It’s been a long wait for Servando Carrasco. After coming to the Houston Dynamo from the Seattle Sounders in a September 2013 trade for Adam Moffat, Carrasco has bided his time and been a good soldier while seeing only occasional duty in league play, all of it off the bench.
On Saturday, Carrasco finally got his chance to start against Chivas USA, and he made the most of it.
Carrasco anchored Houston’s three-man central midfield in a 4-1 win over the Goats, and his first MLS start for the Dynamo showed that he has not put his time to waste.
“Everyone knows what he brings,” said forward Giles Barnes. “Servando always wants the ball and is very comfortable, so you can give it to him and go off and make your runs. I think he’s shown everyone what he’s capable of, and he was very disciplined in there as well. I thought he had a really good game, if I’m honest.”
Carrasco had already proved to his team that he has the goods. The 25-year-old is a tireless worker, handling everything that is asked of him during Houston training sessions. Of course, getting it done on the weekend is another thing altogether.
Having appeared in only eight out of 20 MLS and playoff games since joining the club -- each time as a substitute -- and having totaled only 89 minutes, Carrasco used a full 90-minute shift to help Houston overwhelm Chivas on Saturday.
He particularly impressed with his distribution, sitting in front of the back line and spraying the ball to attackers going forward, and the Dynamo could look to him for a similar role on Wednesday against the Columbus Crew. On Monday, Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said he had not talked to Carrasco about the game but was not surprised with his performance.
“I was happy for him to get that start and have the game that he did,” Kinnear said. “I’m sure he’d tell you he was ready to play and he’s been dying to play. When given the chance, you have to make the most of it, and I think he did that.”
It marked a major step forward in Carrasco's quest to earn the veteran coach's trust.
“[Kinnear’s] very honest; he’s a guy that’s going to be very straightforward with you, and that started in the preseason,” Carrasco said. “He came in the locker room and said, 'All of you guys are going to get an opportunity to play. What you do with it is up to you.' I kind of got a hold of that the first day in preseason ... I’ve just got to do well in practice and do well in the reserve games, and hopefully that translates.”
While he may not bring quite the same bite as Ricardo Clark – who is once again listed as out for Wednesday’s game with a concussion – or Warren Creavalle, Carrasco's passing and vision provide another option for Kinnear as the club prepare to face a surprisingly strong Columbus outfit.
“It felt good; it absolutely felt good to step out on the field, but I think I’m more happy with the performance of the team,” Carrasco said. “We kept the ball moving and we shared the ball, and when we do share the ball, we’re a very dangerous team.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.