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Meet the New Guys: Darwin Quintero

MLS: Orlando City SC at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Previous club: Minnesota United (MLS)

How Acquired: via trade, for Marlon Hairston and $600,000 in allocation money

Position: Forward

The Dynamo made their first real move of the off-season back in November when they traded for Colombian attacker Darwin Quintero. In trading for Quintero, the Dynamo gave up a total of $600,000 in allocation money split up over two years. Minnesota will get $150,000 in General Allocation Money and another $150,000 Targeted Allocation Money in 2020 and again in 2021 from Houston. The Dynamo also sent midfielder Marlon Hairston to Minnesota while the Dynamo got a third-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft as part of the deal.

Quintero, nicknamed El Cientifico del Gol, joined MLS from Club America in LigaMX prior to the 2018 season. He became Minnesota’s first ever designated player and spent two seasons with the club. In 64 appearances across all competitions, Quintero scored 27 goals and added 20 assists in a little over 5,000 minutes.

What Does He Bring to the Dynamo?

Where Quintero will play is the big question that needs to be answered before we can gauge how big his impact will be on the Dynamo. In his career, the Colombian has played as a wing, striker, and a second striker, playing directly behind another forward. With Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis looking more likely to stay in Houston, at least for the start of the season, Quintero’s likely spot in the lineup looks to be on the wing. Asked where he on the field that he feels he shines the most, Quintero said at his introductory press conference, “I really like playing behind the number nine, generating spaces to make good combinations and to help the wingers. That’s where I feel the strongest and free to create spaces for myself and my teammates in front of me.” If Quintero plays behind Manotas, it could mean Tomas Martinez goes to the bench. We will have to wait and see how things line up this season.

Quintero was very successful playing on the left wing in his time at Santos Laguna (2009-2014). The one concern is Quintero’s defense could be an issue. With Quintero and Elis pushing high on the wings, the Dynamo midfield and defense could be left exposed too often. If Quintero does play as a second striker, his defensive responsibilities would be less, and could put less of a burden on the other players. The Dynamo don’t have the luxury to put players of Quintero’s caliber on the bench, like Minnesota did in the late stages of 2019. New head coach Tab Ramos is going to have to find a way to get Quintero in the lineup. So, how does Ramos see Quintero fitting in to the team? The new coach answered that question at the press conference.

“I think some of the video speaks for itself,” Ramos said. “Darwin has been an exciting player, not just in the MLS but in his days back when he played with Santos and Club America. We know he’s a proven player in terms of making plays in the attacking third of the field. It’s very difficult to find players with those qualities, although sometimes it’s easier to find players who organizationally can play in certain positions and keep possession of the ball. It’s always difficult to find players that make plays. By making plays, I mean scoring goals, making assists, making passes and generating chances for the team. I strongly believe that Darwin is one of the best of that. We’re very lucky to have him here.”

Perhaps, the best news for Dynamo fans about Quintero signing is that he is very happy and excited to be in Houston. He turned down the chance to return to Mexico because he wanted to play for the Dynamo. “I lived nearly ten years of my life in Mexico,” Quintero said at his press conference. “Then, even though I did good things in Minnesota, I want to give more. As I told the coach, I didn’t accomplish what I wanted, but I want to demonstrate, more than to the people (but) to myself, that I can give a lot to this league. Honestly, there were plenty of options on the table, but as I told Minnesota, my priority was to go to Houston.”

Throughout the years, many Dynamo fans have longed for players who “play for the badge”, guys who want to be Houston Dynamo players and take great pride in it. There’s a sentiment among some fans that “if the team isn’t going to spend a lot of money on players, at least find guys who are passionate about playing in Houston.” Quintero seems to check that box. “I’m very happy to be here. The opportunity that is given to me has to be reflected on the field. That’s the only place where I can speak and return the trust they put for me to be here.” Asked to give a message to the fans, Quintero added, “what you can expect from me is my hard work dedicated to you. This is a team’s job, and the team will do what it has to to bring you happiness. I’m hopeful we can make great things happen together.”

Are you excited about the addition of Darwin Quintero to the Houston Dynamo? How do you think he will do in the 2020 season? How many goals and assists do you predict for Quintero?