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2022 Houston Dynamo Player Previews - Teenage Hadebe

The Dynamo’s Designated Player center back will look to have a big year in 2022 to anchor the Houston back line.

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In the player preview series, we are going to take a look at the current players on the Dynamo roster, how they performed last season, and what we might expect from them in 2022. Here is the next in our series and stay tuned for more to come in the weeks leading up to the start of the season.

Teenage Hadebe

Position – Center back

2021 MLS Stats – 17 appearances, 17 starts, 1 assist

2021 Rewind

Hadebe arrived mid-season to Houston from the Turkish Super Lig as a defensive reinforcement. New majority owner Ted Segal announced the signing of Hadebe and Tim Parker’s contract extension the same day, bringing together the pair that would become the starting center backs for the majority of the remainder of the season. Teenage’s first game as a Dynamo player came in an away match versus the Vancouver Whitecaps, a goalless draw.

Even though the Dynamo had one of the most expensive center back pairings in Major League Soccer, the team finished in last place in the Western Conference. Before Hadebe arrived the Dynamo had a record of 3 wins, 4 losses, and 6 draws) After his arrival they put together a record of 3 wins, 12 losses, and 6 draws. Teenage was injured and didn’t play in the last four matches of the season which all ended in losses. Of course, the club’s bad results do not solely land on Hadebe but he was a large investment to improve the team. While Hadebe’s arrival did not improve the goals allowed by the team, the Dynamo’s expected goals allowed (xGA) improved from 25th in MLS to 10th.

Alright, time to focus on Teenage’s performance. Visually, Hadebe brought personality to the defensive group. His fearless defending, quickness to get to the ball first, and physical presence quickly gained the admiration of Dynamo fans. Hadebe’s passing percentage was very good, completing over 79% of his passes in the 17 matches he played with 90% accuracy in short passes. These traits helped settle the backline when needed. Interceptions and clearances were Hadebe’s biggest attributes to the team which, per, his stats are comparable to players like Jakob Glesnes (Philadelphia Union) and Larrys Mabiala (Portland Timbers).

2022 Expectations

Even with the arrival of Daniel Steres, it seems that adding more defensive pieces to the roster is the club’s biggest concern. With that being said, Teenage will most likely see plenty of action in 2022, barring injury of course. There will be high expectations for Hadebe from the new regime in the coming season. The formation is currently unknown but fans should know soon enough how new head coach Paulo Nagamura will line up in preseason. Hadebe can play in a back line of 4 or 5, playing in the left center back position. No matter the overall formation, Teenage’s poise with the ball will bring much value to the team. His progressive passes and carries stats were very impressive last season. While not ideal for a center back, he even found himself playing with the ball at his feet in the final third of the field at time. His aerial presence was another important part of Teenage’s game.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The coaching change should improve the tactics, but again the new approach is unknown. One thing is for certain, Nagamura has mentioned that he expects a proactive team on the field who will get after it and that he is a big fan of Pep Guardiola. If a 4-3-3 formation based on Pep’s Tiki-Taka is the tactical approach in 2022, Teenage will have to deliver his full potential. Hopefully one of the defensive midfielders can also help relief some of the pressure and help the club gain more clean sheets. If the mentality is to make it to playoffs in 2022, Hadebe will have to looked on solidify the defense and become a fortress in the back.

How do you feel about Teenage Hadebe heading in to the 2022 season? Let us know in the comments.