Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Creavalle's role growing in year two

HOUSTON – Warren Creavalle is not catching anyone by surprise in 2013.

The second round selection proved to be a steal in 2012. Not because of his versatility - which was a major reason the Houston Dynamo picked him - but with his work ethic and ability to come up big when the Dynamo called his number that caught the staff’s and his teammates’ attention.

A year later and Creavalle comes into his second preseason camp in a different role. Before he was hoping to earn a contract, now, he is being looked upon with high expectations.

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“A lot’s expected of him because we saw how good he can play,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “He played a lot of important games, some first team games and some CONCACAF games. It’s not a surprise anymore. We think he’s a good player and now he just has to be consistent and that’s what we’re asking of him.”

Consistency was something that Kinnear liked in Creavalle’s game last season. Regardless of his role, the rookie seemed to come through showing off his skill and calmness on the ball. Now his role could be expanding.

Creavalle saw time at right back and as a defensive midfielder last season. This season, the rookie will likely be the chief depth option at both positions while also being eyed for cover at center back and left back, positions Kinnear has said he believes Creavalle can play.

While Creavalle certainly has eyes for a starting role, adding to his responsibilities is right in line with his immediate goals.

“I want to keep progressing and bettering my role. I think it’s as simple as that,” Creavalle said. “I’ll take my minutes wherever I can get them. I just have to keep working hard and doing what I have to do on the training field.”

That is the type of quiet, workmanlike attitude that has won the confidence of Kinnear and his teammates over the past year, even if he did stand out on his first day.

“You come to training camp and this guy has a sweet flattop and you think ‘This guy has the best hair on the team, right away,’” goalkeeper Tally Hall said with a laugh. “He’s that quiet hardworking guy. His work rate, his speed … There’s a huge amount of potential. He wants to be a team player and to have a guy with so much potential like that is promising.”

Now, Creavalle will be tasked with building on that promise and he will likely get that chance, which could come sooner rather than later if Corey Ashe is not healthy for the season opener.

“All we can ask of him is to improve and to keep showing the same attitude he did last year and he’ll be given opportunities to play,” Kinnear said.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DarrellLovell.