PHOENIX – The one constant in the heart of the Houston Dynamo’s defense over the past couple of seasons has been Bobby Boswell. It’s just the spot next to him that keeps changing.
Since Boswell joined Houston in 2008, he’s been paired with a rotating cast of characters that have ranged from Geoff Cameron to Eddie Robinson to Adrian Serioux to Ryan Cochrane. Each has provided his own challenge as far as finding a rapport with Boswell, for better or for worse.
“It’s definitely the guy you share success and misery with,” Boswell told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday shortly after the Dynamo's 4-2 preseason win over Columbus.
After a 2009 season in which the Dynamo surrendered .97 goals per game, tied for best in the league, they slumped to the third-worst mark last season at 1.63 per match. Worse, Houston coughed up 11 goals in the final 15 minutes of games in 2010.
This season, it looks as if Boswell will get another partner at center back to help bolster the defense: Jermaine Taylor. The Jamaican international, who Houston officially signed on Wednesday, will almost certainly step into the starting lineup alongside Boswell.
Taylor’s signing is the latest in a series of upgrades by head coach Dominic Kinnear to help improve the back line. Boswell has enjoyed getting to know his intimidating new partner, and is eager to develop a rapport with him.
“He’s a big guy,” admitted Boswell of the 5-foot-10, wide-bodied Taylor. “He talks well, and he’s not afraid to tell me stuff, which is good. The most important thing is communication. The more you talk – and we talk both on and off the field – the better it will be for us.”
The biggest thing, says Boswell, is getting games together. Kinnear has used Taylor extensively during the team’s time in Arizona, both next to Boswell and last year’s incumbent, Robinson.
Besides spending time together in the central defense, Boswell has been able to spend time with his new teammate off the pitch thanks to the fact that Boswell's roommate in Houston is teammate Lovel Palmer, another Jamaican import who has helped Taylor acclimate.
“[Taylor] knows that I’m one of the good guys,” Boswell said.
According to Boswell, Taylor has come into camp with a good attitude and professionalism and wants to fit in well. The more reps they get together, the easier it will be to learn each others’ game and maintain that crucial communication.
“He’s a good soccer player and he wants to win,” said Boswell. “If that’s your attitude and you’re willing to do the work, I’m not a bad guy to play next to, because I want those things, too.”