The Houston Dynamo triumphed 2-1 over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday at PayPal Park as goals from Thorleifur Úlfarsson and Sebastian Ferreira propelled the Texas team to the three points.
The match also saw Mexican newcomer Hector Herrera log his first start and 90-minute shift with the team, making an impressive impact from the midfield. Though he did not actively play a part in either goal, Houston Dynamo players hailed Herrera after the game for his influence on the pitch.
“He’s a huge presence. He allows guys around him to kind of have a little bit more freedom just because of his knowledge of the game,” said defender Tim Parker. “He’s intelligent, he’s good on the ball and he knows how to organize things around him. He gives the guys around him a lot more freedom and a lot more confidence to do stuff.”
Head coach Paulo Nagamura echoed the defender’s thoughts, labeling Herrera’s talents as something the team was missing.
“I think one thing that Hector brings that we were missing, I think he’s a great voice not only in our locker room but on the field,” Nagamura said. “I think he organizes the team, he talks, he demands and I think that’s one thing that I think is huge. … He’s experienced and his leadership skills are going to make us better for sure.”
But work still needs to be done by the Texas side.
Sunday’s victory keeps the Dynamo in 11th place on the Western Conference table with 25 points in 21 games and a record of 7W-10L-4D. Though the team remains four places away from the MLS playoff line, there is only a two point difference between spots.
And with 14 games still left to be played, the addition of Herrera comes at a perfect time.