The Houston Dynamo started their Lamar Hunt Us Open Cup title defense with a brilliant first half performance and then a very nervous second half effort as the Dynamo was able to down the visiting Austin Bold FC 3-2. Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera had a number of players away with their respective national teams including starters Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto, Maynor Figueroa (Honduras), Kiki Struna (Slovenia), and A.J. DeLaGarza (Guam). Darwin Cerén was also unavailable (El Salvador) so Cabrera had to lean on his bench to get results.
In the first half, the Dynamo flew out of the gate with a 14th minute goal by Tomás Martínez. Martínez was able to get the rebound following a Marlon Hairston shot and he hit the ball hard and kept it low from distance to put the Dynamo up.
The Dynamo had allowed some of the momentum to go to Austin Bold, but they were unable to break down the defense due to quality performances from Kevin Garcia, Matías Vera, and Juan David Cabezas. Houston would respond well and re-take possession and they went right at Austin before the halftime whistle. In the 31st minute DaMarcus Beasley played Martínez a fantastic pass towards the end line. Martínez looked up and slotted a ball across goal for Ronaldo Peña to smash home. 2-0 Houston.
Houston wasn’t done scoring goals in the first half either as Vera wanted in on the action as well. Vera had the ball going into Austin’s final third and played Peña a ball into the box. The Venezuelan gave Vera an incredible ball back and Vera beat his man and found the back of the net to make it 3-0 at halftime.
The second half was a different story in a sort of unusual way. Although the Dynamo would continue to dominate play for a good portion of the half, Austin would be the one to get two goals to make it interesting. First, they were able to get a set piece opportunity in a dangerous spot. Xavier Báez’s 48th minute strike took a deflection and Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric had no chance to get to it.
The next goal was less lucky as second half substitute Demar Phillips received a poorly cleared ball and tried his luck one time from distance. Deric was able to make a great reaction diving save, but the ball fell to Isaac Promise who slotted home the rebound in the 58th minute.
The Dynamo would try to come back with newcomer Michael Salazar leading the way with his effort, but the insurance goal just never came. Austin found some chances late with the Dynamo doing their typical “sit back on the lead” thing, but they weren’t able to get the equalizer.
The Dynamo have a three game road trip coming up with their next game being in Portland June 22nd. The Round of 16 draw for the US Open Cup will be June 13th with the games being held between June 18th and the 23rd.
14’ HOU: Tomás Martínez
31’ HOU: Ronaldo Peña (assisted by Tomás Martínez)
40’ HOU: Matías Vera (assisted by Ronaldo Peña)
48’ AUS: Xavier Báez
58’ AUS: Isaac Promise
42’ AUS: Sonny Guadarrama (yellow card)
49’ AUS: Valerii Saramutin (yellow card)
51’ AUS: Xavier Báez (yellow card)
65’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (yellow card)
70’ HOU: Chris Duvall (yellow card)
86’ AUS: Jermaine Taylor (yellow card)
88’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Kevin Garcia, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Chris Duvall; Juan David Cabezas, Matías Vera (45’ Oscar Boniek García), Tomás Martínez; Tommy McNamara, Ronaldo Peña (79’ Michael Salazar), Marlon Hairston (80’ Eric Bird)
Austin Bold FC (4-4-2): Diego Restrepo; Josué Soto (45’ Demar Phillips), Jermaine Taylor, Amobi Okugo, Sean McFarlane; Kris Tyrpak (45’ Isaac Promise), Valerii Saramutin, Xavier Báez, Sonny Guadarrama (76’ Abdi Faris); André Lima, Kleber