Houston Dynamo 2 travels out of the country for the first time this week to take on Whitecaps FC 2 in Canada on Friday, July 29 at 9:00 p.m. CDT.
Houston is currently on a run of form that has seen it come out of each of its last five games with at least two points. This stretch of games has put Houston back in the playoff picture, currently sitting in third place in the Western Conference. Most recently, Dynamo 2 came out with a 1-0 victory over MNUFC2 on Sunday to remain unbeaten at AVEVA Stadium.
Dynamo 2 defender Jathan Juarez opened the scoring in the second minute of first half added time after receiving a pass from midfielder Brooklyn Raines at the edge of the box. Juarez spun away from an MNUFC2 defender and got a shot off from distance that went in the bottom corner of the net.
The goal marked the first professional goal of Juarez’s career. The Dynamo Academy alum is the 11th player to score for the team this season.
Defensively, Dynamo 2 limited MNUFC2 to nine shots and goalkeeper Michael Nelson tallied his first clean sheet with the team. Nelson finished with three saves on Sunday and defender Micael led the team with three clearances. Juarez and midfielder Paulo Lima finished tied for the most interceptions tonight at two apiece.
The result proved to be the team’s seventh clean sheet of the season, tied for second-most in the league.
Houston returns to AVEVA Stadium on Sunday, August 7 as the team looks to extend its unbeaten record at the stadium against Sporting Kansas City II at 7:00 p.m. CDT.
Here are three key points ahead of Friday's match:
- LINEUP FLEXIBILITY: One of the benefits of having a second team located in the same city as your first team is that it provides the ability to shuffle players in and out of lineups as necessary. This weekend, this proved to be particularly important, as a number of first-team regulars started for Dynamo 2 against MNUFC2. Starting in goal was Michael Nelson, who has started twelve games at the MLS level since 2021. Defender Ethan Bartlow made his second appearance of the year with Dynamo 2. He previously started the season opener for Dynamo 2 before going on to make nine appearances at the MLS level. Finally, forward Beto Avila established himself as a stand-out goal-scorer in the early portion of the MLS NEXT Pro season before signing an MLS contract. All three started in Houston’s 1-0 victory on Sunday.
- CLEAN SHEET COLLECTORS: While the starters in the backline and in goal may have changed this week, one thing that did not change was Dynamo 2’s stalwart defense, which once again held its opponent in check en route to its seventh shutout of the season. This number is tied for second best in the league, behind only Columbus Crew 2.
- DEFENDERS MOVING ON UP: One of the stories of last week was not only the changes in the backline, but the offensive output of central defender Micael Dos Santos Silva. In his first start with someone other than defender Talen Maples starting beside him, Silva put up what is arguably his best offensive performance of the season. Even though he did not record a goal or an assist, Silva finished with a team-high 0.76 expected goals, more than doubling the second highest tally on the team. Additionally, Silva recorded eight final-third entries, which was tied for the best number on Dynamo 2.