Houston Dynamo 2 emerged victorious in their inaugural match, defeating Whitecaps FC 2 by a 1-0 scoreline tonight at AVEVA Stadium.

Midfielder Marcelo Palomino scored the first goal in Houston Dynamo 2 history in the 20th minute with a spectacular curling free kick, while goalkeeper Xavier Valdez recorded a clean sheet in the team’s debut and his debut in professional competition.

Forward Papa N’Doye set up Palomino’s heroics when he drew a foul after receiving a long pass from Roberto Avila and ran at the Whitecaps defense. The free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal, and Palomino stepped up and perfectly placed the ball in the top left corner of the goal.

Palomino and N’Doye combined for another dangerous chance in the 25th minute, when the midfielder found N’Doye racing past the Vancouver backline. N’Doye controlled the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat but the show went wide to end the attacking play.

In the 34th minute, defender Ian Hoffman used a fantastic stepover to run past a Whitecaps defender and created enough space to get a shot off on goal. His shot was brought under control by the Whitecaps keeper to keep the score 1-0. 

Hoffman once again got a shot on goal, this time in the 67th minute, as the ball ricocheted to his feet outside of the 18-yard-box. From there, he fired a low shot with pace that the keeper was able to corral.

Centerback Ethan Bartlow nearly doubled Houston’s lead in the 79th minute when he picked up the ball inside his own half and carried it uncontested 40 yards to the edge of the Vancouver penalty area. Bartlow cracked a right-footed shot from 20 yards that forced a save from Vancouver goalkeeper Isaac Boehmer.

N’Doye and another dangerous opportunity in the 86th minute when he snapped a header from 12 yards that deflected off a Vancouver defender and hit the corner of the goal, bouncing away from danger.

Dynamo 2 are next in action when they host Earthquakes II on Sunday, April 3 at 6:00 p.m. CT.