Giles Barnes scored two goals and Tony Cascio and Omar Cummings each added a goal as the Houston Dynamo rolled to a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday at Methodist Champions Field at Houston Sports Park.
The friendly was the first game between the Dynamo and Riverhounds after the two clubs formed an affiliate partnership last November for the 2014 season. The Riverhounds are a member of USL PRO, the third tier of U.S. soccer. The Dynamo will loan a minimum of four players to Pittsburgh for the upcoming season.
The Dynamo first threatened in the fifth minute as Brad Davis bent a pass through the penalty area and in behind the Pittsburgh defense. The pass was ticketed for Cascio, but Riverhounds trialist Brian Feteke cleared the ball from danger just yards from his own goal.
11 minutes later, Houston came close again as Boniek Garcia dribbled through a crowd and into the box before playing a short pass to Barnes, who was crowded by Pittsburgh defenders before getting a shot away.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Servando Carrasco played a pass to Cascio, who was stationed on the edge of the six-yard box at the near post with his back to the goal. Cascio used one touch for a clever back-heel that rolled through the goal area and into the far side of the net for the opening goal. It was Cascio’s fourth goal of the preseason, tied for most on the club.
The Riverhounds answered eight minutes later on a well worked goal. Midfielder Matthew Dallman sent a firm cross from the right flank into the penalty area and Kevin Kerr finished the chance, rising near the penalty spot to head home the equalizing goal.
Houston responded within two minutes. Davis delivered a pinpoint service from the left flank and Barnes produced a one-touch finish, volleying home with the inside of his foot to the side of the net from 12 yards for a 2-1 advantage.
The Dynamo tried to stretch their lead early in the second half. First, Will Bruin and Garcia combined well before finding Davis on the left side of the penalty area. Davis’ cross toward the far post was inviting, but no Houston player was in the vicinity.
Then in the 57th minute, Davis delivered a corner kick and Barnes sent a strong header over the crossbar from eight yards.
Houston added to its lead two minutes later on a quality team goal. Carrasco played a forward pass to Kofi Sarkodie on the right side of the box. Sarkodie then squared it up for Barnes, who drilled his chance into the back of the net from 15 yards for his second goal of the afternoon and a 3-1 lead. It was Barnes’ fourth goal of the preseason.
Veteran defender Jermaine Taylor entered the game in the 73rd minute for his first appearance this preseason after offseason foot surgery.
The Dynamo closed the scoring in the 79th minute. Lopez intercepted a pass near the center circle and quickly played a forward pass to the feet of Cummings, who was able to race alone to the edge of the penalty area before curling his shot around Pittsburgh goalkeeper Greg Blum for the final goal. It was Cummings’s fourth preseason goal. Cummings, Barnes and Cascio are tied for the team lead.
Former Dynamo Academy member Christian Gonzalez is on trial with Pittsburgh and entered the game at left back in the 62nd minute.
The Dynamo have won five consecutive preseason games, beginning with a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 8.
Houston will complete its preaseason preparations with the Carolina Challenge Cup, beginning Saturday at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. The Dynamo face D.C. United on Saturday before meeting the Seattle Sounders on Feb. 26 and the Charleston Battery on March 1 to conclude preseason.
The Dynamo open the 2014 MLS season on March 8 when they host the New England Revolution at BBVA Compass Stadium. Tickets are available by clicking here or by calling 713-276-GOAL.
Houston Dynamo vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
February 19, 2014 – Houston Sports Park
HOU: Tony Cascio 4 (Servando Carrasco 1) 18
PITT: Kevin Kerr (Matthew Dallman) 25
HOU: Giles Barnes 3 (Brad Davis 2) 28
HOU: Giles Barnes 4 (Kofi Sarkodie 3, Servando Carrasco 2) 59
HOU: Omar Cummings 4 (Alexander Lopez 1) 79
Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall (Tyler Deric 46); Kofi Sarkodie (Mike Chabala 60), David Horst (AJ Cochran 60), Eric Brunner (Jermaine Taylor 73), Corey Ashe (Euan Holden^ 60); Tony Cascio (Brian Ownby 60), Boniek Garcia (Alexander Lopez 60), Servando Carrasco (Sito Seoane* 60), Brad Davis (Jason Johnson 60); Will Bruin (Mark Sherrod 60), Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 60)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds – Hunter Gilstrap (Greg Blum 46); Anthony Obodai (Michael Green 46), Andrew Marshall, Sterling Flunder (Nikola Katic 62), Brian Fekete*(Christian Gonzalez* 62); Matthew Dallman (Miro Cabrillo* 62), Rob Vincent, Joseph Ngwenya (Alfonso Montgalvan 46), Kevin Kerr (Paul Dillon* 46); Jhonny Arteaga (Michael Seth 62), Jose Angulo