The Houston Dynamo fell to the Austin Aztex, 1-0, in a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday at Houston Methodist Champions Field at Houston Sports Park. After the Dynamo controlled the run of play for most of the afternoon, an own goal in the 86th minute delivered Austin an upset win in the friendly between Texas clubs.
On the winning goal, the Aztex won the ball on the right sideline after pressuring the Dynamo as they tried to build from the back. Chuy Cortes drove a low cross through the six-yard box and Raúl Rodríguez slid and stretched to clear but deflected the delivery into his own net for the decisive goal. The own goal was an unfortunate end to an otherwise steady performance from the Spanish center back.
Head coach Owen Coyle used a lineup featuring ten returning players from the 2014 season alongside Rodríguez in the club’s final exhibition in Houston ahead of Friday’s ten-day trip to Charleston, South Carolina and three final preseason games in the Carolina Challenge Cup, starting Saturday.
The Aztex’s best chance of the first half arrived on a set piece in the 35th minute. Mikey Ambrose delivered a pinpoint cross and Kyle Hoffer’s driven header from nine yards flew wide of the near post.
The Dynamo came close two minutes later from a corner kick as Davis delivered and Rodríguez headed just over the crossbar.
Four minutes before halftime, Davis fashioned his own chance, dribbling past several Austin defenders and teeing up a chance on his left foot, but he drove his shot directly to Perales.
The Aztex, set to join USL PRO in 2015 under head coach and former Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish, made ten changes at halftime. The Dynamo maintained their starting lineup, except for Nathan Sturgis, who replaced Ricardo Clark.
Houston began to dominate possession and create chances early in the second half, beginning with a wonderfully chipped ball from Sturgis that was settled by Garcia near the penalty spot. The Honduran laid it off to Bruin, but his effort 15 yards missed the target after pressure from Austin goalkeeper Cody Laurendi.
A minute later, Kofi Sarkodie overlapped Garcia on the right side and whipped an inviting cross through a sea of players, but no Houston attacker could connect with the delivery.
In the 65th minute, Luis Garrido fed Lopez at the top of the box and he laid it in the path of Bruin, but his tight-angled shot from 12 yards stayed outside the near post as the Dynamo came close once again.
Houston’s frustrations continued in the 83rd minute as a pair of substitutes nearly combined for the opening goal. Chandler Hoffman found space on the right side of the box and slid a pass through the area to Jason Johnson, but the Jamaican’s low shot from six yards struck the near post and stayed out.
Austin capitalized on the even score line three minutes later as the own goal stood up as the winner.
The Dynamo travel to Charleston, South Carolina on Friday to prepare for three final preseason games in the Carolina Challenge Cup. The Dynamo face host and USL PRO club Charleston Battery on Saturday before meeting a pair of MLS expansion clubs, New York City FC (Feb. 25) and Orlando City (Feb. 28), to complete the tournament. All three games will kick off at 4 p.m. CT and will be streamed live at www.HoustonDynamo.com.
Houston Dynamo vs. Austin Aztex
February 18, 2015 – Houston Methodist Champions Field at Houston Sports Park – Houston, Texas
AUS: Own Goal (Raúl Rodríguez) 86
Houston Dynamo – Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, Raúl Rodríguez, Jermaine Taylor, DaMarcus Beasley (Corey Ashe 68); Boniek Garcia (Leonel Miranda 68), Ricardo Clark (Nathan Sturgis 46), Luis Garrido, Brad Davis (*Rob Lovejoy 78); Alexander Lopez (Jason Johnson 65); Will Bruin (Chandler Hoffman 65)
Austin Aztex – Devin Perales (Cody Laurendi 46); Bubacarr Jobe (Mikey Ambrose 68), Kyle Hoffer (Leone Cruz 46), Ryan Roushandel, Mikey Ambrose (Max Gunderson); Lance Rozeboom (Greg Mulamba 46, Tony Rocha 68), Tony Rocha (Guaraci 46), Brendan King (Fernando Timbo 46); Mozzi Gyorio (Andres Cuero 46), Bryce Taylor (Chuy Cortes 46), Crew Yates (Brian Fekete 46)
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee’s assistants: Daniel Belleau, Gianni Facchini
Fourth official: Kyle Phillips