HOUSTON – In a match highlighted by three stylish goals, Valencia rode a brace from Aritz Aduriz to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 edition of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup on Thursday night.
From the first kick both teams looked to go forward, opening up the game and putting together some thrilling plays early. By the 17th minute mark the crowd had been treated to three well taken goals – the two from Aduriz and a golazo from Calen Carr.
Aduriz was the star early, leading Valencia charge with a brace inside 20 minutes that reflected the typical Spanish flair. Spearheading the attack for Los Che in the absence of Roberto Soldado – who appeared for Spain in their 4-1 win over South Korea on Wednesday – the one-time Spanish international was clinical in finding space and converting chances early.
Aduriz first capitalized just 71 seconds into the match after Pablo stripped Adam Moffat at midfield and sent the striker through on goal. Tyler Deric got a paw to the 31-year old’s shot but it was not enough and Valencia took the early lead.
The goal was the result of the type of early pressure from Valencia that put the Dynamo backline under constant strain in the first quarter-hour.
While Valencia was pushing forward they left plenty of space to counter, which Carr exploited in the 14th minute.
The newly anointed Houston right winger weaved his way through the visitors' left side and hit a left-footed cracker from 22 yards that found the far top corner to pull the score back to 1-1.
The even scoreline was short-lived, thanks again to Aduriz. Just three minutes after Carr’s goal, the striker was again the beneficiary of quality service – this time from Pablo Piatti to make it 2-1.
The second half did not have the same level of positive, free-flowing play. Part of that was due to line-change type substitutions typical of friendlies.
Still there were a few moments to make the fans sit up and take notice. The first came just seconds into the second half as Pablo threatened another early goal. However, Deric was in position to stop the Spaniard's attempt.
Second half sub Cam Weaver played a fantastic ball for Mac Kandji in the 52nd minute, and the Senegalese took his chance on goal from distance – passing up a streaking Weaver – only to be stuffed by Valencia ‘keeper Guaita, who made three saves on the night.
Aduriz got a look in the 78th minute to turn his brace into a hat trick but Deric, who was up to the task for most of the night with four saves, shutting him down in front of goal.
Kandji had a chance to equalize late, finding time and space at the back post on a Brian Ownby cross, but his shot was smothered by Guaita, who had command of his area all night.
In the end Valencia made Aduriz’s early exploits stand to take the Charities Cup home to Spain. Houston has the weekend off from MLS play and will make their second trip of the season to the Cascadia region on June 10 to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.