A Western Conference bout under a beautiful Sunday sunset overlooking Houston’s Aveva Stadium saw the Houston Dynamo 2 come out victorious by a one-goal margin for a second straight week. This time their opponent was the Earthquakes II.
Both teams were coming off inaugural victories and clean sheets with only one goal difference in the standings. Kenny Bundy’s men took control from the beginning of the match, and following an early set-piece, Marcelo Palomino’s free-kick from the left side of the box led to an eventual goal by Papa N’Doye.
The first half saw a more intense offense from the team in orange, whose several attempts were blocked by the visitor's goalkeeper Emmanuel Ochoa who had three impressive saves. Earthquakes II came close to scoring in the 28th minute, but Maximilian Arfstoen's shot hit the post, and the visitors spent the second half chasing the game.
Houston Dynamo 2’s victory put them at the top of the Western Conference standings with 6 points. On the other hand, Alex Covelo’s men suffered their first loss in the season; however, the latter’s goalie formidable performance prevented the host team from getting a lopsided victory.
New Houston Dynamo 2 signing and Man of the Match Papa N’Doye helped his team continue a perfect start to the inaugural season in two home matches.
“I’m feeling great, I’m very happy to score my first goal,” said N’Doye. “We had a long preseason and we’ve been working very very hard for this and today we had the chance, we had the opportunity to play and I scored my first goal. I'm really happy for that.”
The Senegal native signed with MLS NEXT Pro’s Dynamo 2 on February 19, 2022.
“I’m really excited because the first one is always the hardest one,” Bundy said of N’Doye’s goal. “When you’re a striker in a new league, especially a young professional, the first one is always the one that causes the most stress and now this hopefully will open him up, have a little bit more freedom to score every time he has the ball because he can be very dangerous.”
In Sunday’s match, N’Doye was subbed out in the 65th minute in the home team’s victory after he scored the lone goal. In the home opener, the 22-year-old forward played the entire 90 minutes and generated as many shots as the entire Whitecaps FC 2 team.
N’Doye played collegiately at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, earning American Athletic Conference Second Team Honors in Men’s Soccer during his senior season with the Mustangs.
N’Doye and the rest of the Dynamo 2 squad will travel to Kansas next to face Sporting Kansas City II for their first away game on Sunday, April 10 at 7 p.m. ET.