On Tuesday night the Houston Dynamo got a 2-1 win over their former USL Championships affiliate Rio Grande Valley Toros in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. This got me thinking about the relationship the two clubs had and now the new relationship the Dynamo have with creation of the Houston Dynamo 2.
In the aftermath of the Dynamo starting and playing a number of players from DynaDos, as they are popularly known around the club and by the fans, I got to thinking about the importance of that match in the big picture. This wasn’t just another US Open Cup match for Houston, but the first visible “fruits” in the cultivating from the academy to shape young players. This was the launching of future stars and the rebuilding of a winning culture that existed in the beginning of this club’s history but somewhere got lost in the Matt Jordan era.
I wanted to touch on 3 points that in my opinion screamed out to me while watching the match.
Houston becoming a prime destination for young prospects: Brooklyn Raines
“We want Houston Dynamo FC to be a destination for the top young talent in the country and the signing of Brooklyn Raines is a step in the right direction,” said Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad. “Brooklyn has drawn interest from around the world and we are proud that he chose to continue his development in Houston. He is a high potential player and we look forward to him advancing through our player development pathway.”
Brooklyn Raines, who signed with Houston as a Homegrown Player, was the only Houston Dynamo Dos player to get the start with the first team during this match. To be honest, he seemed to me like one of the best players out there for the Dynamo. His patience with the ball, the calm demeanor while receiving pressure from the opposition, and his ease to get out of trouble when the situation seemed to get a little complicated, were some of the things that stood out to me. Obviously, he has a huge future ahead and I am just glad that Pat Onstad and Asher Mendelsohn are actively looking and signing young talent so the pool of options can grow and Houston can become a hot bed for young talent and winners. Brooklyn was signed for 4 years with an option for a 5th, so let’s hope we get to see lots of Raines and the other talented players that will come through the ranks of DynaDos.
The Houston Dynamo Academy is starting to compete with MLS Academies: Roberto Avila, Marcelo Palomino, Juan Castilla
The Dynamo U15 and U17 academy teams recently competed in the Generation adidas Cup and collected some decent results competing against the best academies in the United States and around the world. A few guys that came up in those teams now call DynaDos their “home”.
Marcelo Palomino and Juan Castilla are two guys that have fought their way up thru the ranks and ultimately are following the footsteps of Memo Rodriguez, to compete for a first team spot day in and day out. Both guys are vital for Kenny Bundy’s team. Both players are indisputable starters that have shown great talent that have led them to receive first team minutes under past regimes. Now they are fighting from the trenches to be on those 20 men rosters for first team game days. These are the familiar faces that we expect to soon make the jump into the first team.
On the other hand, we have Roberto “Beto” Avila. Avila is a young, hardworking man from Austin, Texas that left his hometown early on to come and compete in the Dynamo Academy and earn a professional contract. Life had its turns and he ended up playing on multiple teams throughout the country and finally he was called by coach Bundy and earned his pro contract with DynaDos. In four matches this season Avila has already tallied 4 goals and is currently the joint top goal scorer in MLS NEXT Pro. This great performance earned him a short-term loan to the first team to be able to play in this US Open Cup match vs RGV. Beto did not disappoint, entering the match in the 66th minute he played on the left wing. Just when everyone saw the match going into extra time, Avila sent in a perfect cross to Sam Junqua’s head for the winning goal.
What does this say about the Academy? Basically, that the team that is being led by Paul Holocher and the team that is being coached by Kenny Bundy, it is working. This is just the beginning of establishing the pipeline from the Academy to the first team, and the motivation is there for the kids that practice day in and day out, from the youngest team to the U19s. The belief is being instilled that the Houston Dynamo is a club that could possibly help them take their careers and their dreams to new heights.
Youth is the future: Talen Maples
Even though he didn’t get any minutes, the fact that Talen was signed on a short-term loan to take part in this game shows that If you are doing your job and working hard in DynaDos (or wherever you find yourself in the club), you will get noticed. DynaDos has only allowed one goal this season, which came via a penalty kick. Maples has been wearing the captain’s armband and is the only center back to start and play all 90 minutes in all four matches. This speaks volumes of not only him as a player and individual, but the talent these young guys have.
Other than Tyler Pasher, the bench for this match consisted of all DynaDos starters. This shows that the club and Paulo Nagamura is not afraid to call these young guys up and have them be part of this first team.
Hopefully these points will get you excited for the future of this club as it has for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and how many future stars will come out of Houston, Texas.