The Houston Dynamo Academy exhibited a stellar performance across the organization, with four of the five teams securing victories by a combined margin of 15 goals. The four wins came against RISE Soccer Club on Sunday, September 29, while the sole defeat came at the hands of Chicago Fire Academy.
In the tightly contested U17 match, both goals for the Dynamo came in the first half. Houston’s Ricardo Vivo broke open the scoring with a goal off a counter-attack that started with a defensive set piece. Later on in the half, RISE received a red card, giving the Dynamo an advantage for the remainder of the match. The team capitalized almost immediately on this opportunity, with Andre Gitau cutting inside from the left wing by himself to score.
Whereas the U17s won by just a single goal, the U15 team handled RISE more easily. After a slow start in which the Dynamo only found the back of the net once in the first half, the team came out of the locker room on a mission. The team recorded four goals in the second half and did not let in a goal during the match to finish with a 5-0 victory. The goals came courtesy of Jaidyn Contreras, David Nguema, Isaac Mwakutuya, Daniel Menyoli and Lalo Estrada.
The U14 team also put away five goals against RISE Soccer Club, further contributing to a dominant weekend by the Dynamo academy. After settling into the game in the first 10 minutes, the Dynamo were able to play through the opponent's high pressure and get behind the backline to score two goals in quick succession. The half ended with Houston leading 2-0. In the beginning of the second half, Jorge Martinez was given a straight red card for an elevated foot as he dueled for a 50-50 ball. Despite going down to 10 men, the team showed great character and grit to score three additional goals. The team was led by forward D’Engalo Mendoza, who provided energy in the backline and chipped in two goals during the match.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the weekend came from the U13s, who downed RISE by a final score of 8-2. The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 9th minute and never looked back from there. The team went up 3-0 by the end of the first half, but did not take their foot off the gas in the second, continuing the goal-scoring barrage, including two goals by striker Kian Walsh.
The only team to lose this weekend was the U23 team, who played Chicago United FC Academy. A full recap of this match can be found here.
For Academy Director Paul Holocher, winning the matches is nice, but it is not as important as proper player development at the Academy level.
“In the Formation ages, U13, U14,U15, and throughout the Academy we look to develop our teams within a clear game model,” Holocher said. “We also work with each player to improve in several areas or themes within the game model. For instance, we teach the young player take up intelligent positions on the field. We help them become more aware of their scanning habits, to improve the quality of our decision-making. We require immediate and positive individual and collectively reaction in the transitional moments. All these areas are as important as the score-lines.”