Newcomers Watson, Koke learning on the fly

MLS brings new challenges for Kinnear's new attack-minded duo


Photo Credit: 
Courtesy Nigel Brooks

Je-Vaughn Watson and Koke are finding just how steep the MLS learning
curve is. The  Houston Dynamo's newest players are both learning on the
fly how to play together and adapt to a faster and more physical style of

“They’re quicker and stronger in MLS, and they're adjusting to that,”
said midfielder Geoff Cameron of his new teammates. “[Last weekend at
Toronto], Koke thought there were a lot of fouls out there, but I just
told him, ‘Welcome to MLS,’ and, ‘You just have to roll with it.’”

Watson and Koke both got the start for
Houston last Saturday night, each going the distance in a 2-1 loss to
TFC. Watson — who made his second start in a row — played right
midfield, and Koke started at forward next to Cam Weaver.

The pair was effective throughout the match, and Watson got the assist on the Dynamo’s lone goal for the second straight match. Still, while the transition is going well, both players are noticing that playing in MLS offers different challenges.

“It’s a bit different here, because you have to keep running, and you’ve
got some players who are technically better,” said Watson, who came to the Dynamo from Sporting Central in Jamaica.

While both players are adapting to the speed and physicality involved
in MLS, the team is finding that both players bring attacking
quality. Watson and Koke came to Houston with the reputation of being
skilled players who have a track record of creating for teammates as
much as for themselves. Getting on the field and facing live action for the first time brings
both optimism for the future and the realization that the process of
integrating into a new team can take some time.

“All the players are helping me, and they know I’m new, but with their
help, it’s easier,” Koke said. “I think they’re getting confidence in me,
and I think that’s very important.”

Added Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear: “For some guys, especially
foreigners, it takes some time to adjust. So I think if you come in and
you’re ready, it still may not be enough, because you don’t know the
players here. But overall, I think both guys have done well.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.