Versatile Taylor becoming crucial component of defense
Following his third full shift in seven days, Houston Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor is showing no signs of slowing down.
The Jamaican international – who was expected to fill a utility role when the season began – has been excellent for the club in regular duty, earning man of the match honors in Tuesday’s scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers three days after putting on a standout performance against D.C. United.
As Taylor continues to impress, his role is quickly turning from utility man to staple in the Dynamo defense, even if his 35-yard attempts on goal are something Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear could do without.
WATCH: Taylor slides to block Nagbe's effort
Not that Taylor has any plans on cutting back on his ambitious efforts, especially now that he appears to have created a niche for his more valuable talents within the squad.
“I’m a defender and sometimes when you get chances, you want to get going at goal,” Taylor said candidly. “It’s your chance, so you might as well take it.”
However, given Taylor's recent form, the long-range efforts are certainly something Kinnear can look past.
“We’re asking a lot of Jermaine," the Dynamo manager said. "This year he’s played right back, left back and right back again, and he just takes it in stride and plays well.”
In seven starts, Taylor, who as Jamaica's captain is all but guaranteed to be called in for the Reggae Boyz during World Cup qualifying in June, has been an impact player on defense, breaking up plays, winning one-on-one battles and providing good service going forward. The fact that he is doing all that at multiple positions on the backline is an indication of how important he has become to Houston.
“His natural position is everywhere,” Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall said while flashing a smile. “It’s not about putting players in their positions, it’s about putting the best 11 out there and the positions will take care of themselves. He’s a versatile player and anytime you have an international in your starting eleven it brings a certain amount of experience and expertise to the field."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.