The Houston Dynamo Academy U-18s played a thriller on Tuesday, rallying for a 4-3 win over Capital Area RailHawks Academy (North Carolina) in the U.S. Soccer Academy Playoffs in Westfield, Indiana.
The Dynamo Academy U-18s were down 2-0, but struck for four goals in the final thirty minutes for a dramatic win. Christian Lucatera led the pack with two goals, while Zach Jackson and Eli Ozumba netted the others.
“We played with more intensity in the second half,” said Dynamo director of youth development James Clarkson. “After they scored their second goal, we changed our formation, went to 3-5-2. The boys looked fantastic, pushing more and more to score. Down 2-0 with 30 min left to score, we scored all four goals.”
“As long as we avoid getting beat by five or six goals, we should win the group,” said Clarkson.
The team’s final group play match is Thursday against Chivas USA at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana. Chivas USA is currently in second place in Group A with three points and a 1-1 record.
Meanwhile, the Houston Dynamo Academy U-16s lost their opening game against Weston FC (Florida) in the Academy Playoffs at Grand Park Sports Campus.
The Academy’s U-16 squad was down 1-0 just before halftime when the game was delayed due to rain. After a nearly two-hour rain delay, Weston FC scored its second goal, and held on for a 2-0 victory.
“It was an unfortunate loss,” said Clarkson. “There was a rain delay for almost two hours so the game was suspended for a long period of time.”
This loss makes the U-16 squad’s next two matches almost assuredly must-wins for advancing to the kockout round. The U-16s face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday before taking on Match Fit Academy FC (New Jersey) on Friday to wrap up pool play.
The top team in each of the eight groups (for both age groups) qualifies for the knockout round of the Academy Playoffs, seeded based on their regular-season points-per-game average. The higher-seeded team will host a knockout-round game on July 7 or 9, with the winners advancing to the semifinals and final on July 17 and 19, respectively, in Carson, California.