the Academy 12-2 in the first half - and 28-3 for the game - and forced Castillo to make six of his game-high 13 saves in the first 45 minutes.
After a scoreless first half, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear went to his bench and brought in 10 returning players from last year's squad, including three-fourths of the backline - Geoff Cameron will resume training next week - that led Houston to the 2011 MLS Cup final. The intensity quickly ratcheted up, and it did not take long for the Dynamo to break through.
In the 53rd minute, midfielder Josue Soto used an array on dribbling skills to get into the penalty box before he was taken down by Academy midfielder Samuel Omondi. Colin Clark stepped up to the ball and fired it past Castillo to give the Dynamo their first lead.
Minutes later, it was Clark who dribbled past two defenders before being taken down in the penalty box. Homegrown midfielder Alex Dixon took the shot but Castillo dove right again and stopped the intial attempt. Unfortunately for the goalkeeper, the ball bounced back toward Dixon and he sent it into the open net to double the Dynamo's lead.
The Academy's best opportunity came in the second half, when Omondi picked up a loose ball and attempted to beat goalkeeper Erich Marscheider from 30 yards. Although the attempt had good pace and began to dip as it reached the goal, the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and away for a goal kick. The Academy mustered only three shot attempts on the day.
Dynamo first-round draft pick Colin Rolfe entered the game at halftime and was very active for the first team. Rolfe nearly scored his first goal off a give-and-go with Will Bruin in the 79th minute. Rolfe received the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and fired low past Castillo, but the ball hit off the far post and was cleared away. Minutes later, however, Rolfe opened his scoring account when his attempt on goal hit off left back Christian Gonzalez and sailed over the head of a helpless Castillo.
The Dynamo first team will return to action on Wednesday when they take on San Jacinto Junior College at 10:30 a.m. at the Houston Amateur Sports Park. The Dynamo Academy will return to USSF Developmental League action next Saturday when they take on Solar at the Houston Amateur Sports Park. The U-18s kick off a 11 a.m. with the U-16s to follow at 1:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Dynamo Academy
January 28, 2012 -- Houston Amateur Sports Park
HOU -- Colin Clark 54
HOU -- Alex Dixon 57
HOU -- Colin Rolfe 82
Houston Dynamo first team first half -- Erich Marscheider, Warren Creavalle, Nathan Sturgis, Oscar Recio, Brian Ownby, Jorge Escobar, Daniel Roberts, Philip Aseweh, Eder Arreola, Karo Okiomah, Darryl Roberts.
Houston Dynamo first team second half -- Erich Marscheider, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe, Alex Dixon, Josue Soto (Je-Vaughn Watson 81), Adam Moffat, Colin Clark, Will Bruin, Colin Rolfe.
Houston Dynamo Academy -- Leopoldo Castillo, Christian Gonzalez, Bradley Bourgeois, Erick Tello, Alex Ochoa (Luis Esquivel 53), Christian Diaz (Trey Richardson 60), Samuel Omondi (Raymundo Marquez 73, Martin Agredo 81), Jorge Andrade, Jose Cubillan (Irvin Ramirez 60), Manuel Chavez (Luis Thomas 53), Carlos Ibarra (Manuel Chavez 88).