Thursday night is sure to be emotional for Boniek Garcia.
The Houston midfielder has played an important role in the Dynamo’s summer success since his June capture. And although his recent run of form has everyone’s attention in MLS, he still has plenty of affection for the club who gave him his first break, CD Olimpia, who the Dynamo will face in their second CONCACAF Champions League group stage game Thursday night in Honduras (9 pm CT, FOX Soccer).
“It’s very emotional,” Garcia said through a translator. “[Playing there] is very important for two reasons. Number one because Olimpia gave me the opportunity to play and that’s why I’m here, and number two is the fact that I want to help the Dynamo and help them get a good result.”
WATCH: Boniek Garcia on arrival in Houston
Garcia got his start with Olimpia in 2003 and starred on the wing last season as an integral part of their championship run despite finding himself at the center of a very public transfer saga while trying to seal a move to Houston.
When talking to the midfielder, it’s clear that he is dedicated to the Dynamo, but it’s just as obvious that Olimpia still has a special place in his heart, making this a trip a “can’t miss” opportunity. That affection was returned Wednesday as Garcia reportedly received more than a warm welcome upon arrival in Tegucigalpa ahead of the CCL showdown.
Still, the 27-year-old was clear about his intentions. This is a business trip.
“I was there for eight years and it’s my family, but today I owe myself to the Dynamo 100 percent and really want to do things to help the team out,” the midfielder said. “Feelings are always going to be there, but this is about professionalism and I owe myself to the Dynamo today. I have to do things well to help this club. I have to put those [feelings] aside and focus on the task at hand.”
The Dynamo and Olimpia are the favorites to finish first in Group 3 and advance to the quarterfinals of CCL, and Houston has maintained that leaving Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino with a result will be a challenge. If they can somehow manage to leave with all three points, though, head coach Dominic Kinnear’s side will take control of the group.
With that aim, Garcia will be a valuable resource for the Dynamo as they prepare for what looks to be a very tough CONCACAF showdown.
“All around, it’s going to be a very difficult game,” Garcia said of facing his former club. “I’ve been following the team, watching their games and things haven’t really gone the way they want them to, but in CONCACAF it’s going to be different. They’re going to come out and press from the get-go and want three points to help them move on to the next round.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.