Wilf Thorne / Houston Dynamo

Academy Showcase finishes 1-1

The Dynamo Academy U-18 squad battled hard to earn a 1-1 draw at Carl Lewis Track & Field Complex Monday night against the Dynamo Academy’s home-grown players, all of whom are currently playing for their respective colleges. Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear and assistant coach Wade Barrett were on hand to coach the home-grown players in the annual Dynamo Academy Showcase.

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Despite the fact that the Academy team played with a few 1994 birthdays, the U-18s came out strong against the older competition and served notice early that they were there to compete. Academy forward Chance Bergen spent much of the night behind the home-grown backline, creating trouble for the former Academy centerback pairing of Sebastien Ibeagha (Fort Bend Hightower) and C.J. Odenigwe (Fort Bend Travis). The 18s' first opportunity came in the 23rd minute when Bergen’s attempt to curl a free kick into the upper right-hand corner of the net was thwarted by a diving save from goalkeeper Pat Wall (Strake Jesuit).

Although the U-18s had the better scoring opportunities in the first half, the home-grown players broke through first in the 45th minute. Wall sent a free kick soaring down the field that landed on the head of Pana Vasquez (Cy Falls). Vasquez headed a through-ball to Alex Dixon (Humble Atascosita), who took one touch and fired a laser past the goalkeeper.

The second half was fast-paced, as both teams controlled the ball well and pushed it up the field. In the 84th minute, Bergen had a golden opportunity to even the score. After picking Odenigwe's pocket at midfield, Bergen raced down the field, took two steps into the box, cut into the middle, and fired a left-footed strike that sailed wide of the net. The late miss did not hold back the 18s though, as they continued to press and found the equalizer minutes later.

In the 89th minute, Christian Camera (Fort Bend Elkins) flicked a loose ball up the field that deflected off Odenigwe and landed at the feet of forward Jade George (Lone Star College). George then turned on the jets and sprinted past Odenigwe toward goal. Wall came out to cut off the angle, but George calmly chipped the ball into the empty net and set the Academy bench ablaze.

The college players had one last opportunity in the waning seconds of the match, but a header from Johnny Torres (Humble Atascosita) off a Josue Soto cross went over the net.

Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson, who coached the U-18 squad, was pleased with his team’s performance against the stronger and more physically mature collegiate squad.

“I thought it was an excellent game and advertisement for the Dynamo Academy,” Clarkson said. “It had a great pace to the game, a nice edge to it. I think the score was fair. It was an entertaining game, and I am happy with the standard and the development of the program.”

Clarkson was excited to coach against players who, although not under his wing anymore, he still considers his own.

"When they go to college, we hope they will continue to get better and grow as soccer players," he said. "So it’s good to see they are developing and becoming good players, which is exactly what we want."

U-18s 1, College 1
December 20, 2010 -- Carl Lewis Track & Field Complex
Dynamo Academy Showcase

Scoring Summary:
COL -- Alex Dixon (Pana Vasquez, Pat Wall) 45
U-18 -- Jade George (unassisted) 89

U-18s -- Pedro Gutierrez Mora, Christian Gonzalez, Erick Tello (Bradley Bourgeois 58), Alan Hernandez, Leo Ayala (Alex Ochoa 79), Abe Matamoros (Christian Camera 73), Bryan Celis, Irvinn Ramirez (Marco Chacon 70), Josue Morales, Chance Bergen, Diego Velazaquez (Jade George 58).

College -- Pat Wall, Matt Boullt, C.J. Odenigwe, Sebastien Ibeagha, Mateo Jimenez, Matt Kirby, Johnny Torres, Daniel Roberts, Josue Soto, Pana Vasquez (Mauro Fuzetti 57), Alex Dixon.
Substitutes: Sebastian Karpen. 

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial