Homegrown Houston native Memo Rodriguez struck in the 90th minute for his first goal of the 2018 campaign sending the Houston Dynamo to a heart stopping 3-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night. The 22 year old’s first game winner came four month’s shy of the seven year anniversary of another Dynamo Homegrown Player’s game winner. That player was Humble’s own Alex Dixon scoring in the 93rd minute at old Robertson Stadium.
Signed December 4, 2014, Rodriguez has seen limited playing time this season as he has worked his way back from injury. Saturday night was another step towards his dream of being a consistent first team player.
“Signing a contract with the Dynamo is like a dream come true,” Rodriguez said on signing day. “I would like to thank the club for this opportunity and James Clarkson for overseeing my development. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to improve as a player and getting myself ready to help the club.”
Since arriving on the scene, he has let his actions on the field speak to his professionalism and growth as a player. Signs of things to come arrived early as he assisted on current San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson’s goal in the 2015 Chipotle HomeGrown Players game.
After being loaned to USL’s Charleston Battery in 2015, he returned to the Dynamo fold in 2016 being signed to play for then current RGV FC Toros head coach and now Houston head coach Wilmer Cabrera.
“Memo is a player who I’ve been able to share time for the past two years and a half with him. He came to RGV (FC) when I was the coach there. He was a little bit shy and kind of came in a situation where he wasn’t playing at the beginning. He was quiet, working hard,” was Cabrera’s description of Rodriguez.
By the end of the season, the young midfielder had shown his importance on the field finishing second on the team in in scoring (6) and leading in assists with seven.
He became the most important player throughout that season with us, and that’s why we brought him over here (to Houston) because he earned that by himself,” continued Cabrera.
Last season Houston’s up and comer showed flashes of what he was becoming scoring two goals and adding an assists in just 326 minutes on the pitch.
Returning from injury has slowed Rodriguez’ opportunities this season but on Saturday night with the game tied at 2-2, the coach came calling.
“He said to come in and match the intensity,” said Rodriguez recalling the moment he entered the match. “It’s hard to come off the bench in an intense match like that. However, you always have to be ready to come off the bench. Thankfully, I was ready when I was called on. He said go in be intense and help defend.”
Entering in the 84th minute, Memo was ready to heed his coach’s call yet not many of the sellout crowd were ready for what Rodriguez was about to provide. A set of fresh legs brought an instant burst of energy to a squad that had just surrendered it’s lead a minute after he entered. Helping to push the pace in the attacking third, he came charging towards the goal as the ball bounced off the crossbar and with a perfectly timed leap Rodriguez headed home the first game winning goal of his career.
“It’s amazing. My family and friends are here,” said Rodriguez in reliving the moment. “It feels like my first goal but probably even better. The team fought to the end. We knew coming in that LA Galaxy was going to be an intense team. We matched that, and thankfully we got the three points.”
Houston and Memo Rodriguez return to action on the road in the BC Place against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday night May 11th. Kick-off is set for 9:30pm CDT and can be seen on KUBE TV Channel 57.