Courtesy Jim Fallon

Academy U-16s advance to Dallas Cup semis

The Houston Dynamo Academy U-16 team advanced to the semifinals of the Dallas Cup by beating Solar SC on penalty kicks Friday afternoon at the Pizza Hut Park complex. The Dynamo will face Texas Football Club Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in one semifinal, while Mexican club Monterrey will face Santa Clara Sporting in the other semifinal. The winners will meet in the U-16 final on Sunday at 10 a.m. on the stadium field at Pizza Hut Park.

The Dynamo had advanced as Group D winners on goal differential with a 2-1 record; Solar also went 2-1 and advanced as Group E winner. In Friday's game, Houston struggled in the first half but picked up its game in the second half and missed several good chances to take the lead, according to Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson.

In the shootout, Houston got goals from Leo Ayala (Houston Sharpstown), Bradley Bourgeois (Cy-Fair), and Manuel Chavez (Cy Springs) and a save from goalkeeper Juan Navarrete to take a 3-2 lead. After a Dynamo miss, Navarrete made a second stop in the fourth round of the shootout, and Isaiah Noreiga (Humble Kingwood Park) converted his shot to put Houston through to the semifinals.

"I am very happy for the boys," Clarkson said. "We need to see the same amount of character in tomorrow's semifinal."

The Dynamo organization's other representative in the Dallas Cup, the Dynamo South Texas Academy, lost its quarterfinal in the U-19 age bracket by a 2-0 score against California's LAFC. With a young squad and several players still playing in the UIL 5A playoffs for Mission Sharyland, the DSTA played well and missed several good chances, Clarkson said.