We're coming to you live from Nelson Stadium in Austin, where the Dynamo will continue their pre-season schedule with a friendly against the Austin Aztex, a new USL1 squad.
Kickoff is coming at 7:30 p.m., and we'll have a running blog to keep you informed about all the action. Nelson Field is an Austin ISD football stadium, so we're playing on a narrow, artificial turf football field. Needless to say, that's not the prettiest site in the world.
It's not even 6:00 yet, and we've already got a good contingent of Dynamo fans on hand tailgating in the parking lots, so we're looking forward to a good atmosphere tonight. Stay tuned!
7:00 p.m. - Starting lineups are in.
Houston: Tally Hall, Richard Mulrooney, Julius James, Bobby Boswell, Wade Barrett, Geoff Cameron, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Brian Mullan.
Austin: Miguel Gallardo, Zach Pope, David Hertel, Wes Allen, Gareth Evans, Alex Tapp, Ryan McMahen, Sullivan Silva, Kyle Brown, Eddie Johnson, Gifton Noel Williams.
7:21 p.m. - We do have a great Dynamo turnout, with El Batallon behind the Dynamo bench on the near side and the Texian Army lining up directly opposite on the sparsely-populated far side. There's also plenty of orange scattered throughout the stands, and even some Aztex staffers have admitted to being Dynamo fans, although they may not be rooting for us tonight.
7:34 p.m. - The Dynamo and Aztex starting lineups are walking onto the field with the referees. The Dynamo are in their orange game uniforms, while Austin has a red-and-white vertically striped top with white shorts and red socks.
Kickoff - We're underway from Nelson Stadium! The Dynamo are going right to left, which means they have a pretty strong breeze at their back in the first half. Austin lost to New England here last week 2-0 with an even stronger breeze blowing through the stadium for that one.
3' - Nothing major so far. Eddie Johnson (no, not that Eddie Johnson) offside for Austin, while Brad Davis showed off a nifty dribbling spin on the near sideline for the Dynamo.
4' - Yikes. Julius James with a yellow card for knocking down a through ball with his hand. Nothing to argue about there.
6' - Both goalkeepers are going to have to be alert, as we'll get a lot of long through-balls on this fast turf. Austin's Miguel Gallardo almost dropped a high-bouncing punt from Tally Hall just now.
8' - Brad Davis finds himself alone 35 yards from goal and rips a long-distance blast that just clears the crossbar. Good rip from Davis.
10' - Tally Hall's punt just carried a full 70 yards with the wind.
11' - High, bending cross from Mulrooney on the right carries to the back post, where Davis gets a head to it and sends a bouncing header at the near post, but Austin goalkeeper Gallardo makes the save. He makes it look more difficult than it is, but he makes the save.
13' - Mulrooney corner kick from the left ... headed clear.
14' - Sullivan Silva dodges Barrett on the right, but the ball is forced away from him to Tally Hall on the end line.
15' - Great chance for the Dynamo! Clark plays a terrific cross to Cameron at the top of the box, and he heads the ball downward to the far post, where Ching reacts first but fires his left-footed shot wide of the right post.
18' - The Dynamo see two shots blocked, one from Davis (on his right foot) and one from Mullan from farther out.
21' - Great run forward by Julius James, including a one-two with Ching, before setting up Cameron for a cross just too far for Mullan to get a good head to it.
21' - Goal! 1-0 Austin! At the other end, the Dynamo go down a goal as Sullivan Silva fights off Barrett to get to a long ball and slot the shot past Tally Hall.
25' - Davis with a 25-yard shot after some Dynamo possession, but it's a harmless one-bouncer right at Gallardo.
26' - Silva, the goalscorer, goes down with a cramp or pull, and is replaced by Yordany Alvarez.
27' - Just on the field, Alvarez climbs at the back post to get a header on goal, but Tally Hall gets a hand to it and covers up to prevent a corner kick.
28' - Noel Williams, Austin's big pre-season signing from England, is very good in the air and is giving Boswell trouble. The Dynamo have dominated possession, but the Aztex have had some success on the counter-attack by pushing their outside midfielders very high.
30' - In a stadium that seats 5,000 on each side, the near side is almost full, while the far side is less than half full, so I'd say attendance is right around the 5,000 mark. Just a guess.
31' - Davis free kick from 28 yards hits the wall and deflects out of bounds, but it's given as a goal kick. Hard to believe neither the referee nor linesman saw that one.
34' - Dynamo goal! 1-1. Long left-footed ball from Geoff Cameron on the right flank plays in Brian Mullan behind the defense, and he coolly chips Gallardo to tie the game.
38' - Kyle Brown makes a run on the left before slipping a pass through for Williams in the box, but Julius James arrives to intercept cleanly.
