HOUSTON – The fortress that is BBVA Compass Stadium was breached for the first time in 2017, as the Houston Dynamo suffered their first loss on home soil in competitive play.
The 2-0 defeat came at the hands of Sporting Kansas City during US Open Cup play on Wednesday night, and it came in a game that saw the Dynamo field a mixed team of young players and some players from USL affiliate, Rio Grande Valley FC. Of the 11 Houston starters, five hailed rom RGV FC as did two of the team's subs.
Despite the loss, Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera was proud of the performance from his youngsters, especially considering that Sporting KC fielded a team with seven regular starters.
“To be able to play even, to create those options, to manage and possess the ball they way they did, it is important,” Cabrera said. “Set a tone, and send a message to everyone that maybe we’re not the best team in the league, but we’re going to try to be always, especially at home, a winning team.”
In addition to 21-year-old academy product Memo Rodriguez, there were two other young players who stood out for Cabrera: 22-year-old Charlie Ward and fellow midfielder, 24-year-old Eric Bird.
For Dynamo left back Dylan Remick, who has played in eight games this season while starting seven of them, the match was proof just how the Dynamo are "extremely deep."
“The younger guys showed character and personality," said veteran forward Vicente Sanchez. "I think we had a great first half. During the second half, we had a scoring opportunity and we couldn’t finish. [But] the younger guys showed how talented they are.”
Ward, who said Cabrera gave the team the confidence and trust to go out on the field and compete, was gutted that Houston lost. Ward saw it as a missed opportunity.
“You want to win it most of all,” Ward said. “And it’s an opportunity for me to be playing here [with the first team] and show Wilmer and Matt Jordan and the other staff, so it’s upsetting.”
With the Dynamo’s US Open Cup run over, the team now shifts all its focus to a goal that is still attainable.
“If we didn’t play the first team [on Wednesday], it’s because we have the goal to work to try and get to the playoffs,” Cabrera noted.