Sarkodie could be coming into his own

Rookie defender makes goal-line stop against D.C. in third start

HOU_20110528_Vasser_5_Sarkodie

Photo Credit: 
Anthony Vasser/Houston Dynamo

After a tough go of it in his last start, Dynamo rookie Kofi Sarkodie
made his third start of the season in a 2-2 tie against D.C. United
last Saturday and looks to have done well with that opportunity.

Coming into the season, some projections had the rookie claiming one of
the starting fullback spots, but that did not come to pass. After a Week
2 start on the road at Seattle, Sarkodie found playing time hard to
come by and had to wait until May 28 against FC Dallas to make his
second start. It was one to forget.

Struggling to find his touch and feel for the game, the rookie saw two
yellow cards and was shown the door after 72 minutes in the 2-2 draw.
Nearly a month later, Sarkodie bounced back with a solid performance in
his most recent chance last weekend in D.C.

“I thought I played solid, and I saved one off the goal that I was
pretty happy about because it was a crucial play,” Sarkodie said.
“Overall, I was happy with [my performance].”

A very positive sign was that, in addition to Sarkodie’s goal-line
save, the right back routinely got into the attack and helped provide a
spark down the right side. He showed glimpses of the attacking ability
that the Dynamo saw in him when they picked him seventh overall in this
year’s MLS SuperDraft.

“He seemed more comfortable on the ball, and we’re trying to encourage
him to get into the attack and be more confident on the ball,” said head
coach Dominic Kinnear. “I think having a few days knowing he was going
to start did him well. I think he’s confident to begin with, and in the
second or third game you’re going to feel better stepping on the field.”

Coming off the weekend, Sarkodie realizes there is still work to do and
is looking to build on his solid performance. But with the amount of
changes in the lineup last week, it is not clear what Kinnear has planned
for Sunday night’s match at Colorado (8 p.m. CT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes). Nevertheless, Sarkodie is just focused on improving, something that will
happen as he gets more playing time and opportunities in game situations
to grow accustomed to the speed of play in MLS.

“The more games I get, the more aggressive I’ll be going forward,”
Sarkodie said. “Every day I’m getting better and seeing things quicker.
At all levels, experience is the biggest thing. … The more games I get,
the quicker my decisions are, and the better I’ll be.”

Houston releases Jordan Graye
The Dynamo opted to cut ties with Jordan Graye on Wednesday. The
defender was never able to crack the defensive depth chart and failed to
make an MLS appearance this season.

Houston brought Graye in from Portland for a 2014 draft pick in hopes
the 24-year-old would show the skills that made him a 20-game starter in
DC in 2010. Graye’s only official appearance in Dynamo orange came as a substitute
in a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City in a U.S. Open Cup qualifying match on April 6.

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