Players from the Houston Dynamo (orange) and NTX Rayados battle for the ball in their Fourth Round match in the 2018 US Open Cup. Photo: Jose Castellanos | Prost Amerika
How do you prepare for a team you’ve never seen play?
“It’s complicated because you don’t know what to expect,” said Houston Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera after a 5-0 win against NTX Rayados, an amateur team from the Dallas area, in the Fourth Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
Cabrera added that even though the team had some video of Rayados, “we didn’t want to show them (the Dynamo players) because it’s really blurry, at grass level.”
“We didn’t want to feel comfortable,” he said. “We told them, if they are here it’s because they won each of their games. They deserve to be here.”
NTX showed they more than belonged as the two teams struggled through a sluggish first half in the 90-plus degree Houston heat. Rayados also had a couple of opportunities on the counter attack. In the 23rd minute, forward Mohamed Sesay received a got on the end of a long pass but his shot was stopped by Dynamo goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
Arturo Alvarez’s header over the bar as the first half came to an end was the best chance for the home side.
Houston got its breakthrough in the 55th minute when defender Alejandro Fuenmayor whipped a cross into the box. Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez converted on his second attempt to give Houston a 1-0 lead.
The Dynamo doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Luis Gil put recent signing Aldo Quintanilla through on goal. The former RGVFC Toro made no mistake to put Houston up 2-0.
Moments later, the Open Cup dream for NTX was all but dashed when a turnover led to defender Jose Luis Burciaga taking Rodriguez down in the box. Burciaga received his marching orders as he was given his second yellow of the match.
The 22-year-old former Dynamo Academy product converted from the penalty spot for his brace to put Houston on top 3-0. Rodriguez said the penalty “was always mine, but Arturo (Alvarez) asked if I wanted and he gives me that confidence that I’m gonna step up and take the opportunity and score.”
Arturo Alvarez added two assists late, one to Matias Zaldivar (another RGVFC product) in the 88th minute and one to Quintanilla in the second half of stoppage time.
NTX may have suffered a lopsided defeat but you wouldn’t tell by looking at their faces as they walked off the BBVA Compass Stadium Field. This was a team of teachers and friends who went toe-to-toe with a MLS team, a memory they’ll never forget.
With the win over NTX, the the first competitive match against an amateur team in Dynamo history, Houston advances in the Cup and sets up a likely date with in-state rivals FC Dallas, who beat San Antonio 1-0 Wednesday night.
While not yet official, Cabrera and Dynamo players were already discussing the anticipated match up after the win.