39' - Gifton Noel Williams, Austin's best player, gets a second yellow card (this one for a foul, the first for obstructing a dead ball), and is ejected. Dominic Kinnear argues and gets the referees to allow a substitution so the teams can continue playing 11 v. 11.
43' - Brad Davis breaks into the box after playing a one-two with Brian Mullan, but he rips a shot wide from a tough angle.
45'+ - Goal! 2-1 Austin! The Dynamo end up on the short end of an odd-man break. The open man, Yordany Alvarez, ripped a shot from the right that Tally Hall saved, but the rebound fell loose in the six-yard box, and Wade Barrett, trying to clear the ball, put it in his own net.
We're going to get a ton of halftime subs ... we'll just give you the Dynamo's second half lineup:
Hall, Waibel, S.Wondolowski, Hainault, Chabala, Cameron, Hayden, C.Wondolowski, Ashe, Kamara, Quill.
48' - Tie game! 2-2! Eric Quill, playing forward, finds a loose ball in the box and buries it into the lower left corner with an accurate right-footed shot.
56' - Kamara makes a strong run down the left, then pulls up and lays back a great ball at the top of the 18 for John Michael Hayden, but he fires his shot high. Perfectly weighted pass by Kamara.
57' - Hayden with a perfect through pass for Ashe on the left to put him in alone with the goalkeeper on the left side, but Ashe tops his shot and it rolls wide right.
58' - If possible, the Dynamo have been even more dominant in the second half against an Austin team that made only one change at the half. The finishing in the final third has not been there, but Ashe and Hayden have been very active in creating chances and controlling possession early in the half.
62' - Tally Hall comes out well to claim a long, wind-blown cross. He's had a couple of those in this half, since Austin is playing with the wind, and he's handled them well.
64' - Great buildup from Houston, with a run on the right by Cameron, a long cross to Ashe, a layback for Hayden, a ball in the box to Kamara, and a lay-off for Chris Wondolowski at the top of the 18, where he rips a shot just wide.
66' - Kamara beats the goalkeeper to the ball in the right corner of the penalty box and neatly dribbles away from him in tight space, but a foul is called just outside the box before he can cross or shoot. Not sure why advantage wasn't played there. Hayden's free kick is too deep for anybody to get on the end of.
67' - Ustruck comes in for Cameron, making Christine very happy! All Dynamo field players have now seen the field.
72' - Hayden and Kamara play a free kick short, and Kamara fires a low blast that skitters all the way through but is claimed relatively easily by Gallardo.
82' - Chris Wondolowski plays in Kamara on the right side, but his shot under pressure flies just high. Looked like Gallardo might have gotten a touch, but it's a goal kick, so I guess not. Dominic Kinnear appears to disagree.
85' - Hall with a great dive to tip away a cross from a counter-attack, and it looked like Chabala managed to clear it.
88' - Alvarez hits one off the post! The Dynamo escape that chance; to be honest, we were checking on something else and didn't see it.
We need to hit the field for post-game interviews, but we're into stoppage time now.
90'+ - Final score, 2-2. The Dynamo definitely had the better chances throughout the game, but the Aztex pull out a 2-2 tie at home. Wonder if we might see these guys again in Open Cup play? Only time will tell.
Thanks for reading! Remember, single game tickets for the first six games of the year are on sale now, so get your tickets soon for the MLS opener vs. Columbus on March 21! And bring some friends to boot.
vs. Austin Aztex
March 7, 2009 -- Nelson Field, Austin TX
AUS -- Sullivan Silva (Gifton Noel Williams) 21
HOU -- Brian Mullan (Geoff Cameron) 34
AUS -- Own goal (Wade Barrett) 45+
HOU -- Eric Quill (unassisted) 48
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Richard Mulrooney (Craig Waibel 46), Julius James (Stephen Wondolowski 46), Bobby Boswell (Andrew Hainault 46), Wade Barrett (Mike Chabala 46), Geoff Cameron (Erik Ustruck 67), Ricardo Clark (John Michael Hayden 46), Stuart Holden (Chris Wondolowski 46), Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 46), Brian Ching (Kei Kamara 46), Brian Mullan (Eric Quill 46).
Austin Aztex -- Miguel Gallardo, Zach Pope, David Hertel, Wes Allen, Gareth Evans, Alex Tapp, Ryan McMahen, Sullivan Silva (Yordany Alvarez 26), Kyle Brown, Eddie Johnson, Gifton Noel Williams (Hector Quintana 39).
HOU -- Julius James (caution; Intentional Handball) 4
AUS -- Gifton Noel Williams (caution; Delay of Game) 33
AUS -- Gifton Noel Williams (ejection; Second Caution) 39
AUS -- Lance Key (caution) 70
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial