The Houston Dynamo played their first training match of the preseason, facing off against the Dynamo Academy U-18 team Saturday at the Carl Lewis Track and Field Complex. The scrimmage was a chance for head coach Dominic Kinnear to get a feel for where his guys are after the first week of camp.
Everyone saw at least 45 minutes, and the lineups were a mix of veterans, new acquisitions, and players getting looks at other positions. The biggest surprise was Alex Dixon playing holding midfielder instead of his usual forward position.
“I think it went well today,” Dixon said afterward. “I have played [holding midfielder] before with the Academy.”
Dixon showed his speed, covering a lot of ground, and the ability to connect passes while paired with Brad Davis.
“I think I bring a little bit of quickness, but I have to work on my tackling,” Dixon said. “I can distribute the ball and play with both feet.”
Rookie Josue Soto lined up at left midfielder in the second half and showed why the Dynamo chose to sign him out of their Academy as opposed to allowing him to enter the draft. Soto assisted on three goals, one off a corner kick and two in the run of play. On his second assist, he chose to slot a pass across the box to a streaking Brian Ching, as supposed to taking a shot on goal.
“I can go at goal, but I just thought [Ching] had a better option at scoring,” Soto said.
The recently signed home-grown player capped off his Dynamo debut by setting up Cam Weaver with a nice over-the-top flick that the forward finished.
“I think we have known that if you give Soto time he will pick the right pass to make,” Kinnear said.
Unsigned rookie Evan Newton played the first half in goal for the Academy team and impressed, facing numerous shots from the first squad in the and making a number of quality saves.
“He had a very good day and made some good saves,” Kinnear said. “He had some very good saves, and it worked out for him that the Academy goalkeeper was under the weather. It was good for him to get some game time.”
The Dynamo will resume training Monday morning at Carl Lewis and will take on HBU in another preseason scrimmage next Saturday at 10 a.m. at HBU's Sorrels Field.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.