The Columbus Crew reached the pinnacle of Major League Soccer in 2008, winning their only league title in club history. Adam Moffat was a young Crew midfielder at the time, but he did not get to fully enjoy the festivities. After scoring two goals in the first seven games of the 2008 season, Moffat tore his left ACL, forcing him to experience Columbus’ championship season from the sideline. Three years and two clubs later, Moffat is finally getting his shot at MLS Cup glory with the Houston Dynamo.
“It was great to be around that team in 2008, but not playing was just a different feeling,” Moffat said. “I’m sure many guys have felt that when you’re not involved or maybe get suspended for the final or miss due to injury. It’s just different when you’re a part of it.”
A player that had been on head coach Dominic Kinnear’s radar for a few seasons, Moffat came to Houston in a July 21 trade from the Portland Timbers for defender Mike Chabala and midfielder Lovel Palmer. Although Moffat struggled to get playing time in Portland, the trade quickly reversed his fortunes. Moffat started his first game for the Dynamo on July 30 against the Seattle Sounders, and he never looked back. He has started 15 of Houston's last 16 games, a span in which the team compiled a 10-2-4 record.
Moffat was quick to gain a reputation with Dynamo fans for his long-range bombs and now trademark beard. While his ball-striking skills provided the flash, Moffat’s addition has provided Houston with a trait that’s been synonymous with the club throughout their six years in the league.
“He has a lot of bite to his game, and that’s what’s made us be so physical in midfield,” fellow midfielder Danny Cruz said. “It’s something we were lacking, and he’s been great at it for us.”
That bite has meshed well with the abilities of fellow midseason addition Luiz Camargo, a Brazilian who shares the middle of the pitch with Moffat. The pair has combined to provide a potent one-two punch, combining the Scotsman’s strong, physical play with Camargo’s slick passing and attacking skills. That partnership helped the Dynamo push through the playoffs to MLS Cup. In the Dynamo's Eastern Conference final victory over Sporting Kansas City, Moffat's free kick set up Houston's first goal, while Camargo used his supreme vision to find forward Carlo Costly for Houston's second
“It’s tough because his English isn’t so great, but neither is mine, and people struggle to understand me,” Moffat said with a laugh. “Luiz gets stuck in and has great vision. If I can win the ball, I like to get it to someone else who can create more, and he can do that.”
Now a Dynamo fixture after just four months, Moffat is a week away from taking care of some three-year old business with a long-awaited appearance in MLS Cup.
“Playing in every game is exciting, and I’m pumped to get out there and have that same feeling from a few years ago,” Moffat said. “Getting all the way and being one of two teams left is great. I’m savoring this even more, knowing I missed out on it three years ago.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.