No one epitomized the Houston Dynamo’s season more than defender Bobby Boswell.
A veteran expected to be a defensive mainstay and leader after an offseason of change, Boswell was projected to have major impact on the Dynamo, on and off the field. Yet, like his club, Boswell’s season was a story of high and lows. After a fast start, the defender saw his time on the pitch dwindle as the club searched for answers midseason. Now back in the starting lineup for 15 of the last 16 games and headed to his first MLS Cup final, Boswell has put his midseason struggles behind him and is ready to help his club lift the cup.
“As a player, you always think you should be on the field and want to be on the field to help the team,” Boswell said. “If it doesn’t go that way, you just have to keep working hard and hope you get another opportunity. … Luckily, I did well when [head coach Dominic Kinnear] gave it to me.”
Boswell was a big part of the Dynamo’s fast start, providing a steadying force in the center of defense and scoring two goals as the club went 3-1-3 in its first seven games. Then trouble hit. Houston notched one win in the following nine games, giving up 14 goals in the process. As Kinnear searched for answers, Boswell found himself watching from the bench.
“Dom and I talked, and I didn’t necessarily agree with it, but I understood it,” Boswell said. “Part of it was the team at the time -- we weren’t getting results -- and part of it was how I was playing.”
As Boswell dealt with the drop in playing time, there was no drop in his effort or impact in the locker room.
“He didn’t give up and is a leader on this team; he’s captain material on the team,” said center back partner Geoff Cameron, who has formed a formidable duo with Boswell the last two months. “Some players would have gotten down about it, but he fought through it and is back in the starting lineup now.”
Boswell returned to the starting lineup July 30 against the Seattle Sounders following Houston's low point at Chivas USA on July 23. Since his return to the lineup, the Dynamo are 10-2-4, and Boswell missed one of those two losses while suspended due to yellow-card accumulation against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 10.
Now with the club headed to the MLS Cup, the once-benched seventh-year defender is ready to end his year on a high note and help his team win a third title in six years.
“I’ve been on some really good teams and feel like we’ve always come up short,” Boswell said. “If we go out and play well, we’ll win and be happy, and that’s all that matters.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.