From Valencia to Houston in the Name of Charity
The Houston Dynamo took on La Liga’s Valencia CF in their annual Charities Cup last week. The Charities Cup benefits the Dynamo Charities organization, which works to benefit the local community. In past Charities Cups the Dynamo have fielded a mostly reserve team; this year was a little bit different. The starting XI was a mix of reserve staples like goalkeeper Tyler Deric and first team veterans like Brad Davis.
When Valencia scored in the 2nd minute, it looked as though the men in orange were going to face a big loss. Ultimately, though, the Dynamo pulled themselves together. Kinnear fielded the starting forward combination of Brian Ching and Will Bruin, but neither managed to score. The lone Dynamo goal came from a long range rocket fired off by Calen Carr. Kinnear has shifted Carr to the midfield in recent games, and he seems to play a bit more naturally there. With Dominic Kinnear’s knack for shifting versatile players around successfully (Geoff Cameron was a midfielder before Kinnear stuck him in the back line,) the Carr shift looks quite promising.
Valencia quickly answered the equalizer with what would be the final goal of the game. In the second half the Dynamo switched out the star forwards for a less conventional pairing. Cam Weaver, who started most of last season, got a look while Mac Kandji joined him up front. Weaver and Kandji managed to spark couple of chances, but in the end nothing caught fire. It wasn’t until the latter part of the second half, when the Dynamo subbed in rookies Colin Rolfe, Brian Ownby, and Josue Soto, that play really opened up.
Ownby, acquired in this year’s SuperDraft, created some excellent chances and had a couple of really good runs. Not surprisingly, he seemed to be low on confidence and that clearly affected his finishing. Despite the finishing issues, Ownby looked excellent in the minutes that he did play, and with some more development with the Dynamo, he will undoubtedly turn into a grade a player. However, the most impressive of the rookies on the pitch was Warren Creavalle. Creavalle made it into the starting XI and immediately showed fans why. Creavalle is a talented defender and had superb communication with all of the players on the pitch. The rookie saved the Dynamo from demise multiple times and looked incredibly strong and confident.
The atmosphere on the pitch was everything one could hope to have at a charity game. The players were respectful and good natured, and even seemed friendly at times. There were only a couple of minor fouls, and Valencia carried themselves with poise and class (not to mention beauty – Spaniards have boatloads of beauty.) Valencia CF and the Dynamo played a wonderful game of soccer and left fans looking forward to next year’s Charities Cup.