Head coach Owen Coyle deployed a young lineup against the Academy, including three 2015 MLS SuperDraft selections and 10 players age 24 or younger in the starting lineup, with Nathan Sturgis the lone veteran.
The Academy U-18s entered the scrimmage 11-2-1 in the U.S. Development Academy and in first place in the Frontier Division of the Central Conference. The Academy created chances early on, starting with Kevin Rodriguez, who had a chance at the near post from a Juan Martinez pass but couldn’t steer his shot on target.
The Dynamo began to command the game in the 22nd minute as Jason Johnson got behind the Academy defense and forced a good save at the top of the penalty area from goalkeeper Johan Welch.
Three minutes later, trialist George Malki delivered a precise cross from the right and Hoffman’s header from six yards struck the near post.
The goal frame came into play again moments later as Alexander Lopez struck from 35 yards and his effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar and stayed in play.
In the 33th minute, Lopez and Rodriguez combined to find Hoffman inside the box, but Welch, who started five games for the Trinidad & Tobago at the CONCACAF U-20 Championships in January, made another save.
The Dynamo broke through two minutes before halftime as Rodriguez played a pass through the legs of a defender and Hoffman emphatically finished inside the near post for his first preseason goal and a 1-0 lead.
Coyle made no changes to the lineup at halftime and Houston scored from a set piece two minutes after the break. Sturgis delivered a free kick from the right flank and AJ Cochran rose above his mark for a booming header to double the lead. It was Cochran’s first goal of the preseason.
The Dynamo used another set piece to increase the advantage three minutes later. Lopez served a corner kick and Johnson rose inside the six-yard box and his strong header beat substitute goalkeeper Alex Rios to make it 3-0.
Johnson is the eighth different Dynamo player to score this preseason; the club has scored nine total goals. It was also Houston’s fifth goal from a set piece.
The Dynamo made it three goals in seven minutes as Rodriguez slid a through ball to Hoffman and the UCLA product finished from the top of the box for his second goal of the day. It was Rodriguez’ second assist in the game, with each on Hoffman’s goals.
Hoffman had two more chances to complete the hat trick, first as he took a pass from Rodriguez and hit the outside of the post from a tight angle before later heading wide of the target off a short cross from Johnson.
The Dynamo remain in Houston next week and will face the Austin Aztex on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Houston Sports Park. The scrimmage is open to the public. The Aztex are set to join USL PRO in 2015 under head coach and former Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish.
Houston Dynamo vs. Houston Dynamo Academy Under-18s
February 14, 2015 – Houston Methodist Champions Field at Houston Sports Park – Houston, Texas
HOU: Chandler Hoffman 1 (Memo Rodriguez 1) 43
HOU: AJ Cochran 1 (Nathan Sturgis 1) 47
HOU: Jason Johnson 1 (Alexander Lopez 1) 50
HOU: Chandler Hoffman 2 (Memo Rodriguez 2) 53
Houston Dynamo – Michael Lisch; *George Malki, *Oumar Ballo, AJ Cochran, *Tayor Hunter; Memo Rodriguez, Zach Steinberger (*Bryan Moya 60), Nathan Sturgis (Zach Steinberger 67), Alexander Lopez; Chandler Hoffman, Jason Johnson
Dynamo Academy U-18s – Johan Welch (Andy Rios 46); Juan Martinez (Jose Duarte), Sterling Noreiga, Noe Ochoa, David Brown; Josue Palomino, Christian Lucatero (Wilmer Baron), David Koloko (Juan David Agredo); Giovanni Pacheco (Lucio Martinez), Juan “Charly” Flores (Brian Martinez), Kevin Rodriguez (Mason Schuster)
Academy: Christian Lucatero (caution) 43
Academy: Lucio Martinez (caution) 43