After a tough, injury-plagued 2018 season, Michael Salazar found himself on the market at the beginning of the 2019 season looking for his next team.
“I was injured. I didn’t really have a full preseason,” Salazar said on Monday after signing an MLS contract with the Houston Dynamo.
When he was able to play, Salazar trialed with USL Championship side Birmingham Legion FC, but was not offered a deal with the team.
The Dynamo and their USL Championship affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC Toros were willing to give Salazar a chance, signing him on March 14. He rewarded them by scoring eight goals for the team in twelve games, setting the club single-season record for goals just three months into the USL season. Salazar has averaged a goal every 94 minutes this season for RGV FC, adding to his total last Saturday in a 5-3 defeat at Real Monarchs SLC.
After a collegiate career split between California Baptist University and UC Riverside, Salazar was drafted as the 24th overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Montreal Impact. Salazar spent three seasons in Montreal, scoring five goals and providing three assists for the club in his 34 appearances.
During his stint with the team, Salazar helped the Impact to the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals. He also spent parts of the 2017 and 2018 seasons on loan with Ottawa Fury FC, Montreal’s affiliate club in the USL Championship.
Salazar’s time with the Impact gave him a chance to learn from experienced players, which he said helped him grow as a player.
“I played with a lot of quality players, like [Didier] Drogba, [Ignacio] Piatti, [Laurent] Ciman,” Salazar said. “I watched all those guys carry themselves every day, and it’s helped me throughout my career so far.”
Salazar is looking to use his time with the Dynamo to help the team repeat as Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champions.
“I just want to continue helping them win. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re here for,” Salazar said. “We want to win trophies, and whatever I can do to help the team win, that’s the most important thing.”
Salazar’s Dynamo teammates are taking well to his addition, dousing the Belizean international with a water tunnel post-practice as a welcome to the team.
The Dynamo return to BBVA Compass Stadium Tuesday at 7 p.m. CT for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup showdown against Austin Bold FC as the team looks to repeat as champions of the tournament.