The Houston Dynamo defeated Phoenix Rising FC 1-0 on Wednesday night at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona as part of the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
The Dynamo opened the scoring late in the first half. In the 39th minute, midfielder Todd Wharton came in for defender George Malki. It only took couple of minutes for Wharton to make an impact on the field as he provided an assist for midfielder Arturo Alvarez. Wharton received a passed from midfielder Tomás Martínez on the right side and sent a low cross to the far post, where Alvarez connected for his third goal of the preseason.
The Dynamo dominated possession from the start and nearly grabbed the first goal in the ninth minute. Midfielder Darwin Cerén picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and fired a shot that went over goalkeeper Zac Lubin’s goal.
Phoenix had two dangerous opportunities in the first half. First, in the 29th minute, midfielder Kevon Lambert played a quick ball to forward Billy Forbes down in the right side. Forbes sent a low cross to the middle of the box, but defender Leonardo slid in to clear the danger. In the 32nd minute, midfielder Memo Rodriguez committed a foul 20 yards from goal. Midfielder Gladson Awako stepped to the free kick and fired a shot on target that had to be saved by goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
In the 38th minute, midfielder Charlie Ward was ejected after the referee used video review. Ward committed a foul near midfield and was issued a yellow card, but upon further review the color was changed to red. Due to the rules of the tournament, Ward was sent off but replaced by midfielder Eric Bird and the Dynamo continued play with a full squad.
Just before half in the 44th minute, the Dynamo were whistled for a handball in the box and Phoenix was awarded a penalty kick. Midfielder Jason Johnson stepped to the spot and Seitz dove to his right to stop the penalty. The rebound fell again to Johnson to have a second try, but Seitz recovered to the second attempt as well. Lambert tried to score on the third attempt, but Wharton cleared the shot off the line.
Both teams continued to push forward in the second half, but the goalkeepers were up to the task. Second half substitute Joe Willis was well-positioned to cleanly handle two Phoenix attempts in the final 10 minutes. Dynamo forward Wilmer A. Cabrera was played through on goal in stoppage time, but the Phoenix goalkeeper raced off his line and knocked away the ball as he slid at the edge of the penalty area.
The Dynamo will play in their final match of the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup on Saturday, February 24 at a time and against an opponent to be determined. The match will be streamed live on HoustonDynamo.com, Facebook Live, and YouTube.
Houston Dynamo vs. Phoenix Rising FC
2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup
February 21, 2018 – Tucson, Arizona
HOU: Arturo Alvarez 3 (Todd Wharton 1) 41
Houston Dynamo: Chris Seitz (Joe Willis 46); George Malki (Todd Wharton 38), Alejandro Fuenmayor, Leonardo (Connor Donovan 61), Justin Bilyeu; Charlie Ward (Eric Bid 38), Tomás Martínez (Pablo Aguilar 71), Darwin Cerén; Arturo Alvarez (Wilmer Cabrera 71), Mac Steeves (Romell Quioto 46), Memo Rodriguez (Marcelo Palomino 71)
Phoenix Rising FC: Zac Lubin (Carl Woszczynski 46); Devonte Dubose, Mike da Fonte (Kody Wakasa 46), Joseph Farell (Douegui Mala), Victor Vasquez; Kevon Lambert (Alessandro Riggi 46), Collin Fernandez (Luca Ricci 46); Gladson Awako (Devin Vega 46), Jason Johnson (Solomon Asante 46), Billy Forbes (Evan Waldrep 46); Kevaughn Frater (Chris Cortez 46)
PHX: Joseph Farrell (caution; foul) 24
HOU: Charlie Ward (ejection; foul) 38
HOU: Alejandro Fuenmayor (caution; foul) 78