The Houston Dynamo got their first taste of professional competition this preseason tonight as they opened play in the Desert Diamond Cup with a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution.
The Dynamo struck first thanks to a solo effort from forward Erick Torres in the 54th minute. Torres picked the pocket of New England defender Trevor Haberkorn 35 yards from the goal to put himself in alone on Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton before placing a right-footed shot past the ‘keeper at the right post. The goal was Torres’ fifth in four outings this preseason.
Forward Alberth Elis sealed the victory for the Orange with a tap-in goal in the 89th minute off a feed from midfielder Alex. Alex beat an offside trap to get free down the left flank and dribbled into the box before laying off for Elis, who was alone in front of goal. The goal was Elis’ second in four appearances this preseason, and the assist was Alex’s second of the preseason.
New England’s only dangerous chance came in the 68th minute when forward Tristan Bowen nearly equalized the game for the Revs. Bowen ran in behind the Dynamo defense on a long ball, but although his left-footed shot beat goalkeeper Joe Willis, it clipped the right post and was cleared away by defender Dylan Remick.
The first half finished scoreless, with the Dynamo creating the best chances early in the half before New England picked up some momentum during the last 20 minutes of the period. Houston had three solid looks at the goal in the opening stanza, two of which came through forward Mauro Manotas, but the Dynamo were unable to put any of the shots on target in the first 45 minutes.
Houston had the first chance in the 11th minute when rookie midfielder Joseph Holland played a cross in for forward Vicente Sánchez, but Revolution defender Andrew Farrell recovered to clear the ball away. In the 19th minute, Manotas held off two defenders to control a cross and, after playing a one-two combination with midfielder Andrew Wenger, fired a left-footed shot that dragged wide of the far post. Manotas had another good look in the 29th minute when he rose above a crowd to win a header off of a cross from defender George Malki following a corner kick.
After substituting all 11 positions at halftime, the Dynamo Second XI on the night came out strong to start the second half. In the 49th minute, defender A.J. DeLaGarza worked a one-two combination down the right side before playing inside to Torres. Torres laid off to DeLaGarza, who found forward Romell Quioto to the left of the goal. The Honduran’s left-footed shot forced a save from Knighton.
Four minutes later, Quioto got free down the left flank and played a ball in to Torres six yards from the goal, but Torres’ first-touch shot was saved by a diving Knighton. Torres made good less than two minutes after that, though. Elis got behind the Revolution back line in the 66th minute, but his low right-footed shot was easily saved by Knighton. Quioto also had a go at goal from the left side in the 77th, but his blast whistled over the crossbar.
The Dynamo are now 1-0-0 in the Desert Diamond Cup. They return to training on Thursday and Friday before facing off against New York City FC on Saturday night in Tucson (7 p.m. CT, HoustonDynamo.com/live). NYCFC fell 2-0 to New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening in their opening game of the tournament.
Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution
Desert Diamond Cup
February 15, 2017 – Tucson, Arizona
(All stats are unofficial)
HOU: Erick Torres 5 (unassisted) 54
HOU: Alberth Elis 2 (Alex 2) 89
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric (Joe Willis 46); George Malki (A.J. DeLaGarza 46), Jalil Anibaba (Adolfo Machado 46), Agus (Leonardo 46), Kevin Garcia (Dylan Remick 46); Joseph Holland (Alex 46), Eric Alexander (Juan David Cabezas 46), Boniek García © (Ricardo Clark 46); Andrew Wenger (Romell Quioto 46), Mauro Manotas (Erick Torres 46), Vicente Sánchez (Alberth Elis 46)
Unused Substitutes: Calle Brown, Taylor Hunter, Memo Rodriguez
Did Not Dress: Jake McGuire, DaMarcus Beasley, Emilio Garcia, T.J. Casner, José Escalante
TOTAL SHOTS: 8; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 1
New England Revolution: Cody Cropper (Brad Knighton 46); Andrew Farrell (Donnie Smith 46), Chris Tierney (Trevor Haberkorn 46), London Woodberry (Tyler Turner 46), Joshua Smith; Scott Caldwell (Zachary Herivaux 46, Joe Brito 63), Xavier Kouassi (Daigo Kobayashi 18), Diego Fagundez (Emmanuel Appiah 46), Lee Nguyen (Napo Matoso 46), Kelyn Rowe (Brian Wright 46); Teal Bunbury (Tristan Bowen 46)
Unused Substitutes: Matt Turner, Jose Rodriguez
TOTAL SHOTS: 2; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDES: 2; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 5
NE: Joshua Smith (Tactical foul) 22
HOU: Juan David Cabezas (Reckless challenge) 60
Referee: Baboucarr Jallow
Assistant Referees: Craig Lowry, Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi