HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo fell to Club America in penalty kicks 1-1 (6-5) Wednesday in the first of the Leagues Cup matches at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Club America will move on to play Tigres UANL in the semifinals of the inaugural tournament between Major League Soccer and Liga MX teams. That match will be played in Houston Aug. 20. The LA Galaxy are the only MLS team left in the competition and will host Cruz Azul in the other semifinal on the same day at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The final is Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.
Yellow was the predominant color in the announced crowd of 20,315 Wednesday, with some splashes of Dynamo orange spread throughout the stadium. Despite the home team’s loss, Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera said “it was a good game from our side.”
“We were very disciplined, organized, and the guys on the field battled and when we had the ball,” Cabrera said. “We tried to go forward to create chances, and we did.”
Both teams played cautiously, with some dangerous attempts here and there. For the Dynamo, the closest call to goal was in the 20th minute when midfielder Alberth Elis took a right-footed shot but was blocked by goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín.
“We had the best chances of the game, and when you have the best chances in front of the goalkeeper, you have to finish,” Cabrera said.
The first 45 minutes ended with no goals. The visiting team had a slight advantage in possession with 55%.
In the 55th minute, Dynamo forward Romell Quioto led Marchesín almost to the corner, leaving the goal wide open. Michael Salazar received the ball, but did not put it on frame.
“We played a great game against a big team – a team from Mexico that has a pedigree,” Dynamo defender Alejandro Fuenmayor said. “I think we just missed that final touch on the last play. We had a lot of opportunities that were clear, and against the big teams you have to put them away. Sadly, we did not.”
America on the other hand, did not create as many plays or get close to the box, but finished the chances they did have. In the 73rd minute, Club America’s Nicolas Benedetti slid into a shot and opened the scoreboard in favor of the visiting team.
Salazar had an opportunity to equalize, but he took a right-footed shot from the left side of the six-yard box and missed. The crowd went wild.
Finally, in the 85th minute, veteran DaMarcus Beasley blasted the ball into America’s net without hesitation to even the score and force a penalty shootout.
“It’s pretty incredible. It’s unbelievable. I’m speechless, to be honest. We’re very fortunate that his legs are still moving. He was huge for us tonight,” Houston keeper Joe Willis said about his teammate.
Houston made five penalties, missed one and had one blocked. Club America made six and missed one.
The Dynamo will now return to MLS play, hosting the Seattle Sounders FC this Saturday at BBVA Stadium.
“I think we showed today we can stay tight and compact as a team and limit the opposition’s ability to score goals,” Dynamo defender Kevin Garcia said. “We’re capable of doing it. We did it in Toronto. We did it again today. So, we’re going to carry it into the next game.”
CA: Nicolás Castillo – Make
HOU: Romell Quioto – Save
CA: Emanuel Aguilera – Make
HOU: Darwin Cerén – Make
CA: Mateus Uribe – Make
HOU: Alberth Elis – Make
CA: Andrés Ibargüen – Make
HOU: Juan David Cabezas – Make
CA: Roger Martinez – Miss
HOU: Eric Bird – Make
CA: Nicolás Benedetti -Make
HOU: Kevin Garcia – Make
CA: Giovani dos Santos – Make
HOU: Sam Junqua – Miss