The Houston Dynamo Academy U-17 and U-19 squads wrapped up a successful tournament at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The 11th edition of the Winter Showcase featured 76 clubs from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The event gives the U-16/17 and U-18/19 teams from each club three competitive games apiece against opposition they wouldn't normally face during divisional play in the regular season. The crossover games are selected based on level of resistance, style of play, location and other factors to ensure the most meaningful games.
U.S. Soccer technical staff and over 400 college scouts were on hand for talent identification throughout the weekend of games.
The Dynamo U-19s picked up two wins and one loss in their three games. The Orange began last Thursday with a 3-1 win over Crew SC Wolves – the Michigan arm of the MLS team’s academy. Roberto Hernandez opened the scoring for the Dynamo in the 38th minute, but Crew SC Wolves equalized in the 72nd minute. Heriberto Soto regained the lead for Houston in the 83rd minute and Marcelo Palomino tacked on the insurance goal in the 90th minute to seal the win.
The next day, the U-19s fell 2-1 to the Portland Timbers. Hernandez found the scoresheet again in just the 6th minute, but Portland picked up goals in the 17th and 47th minutes for the comeback.
The Dynamo finished with a wild 6-4 win over the New England Revolution on Sunday. Mujeed Murana grabbed the opening goal in the 9th minute, and New England equalized just four minutes later. But a three-goal flurry by Soto, Jesus Ortiz, and Marcelo Palomino in the 15 minutes before halftime gave the Dynamo a 4-1 lead at the break. Soto and Palomino would score again in the second half, and while the Revs would get two goals and an own goal, their comeback bid would fall short.
The Dynamo U-16s went unbeaten through their schedule. They started last Friday with a 3-0 win over New England. Jalen Anderson had two goals in the first half – the opener coming just five minutes in – and Daniel Ramirez added the third goal in the 81st minute for the win.
Anderson put the Dynamo ahead in the second minute of their match against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, but the Fire got on the board themselves late in the second half for a 1-1 draw. In the finale against IMG Academy on Monday morning, Anderson again scored within five minutes and Daniel Coronado added a second in the 12th minute. IMG Academy would get two goals in the 35th and 38th minute, however, for the 2-2 draw.
Palomino Returns From National Team Camp
Midfielder Marcelo Palomino joined the Dynamo Academy in Florida for the Winter Showcase following a training camp with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California from November 19-26. It was the first appearance on a U-18 roster for Palomino, who had spent Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 in the U.S. Soccer U-17 Residency Program.
Palomino, 16, suffered a foot injury early in the summer but has since recovered and has trained with the Dynamo first team since September.
“His call up to the national team was great for him and a reward for his hard work over the last few months,” said Dynamo Academy director James Clarkson. “It’s another great opportunity for him to test himself at a higher level. I’m sure the experience he’s gained from the first team will really help and accelerate his development. It’s fantastic that [head coach] Wilmer (Cabrera) has given him the opportunity and it’s a huge encouragement for every player in the Academy.”
In eight games with the Dynamo Academy U-19s this season, Palomino has scored four times.