There was a new face in a Dynamo uniform during Monday’s practice in the form of trialist Yordany Álvarez, who will be training with Houston for the week.
Álvarez was one of the members of the Cuban U-23 national team that defected during the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament in Tampa, Fla. After defecting, he had a trial with the LA Galaxy, but they opted not to sign him. Álvarez later caught on with the second-division Austin Aztex, and it was with them that Álvarez caught the eye of the Dynamo coaching staff.
“We played Austin in the preseason and then went up and saw them against Montreal in the playoffs,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We circled some names that we thought were pretty good players and, speaking with the coach, there was an opportunity to bring him in.”
Álvarez will train with Houston until Thursday. According to the Aztex website, Álvarez registered two goals and five assists this year from a central midfield spot, where he admits he is most comfortable. Austin’s season ended on Oct. 9 after the team was eliminated from the USSF D2 playoffs by the Montreal Impact. As a result, the Cuban felt a little rusty on Monday.
“I felt a little tired because I haven’t been training regularly,” said Álvarez. “I felt good and confident, though. When my physical fitness improves, I will be better.”
According to USLsoccer.com, Álvarez signed an extension with Austin prior to the 2010 campaign. But Kinnear said the clubs have worked well together in the past.
“We’re fairly certain he’s under contract with Austin,” said Kinnear, “But the way [Aztex head coach] Adrian Heath has gone about business, he has been very fair especially with us.”
For now, however, Álvarez is with Houston strictly on trial, and Kinnear is looking forward to seeing what the midfielder can do once he settles in with the team.
“[Monday was] the first day, and he’s getting to know the guys,” said Kinnear. “He should not put too much pressure on himself, though, because he’s a good soccer player and good with the ball at his feet. We will find out more as the week goes on.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to email@example.com.