8:00pm Saturday, July 26th, the Houston Dynamo will take on Aston Villa in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. The Charities Cup began in 2009, pitting our local Dynamo against foreign teams such as Monterrey, Aguila, the Bolton Wanderers, Valencia and Stoke City FC. This year it will be Aston Villa of the Premier League.
The Villans, as they are known, are making a brief tour of the Lone Star State. By the time they reach Houston, they will have also played FC Dallas in Frisco’s own Charity Cup.
Aston Villa is home to such stars as USMNT keeper Brad Guzan and acclaimed forward Christian Benteke. The team was founded in 1874, 140 years ago! Compared with that long lifespan, the Houston Dyamo, founded in 2005, are quite young!
The top scorer for Aston Vila for the past two seasons, Christian Benteke, is nursing an injury to his achilles tendon and will not play. Nevertheless, fellow forwards Andi Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor and Leandro Bacuna are forces to be reckoned with. When the Premier League 2013-2014 season ended in June, Weimann tied for 13th place amongst leading scorers. Agbonlahor and Bacuna followed closely behind in 14th place.
Aston Villa will take a 26 man team to Houston: Brad Guzan, Jed Steer, Shay Given, Matt Lowton, Alan Hutton, Jores Okore, Ciaran Clark, Philippe Senderos, Nathan Baker, Chris Herd, Joe Bennett, Kieran Richardson, Enda Stevens, Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood, Karim El Ahmadi, Leandro Bacuna, Gary Gardner, Charles N’Zogbia, Joe Cole, Jack Grealish, Andi Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke, Darren Bent, Libor Kozak.
The Dynamo have an impressive record of 3-2 in Charity Cup matches. Last year, they shut down Geoff Cameron’s Stoke City FC 2-1. Houston relied on fellow Brits Giles Barnes and Andrew Driver to net both orange goals. Attendance for that game was 14, 123. Will the British pull through for us a second time against Aston Villa? If so, Driver or Barnes will be tied for first place amongst Dynamo Charity cup scorers.
A ticket package for the Charity Cup including two tickets and two Houston Dynamo/Aston Villa scarves sells at $50 each and can be purchased through the Houston Dynamo. Proceeds from the Cup go towards "Building a Better Houston" initiative, improving Houston’s East end.
Houston’s next match after the Charity Cup will be August 3rd, at 7:00pm at BBVA Compass Stadium against DC United.