A frantic week of moves results in two World Cup veterans as Houston Dynamo prepare for playoff push
After days of complex and wide-ranging negotiations, the Dynamo are confident that hard work behind the scenes will pay off on the field following a hectic week that saw the club add two World Cup players to boost their playoff hopes.
Houston announced the signing of Honduran midfielder Luis Garrido on Friday, just a day after longtime U.S. star DaMarcus Beasley was presented to fans and media at BBVA Compass Stadium. The week will be capped off with a prestige match when the Dynamo host English Premier League club Aston Villa on Saturday night in the BBVA Compass Charities Cup (8 p.m. CT; TICKETS).
Given the detailed rules about allocation orders and discovery claims for players coming into MLS, as well as salary cap restrictions, adding two highly-rated internationals in quick succession required plenty of backstage effort and planning.
To get DaMarcus Beasley, the Dynamo first had to acquire the number one ranking in the MLS allocation order from Toronto FC, which they secured in exchange for Warren Creavalle. That left a vacancy for a defensive midfielder, which was quickly filled when Houston maneuvered into position to sign Garrido, a player they have admired for a while.
Ultimately, all the pieces fell into place—with the result that the club looks to have strengthened in midfield and defense, attracted plenty of media and supporter buzz and sent a message that it intends to push hard to reach the postseason. The Dynamo are currently four points adrift of the Eastern Conference’s final playoffs spot.
“With the injection of energy and quality from DaMarcus and Luis I think it just makes the whole group better, I think it’ll make training sessions better, I think it’ll make preparations for games better, it deepens the squad and it makes us a stronger team,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said at a Charities Cup press conference and literacy event at Ripley House, a community center two miles east of downtown.
“[Creavalle’s] departure to Toronto kind of leaves a void in our midfield depth and I thought Luis would be the perfect person to fill that, and the fans of Houston and the players will appreciate the amount of work and commitment he brings.”
Dynamo president Chris Canetti hopes the new arrivals are a catalyst for improved form. “I was at training this morning and sat next to Brian Ching and one of the things Brian had said to me was in 2011 he didn’t feel like we were playing so well,” he said. “A couple of changes changed everything, changed the level of intensity in training, changed the results on the field and we went on to MLS Cup.”
Garrido joins from Honduran club C.D. Olimpia, where he played with current Dynamo midfielders Boniek García and Alex López. The 23-year-old is on loan for the remainder of this season and all of the next, with an option to make the move permanent. He started for Honduras against Ecuador and France in this year’s World Cup and has 22 caps for his country. He spent part of last year on loan with Serbian powerhouse Red Star Belgrade.
He may only be 5 feet, 7 inches tall, but Garrido is nicknamed La Fiera—The Beast—for his fierce playing style. It was clear from his introduction that he is full of confidence. “Plenty of effort, plenty of sacrifice, I think those are qualities you can expect to see [from me],” he said through a translator.
“Certainly I’m going to leave everything on the field, game in and game out, do everything in my power to be a positive presence on the field.”
Garrido is excited to link up with his countrymen. “I have a very good relationship with them both, I’ve known them since 2007,” he said. “Lots of respect, a good vibe between us and I’m very happy that they welcomed me to the club. They said a lot of good things, a lot of great things, that’s why I’m here. Now it’s up to me to prove that I fit into this puzzle.”
Beasley figures to be a major piece of that puzzle. The only American to play in four World Cups, he has 120 U.S. caps and has played for big clubs in Mexico, Scotland, the Netherlands, England and Germany, converting in recent years to left back after spending much of his career as a winger.
“He’s a fantastic signing, he’s great in the locker room and not only that he has experience of playing all around the world and the fact that he’s played in four World Cups is an honor that I’m sure he’s very proud of,” said Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who was a U.S. teammate in Brazil. “He’s going to bring a ton of experience, leadership, and is a guy that you can depend on week-in, week-out.”
Beasley said he was delighted by the enthusiasm of the fans who came to his unveiling on Thursday. “Unbelievable, I haven’t had a reception like this in my career, at none of my teams, never, it’s pretty amazing to see. I’ve always heard that Houston had great fans and now I’m part of the family I’m glad that they’ve welcomed me with open arms,” he said.
BBVA Compass Stadium also made a positive first impression on the 32-year-old. “It’s got the European feel where the stands are right on top of the field, I think it makes for a great atmosphere in night games,” he said. “Everything has been first class so far, this is a class organization and they’ve done everything that they can to make this a smooth transition.”
The Indiana native played for the Chicago Fire before joining PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2004. He knows that MLS has radically altered in the past decade. “This is a different league than the one I played in ten years ago. I’ve watched a couple of games, its very fast, physical, the players are better, so it’s definitely going to be an experience and hopefully it’s a good one,” he said.
The Dynamo’s new duo could make their MLS debuts on August 3, when D.C. United visit BBVA Compass Stadium (TICKETS). “It’s not an easy league to play in, people know that,” said Beasley. “I’m looking to get acclimated as soon as possible and help the team hopefully get to the playoffs … I still have my tenacity, I still have my fight.”