The Houston Dynamo announced the additions of forwards Christain Ramirez and Niko Hansen. The two come from LAFC and Columbus Crew SC in exchange for money. Why did Houston trade for them and what will they bring to the table that the Dynamo do not already have.
Why Ramirez and Hansen?
The Houston Dynamo decided with their lack of finishing at the net that they needed both more firepower and depth. They are two more bodies to add to a rotation that doesn’t really need two more bodies, or does it? Houston had 5 forwards previously listed on its active roster. Now they have seven on their 28 man side.
Maybe, and not having said it directly, maybe, the Dynamo brass think Ramirez will be a better fit than Mauro Manotas up top or maybe Ramirez is another reclamation project for head coach Wilmer Cabrera. As for Hansen, no clue to as to what they expect because he is for all intents and purposes no better at finishing than what they have?
What Ramirez brings to the table
The 28 year old California native brings the possibility of plenty. He is a proven goal scorer although that has depleted over the past two plus seasons. In his time in the NASL prior to his immediate MLS play, Ramirez scored 51 goals in 90 games and claimed two scoring titles. His first season in the MLS, he knocked home 14 goals in 30 games. Since that sizzling MLS debut, he has found the back of the net 13 times in his last 33 games. Can Cabrera support Ramirez to help him thrive and help Houston to the playoffs?
What Hansen brings to the table
Hansen is an enigma. Is he a forward as Houston claims or is he a midfielder as his former team Columbus Crew SC claims? His stat line is more that of a midfielder. He has never been much of a goal scorer so don’t look for any real help there from the 24 year old. After all, he has only 4 goals in 45 games a span of more then 1600 minutes of play and Cabrera described him as a dynamic forward.
“Niko is a player who we have been following because we really like the way he plays and what he could bring to the team. He is a very dynamic forward who likes to play and take players on,” said Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera. “He is good playing out wide, he has speed, he is brave, and looks to create problems against any defense.”
Alberth Elis is a dynamic forward, plays wide, and creates problems but has had difficulty finishing consistently. Elis has only netted seven goals on 52 shots on target this season. Hansen has done even less.
The final whistle
The big question is how much time on the pitch will Ramirez see in the next 11 games? Fans can probably expect to see him more as a late game replacement, however, it may be nice to see him paired with Mauro Manotas up top for 60 minutes or so.
The move also gives rise to the question of why Houston has not given more time to Michael Salazar or Ronaldo Pena. After all, Salazar had 15 goals in 34 games before suffering a near season ending injury in 2018. So far in 2019, he has had only made it into seven games and recorded just one shot on goal. In Pena’s defense, he has shown well at least from a fan’s perspective in 2019 and deserves a chance to show his wares more frequently.
A final thought is that Houston is simply riding out the season fully expecting they might lose Elis or Quioto in the off season and hoping one of these two show enough to make the moves more palatable.