With the MLS summer transfer window approaching, rumors are spreading about how clubs intend to improve their personnel. The Houston Dynamo already made one trade this summer, although no players were moved, but it did position them well to sign or trade for players this summer when the transfer window officially opens July, 10th. Dynamo General Manager Matt Jordan was recently on a scouting trip in Argentina and he may have found a player that finally helps the Houston Dynamo get the elusive #10 that they’ve wanted for years.
The Dynamo aren’t officially able to sign the player until the transfer window opens, but Lester Gretsch of Univision broke the story that midfielder Tomás Martínez is finalizing his deal to come to Houston.
Martínez is a young (22) attacking midfielder who last played with Braga and their reserve team in the Primeira Liga in Portugal. He has exceptional vision on the ball along with remarkable dribbling and passing abilities. Not a goal scorer by nature, he appears more often a facilitator than a finisher, but he has scored some long ranged shots. Being a creator would definitely support our forwards and let them run off the ball more.
The big question is where would he fit in with this team position and who forfeits their place in the starting lineup? If he goes in the midfield I think the most obvious answer is that he would replace Alex Lima. Alex has had a terrific year so far, and Harrison Hamm even gave him an A+ in his Quarterly Grades piece, but hear me out about why I think his spot should be surrendered for Martínez.
Assuming that Wilmer Cabrera sticks with the 4-3-3, roles in the midfield have not been easily defined. The closest defined role is that of Juan David Cabezas who plays at times more like a stopper than a defensive midfielder. His job is to defend first and distribute the ball to the other midfielders or forwards. Unless Ricardo Clark or Alex move back into this defensive role, it seems unlikely that Cabezas loses his place to anyone other than Eric Alexander when he returns from injury. Ricardo Clark’s right/right-central midfield position could be an option for Martínez, but Clark’s ability to step into passes and distribute accurately makes him coming off less likely in my view.
Alex has had a breakout year in part because of his role in this team’s offense. Alex really has a lot of freedom to play where he wants on the field – to push up with the forwards or be a deeper lying playmaker. He doesn’t defend as well as he has in the past, but he doesn’t need to with Cabezas and Clark around him. Inserting Martínez in for Alex makes the most sense because it appears, on the surface, to be more like for like. Martínez will benefit from having more freedom and fewer constraints which will help him build chemistry with his new teammates faster.
There is just speculation and Martínez hasn’t even officially signed yet (which all signs point to him being on the Dynamo in a few days). Cabrera could alter the formation of this team, we could get other players, and Martínez could end up playing in a forward/winger role – something I wouldn’t be too fond of, all of which could impact where Martínez ends up playing on the field. I just think at the moment Alex’s role may be best.
What are your thoughts on the Tomás Martínez? Where should he end up in the formation? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll have more on this story as it develops.