It wasn't the prettiest start to U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals Week for the Houston Dynamo U-16s, presented by Statoil, but they did come out with a point after a 0-0 draw with hometown rival Texans SC Houston.
The familiarity between the two Frontier Division opponents was evident from the start, and the result was a physical stalemate for much of the match resulting in few clear-cut chances. The Dynamo won both of the regular season meetings this year by scorelines of 1-0 and 4-2, but couldn't break through on Sunday night.
The Dynamo earned several dangerous free kicks within the first 20 minutes of the match, but were unable to make them count against a stout Texans defense that recorded its fifth consecutive shutout.
Much of the action in the final third for the Dynamo occured on the left flank with forward Josue Palomino. He created the best chance of the match in the 38th minute, whipping a cross into the box that forward Giovani Pacheco headed on frame. It looked as if the Dynamo would grab the lead right before halftime, but the Texans goalkeeper made a fine reaction save and tipped the shot onto the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
Texans had a chance to break the deadlock in the 58th minute. A long Texans goal kick bounced over the Dynamo back line and an alert Texans forward gave chase. He beat onrushing Dynamo goalkeeper Andy Rios to the ball, but his attempt to loft it over the keeper sailed high of the goal as well.
In the 65th minute, Rios came up big for the Dynamo as he made a one-on-one stop against an incoming Texans player to preserve his clean sheet. Six minutes later, the Texans goalkeeper responded with a save of his own, dropping low to make a one-handed save against a shot from Pacheco.
The match was stopped and the field was cleared twice due to lightning in the area, once in the 68th and again in the 77th minute.
The Dynamo nearly got the game winner as the horns went off for the second delay. Christian Lucatero sent in a corner kick that again shook the crossbar, and the rebound feel straight into the grateful arms of the Texans keeper.
The final six minutes of regular and stoppage time came after an hour-long delay; neither team was able to muster a significant chance before the full time whistle blew. The Houston teams each took a point from the match, leaving them behind Real Salt Lake-Arizona in Group 1 after RSL grabbed all three points from a 3-1 win over Albertson SC.
The Dynamo U-16s continue group play against Real Salt Lake AZ on Tuesday, July 16 at 8:30 p.m. Texans SC Houston face Albertson at the same time. Both matches take place at Houston Amateur Sports Park. All matches are free and open to the public.
U.S. Soccer Development Academy Scores (Sunday, July 14, 2013)
Houston Dynamo 0-0 Texans SC Houston
Real Salt Lake AZ 3-1 Albertson SC
Solar Chelsea SC 2-1 Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
De Anza Force 2-2 Colorado Rapids
Albertson SC 3-3 New York Red Bulls
Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 Seattle Sounders
De Anza Force 3-1 St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri
Shattuck-St. Mary's Soccer Academy 3-2 New England Revolution