The Dynamo Academy U-18s, presented by Statoil, advanced to the Dallas Cup semifinals with a dramatic 5-4 victory over Central California Blues on Friday afternoon. Houston will take on California based club PAC Tigres who advanced to the semifinals after defeating Knowsley Youth 5-4. PAC Tigres knocked the Dynamo U-16s out of last year's Dallas Cup, scoring a late goal to earn a 2-2 draw in their final group stage match.
The Dynamo got off to a strong start on Friday taking a 4-0 lead into halftime against Central California Blues. Dynamo homegrown signing Bryan Salazar (pictured, above) scored three goals in the first half to up his tournament goal scoring total to seven. Carlos Ibarra add another for his fourth goal in four games.
Unfortunately for Houston, the match was a tale of two halves. After dominating the first half and controlling the run of play, Central California Blues responded to the tune of four unanswered goals including the equalizer in the 86th minute.
Houston would get the last laugh, however, as Irvin Ramirez beat a pair of defenders and was taken down in the penalty box in the 90th minute. Ramirez converted the penalty kick and the Dynamo defended a last-second free kick to advance with a 5-4 victory. The win gives the Dynamo their first Dallas Cup semifinal berth since 2011.
In Houston's other quarterfinal match, the Dynamo U-14s fell to Chicago Magic PSG on penalty kicks. Roberto Marquez gave the Dynamo a 1-0 lead before Chicago Magic equalized in the second half. After a scoreless overtime, the two teams went to a penalty shootout. Each team made their first five shots, but after Chicago made their sixth attempt, Houston could not convert. Marquez led the Dynamo U-14s with three goals in the tournament.