While the rest of the league was busy adding Designated Players, the cap-restricted Houston Dynamo made one lower-profile acquisition in the most recent transfer window, acquiring midfielder Anthony Obodai.
Against New England last Saturday, that acquisition began to pay some dividends as Obodai put in his best performance of the year in helping Houston keep a lion’s share of the possession and control the center of the pitch. Head coach Dominic Kinnear was pleased with the performance of Obodai, whose addition to the roster seems to have helped stabilize a struggling Dynamo midfield.
“I thought he looked good in the first half, sharp and quick with the ball,” Kinnear said. “I think at the end, he was a little weary and a little legged, but in the beginning, [Shalrie] Joseph and [Pat] Phelan had a hard time dealing with his quickness and his distribution of the ball. If he can do that for longer periods of time, it makes us a better team.”
While the Ghanian midfielder seemed to settle in quickly with solid performances in SuperLiga, Obodai struggled in his MLS debut against the New York Red Bulls. However, the midfielder is slowly growing more and more comfortable in MLS.
“It’s a different situation, and I am trying to adjust to the system here,” noted Obodai. “It was going to take a couple of games to learn everything here, but now I am finding myself comfortable with the team, and I think it will go well for me.”
The former Ajax player has already caught on to some of the style differences between MLS and the Dutch league.
“Here it is hard soccer, aggressive, more running, it’s not [as much] about the football,” explained Obodai. “If you come here, it’s a hard game and a tough game, and you have to be ready to play.”
Obodai is not the most physically imposing player, as he stands at only 5-foot-8. As a result, 6-foot-3 Joseph may have thought he could impose his will on Obodai, but the Dynamo midfielder was having no part of it.
“In football, when I have the ball, they think I am small, so they think it’s easy to take the ball,” said Obodai of his battle with Joseph. “But I’m trying to tell him, no, it’s not the way to think.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to email@example.com.