The Houston Dynamo defense enjoyed a near-perfect July. And in the middle of it all was defender Bobby Boswell.
In six matches last month, Houston conceded just one goal, a penalty kick by Kei Kamara in a 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on July 18, and most impressively, just 26 percent of the 58 shots they faced tested goalkeeper Tally Hall. It is a defensive effort that screams organization and cohesion, and the voice in the middle making it happen belongs to Boswell.
“I know my role and it’s to organize and make the guys around me better, and if you have guys that want to be better and want to work, that’s a pretty good combination,” Boswell said. “After games in the locker room, I’ve made it a point to say that I appreciate them busting their tails to work hard defensively.”
Boswell seems to take to that leadership role naturally. The defender has been a rock for the Dynamo in the center of the defense and has played his role well on the field, but it is his work off the BBVA Compass Stadium pitch that sets him apart.
A leader in the locker room and on the training field, Boswell is one of the Dynamo players you are most likely to hear letting teammates know when they are doing it right or wrong on the training pitch. According to midfielder Brad Davis, it's his vision and understanding of the game that allows him to keep his teammates in the game and hold their feet to the fire.
“You need somebody who sees the whole field and can organize everybody,” the Dynamo midfielder said. “He does a great job doing that. He’s got everything in front of him. … So it’s his job to get us into as good an organizational shape as possible.”
While Boswell’s defensive work has been easy to identify, his contribution in the attack has not gone unnoticed either. Boswell has shown an ability to bring the ball up the middle of the field and provide linking play. In fact, only Colorado Rapid Drew Moor has played center back and completed more passes, to help the attack. His decision making and passing were on display during last Saturday’s opening goal against Toronto, when he passed up a header in favor of a flick across goal to forward Calen Carr.
That play was evidence of his vision and maturity to understand the game, which is paying off for a Dynamo club that outscored opponents 13-1 in July.
“It’s always a thing of helping each other out and Bobby’s always that guy that’s leading from the field and leading verbally,” Hall said. “He’s one of those guys who knows his business and the ins and outs and is always thinking a step ahead. One of the main reasons why the team is on the run it’s on is the defense and Bobby.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.