HOUSTON – After a disappointing 2009, the pressure was on designated player Luis Landin to improve his performance for Houston Dynamo entering this season. Thanks to a full preseason and time to acclimate to his new teammates, Landín’s performance is starting to resemble the player the Dynamo saw while he was at Pachuca.
“I started with some injuries, but right now I am well physically and I feel a lot more free and comfortable around my teammates and you see the results,” said Landín.
“It’s no secret he’s in better shape now than when he came here, but he’s a good player,” noted head coach Dominic Kinnear. “He has great feet, he’s good around the box and I think he’s finding his way. It is almost his second go-through, with last year being his first, and I think he is figuring things out better the second time around.”
In 10 games last year, including the playoffs, Landín registered just one goal. In only eight games this season, Landín has already matched that goal, as well as adding three assists. Furthermore, Landín has also drew an important penalty against Real Salt Lake and has been significantly more dangerous for Houston when he has been on the field.
“The fact that I got to play with [my teammates] in the preseason helped me tremendously,” noted Landín. “I’ve had the opportunity to look at all the forwards play and now I can see all the little things they do to that helps me feed off of them and vice-versa.”
Kinnear has taken note of the comfort level between Landín and fellow forward Dominic Oduro.
“Him and Dom seem to be forming a good partnership up there,” said Kinnear. “The more consistent they are holding the ball up, the more dangerous they are. And Luis is very good in tight spaces.”
The head coach, though, will have some difficulty balancing time between all five Dynamo forwards. Cam Weaver has returned to the team from injury, Joseph Ngwenya received his ITC and Brian Ching was a shock omission from the US Men’s National Team.
But with the summer heat in Houston and with a tough schedule for the team ahead, Kinnear noted, “There will be minutes around for everybody.”
Landín, though, is not worried about playing time. He believes that the competition between the forwards will help the team, an indication of just how comfortable the Mexican forward has become in Houston.
“Right now the team is well,” said Landín. “The fact that we have several forwards keeps a healthy level of competition. I get along well with the other forwards, but we are all competing for a spot. This helps us raise the level of the game and helps us individually as well.”
As long as Landín can keep feeling comfortable, there’s no question that he’ll show this season exactly why Houston brought him in.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.