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Houston Dynamo 2 returns home from a two-game road trip this weekend when they take on Colorado Rapids 2 on Sunday, May 8 at 8:15 p.m. from AVEVA Stadium

Dynamo 2 experienced its first defeat of the season last weekend when they traveled to Tukwila, Washington to take on the Tacoma Defiance. After winning its first five games of the season, Houston fell 4-1, becoming the last team in the league to lose its first game.

Despite the loss, Dynamo 2 still sits in first place in the MLS NEXT Pro league table with 15 points, one point ahead of in-state rivals North Texas SC. The next closest team has 12 points on the season.

Dynamo 2’s lone goal in this match came in the 80th minute, courtesy of forward Papa N’Doye. With the team down 3-0, midfielder Juan Castilla found forward Beto Avila with a pass inside of the 18-yard-box, who quickly turned and fired off a cross across the face of goal. Tacoma’s keeper was able to get his hands on the ball, but his deflection fell directly to N’Doye, who contorted his body to get his left foot on the ball in mid-air to get Houston on the board.

Last week’s matchup against Tacoma saw the debut of Brazilian defender Micael Dos Santos Silva. Houston’s newest signee came on as a halftime substitute for defender Sterling Penniston-John and finished with two clearances in 45 minutes. The 21-year-old center back joins Houston from Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro. During his time there, he made two appearances in Série A and helped lead the club to the 2020 Campeonato Brasileiro U-20 title.

This game saw the return of two Dynamo 2 players from international duty. Both Castilla and goalkeeper Xavier Valdez had spent the past week with the U-20 U.S. Youth National Team in Carson, California. Both players are signed to Homegrown Contracts, and have been regulars in the starting lineup for Dynamo 2 during the team’s inaugural season.

This week also offered another notable milestone for Dynamo 2, as Beto Avila became the first player signed to a contract with the MLS NEXT Pro side to go on to sign a contract with the first team. Thus far this season, Avila has scored five goals with Dynamo 2 in MLS Next Pro, including the first and only hat trick in league history. This is will not be the first time Avila has appeared for the first team. Avila joined the first team on a short-term loan in April. The forward would go on to make his Dynamo debut in Houston’s 2-1 victory over Rio Grande Valley on April 19, providing the game-winning assist.

After this match, Dynamo 2 will next be in action when they travel to Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota to take on MNUFC2 on Saturday, May 14 at 5:00 p.m. For additional information, visit HoustonDynamoFC.com/Dynamo2

Here are three key points ahead of Sunday’s match:   

  1. LEADING IN GOAL DIFFERENTIAL: Top of the table teams do not always achieve that distinction in dominant fashion. Dynamo 2 is not one of those teams. In addition to leading the league in points, Dynamo 2 also took over the league lead in goal differential. Dynamo 2 has scored 13 goals this season and has only given up six goals on defense, good for a goal differential of seven. This mark is tied for the best in the league with North Texas SC, whom Houston defeated two weeks ago by a score of 3-2.  
  2. POTENTIAL PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Among teams currently sitting in playoff position, meaning the top four teams in each conference, Dynamo 2 are the only one who have not had to face a penalty shootout. This occurs if a game is still tied at the end of the regulation period. In this scenario, the team that wins the penalty shootout is awarded two points while the losing team is awarded just one. If this match does come down to this situation, head coach Kenny Bundy says that the team is more than prepared to face the pressure. One player who will face pressure in particular is goalkeeper Xavier Valdez, who will likely be the man between the poles in this situation. 
  3. BACKLINE STALWART: Among all players in MLS NEXT Pro, defender Talen Maples is the league leader in minutes played. He is the only player on Dynamo 2, and one of two players in the entire league, that has played 540 minutes. This equates to the full 90 minutes in each of Houston’s six games this season. During this time, the San Antonio native has been a part of three clean sheets, made four interceptions and a 100 percent duel percentage.