As we roll into preseason we are taking a look at some of the current players on the Houston Dynamo roster in our player preview series. If they were on the roster last season, we’ll take a look at how they performed and we’ll explore what we might expect from them in the New Year. Take a look at our previous entries on Zarek Valentin and Teenage Hadebe. In this installment we’ll be taking a look at:
Position: Forward, usually left or right winger
2021 MLS stats – 19 appearances, 9 starts, 4 goals, 3 assists
Tyler Pasher burst onto the Dynamo scene early into the 2021 campaign helping Houston with an early win over the San Jose Earthquakes by providing an assist in the 2-1 win. Pasher’s hot start by providing goals, winning penalties, and providing assists from the wing made him an early fan favorite which was boosted by his underdog story coming from the USL league.
Pasher’s direct style of play taking defenders on from the wing, cutting inside rather than settling for a cross, and ability to produce made him an easy starter over some of his competition in Ariel Lassiter, Mateo Bajamich, Griffin Dorsey, and occasionally Darwin Quintero as Pasher often lined up opposite Fafà Picault with Maxi Urruti as the center forward in a 4-3-3 formation. While Pasher’s early contributions dominated the first half of the year, his injuries and inability to stay on the field became the larger story of 2021.
Despite tremendous promise, upside, and production, Pasher struggled with a string of injuries that curtailed his year. The emergence of Griffin Dorsey as a reliable option also made it difficult for Pasher to earn minutes.
Tab Ramos obviously wasn’t a great fit for the Dynamo, but his ability to find talent like Pasher and develop others like Griffin Dorsey and Sam Junqua definitely were some positives of the Ramos era in Houston.
With newly minted General Manager Pat Onstad and new Head Coach Paulo Nagamura making lots of moves this offseason, it’s difficult to predict how some players like Tyler Pasher will feature. We’ll obviously get a closer look as preseason matches commence, but this is just my personal predictions about Pasher at the moment. Plenty can change and Onstad and Nagamura have both mentioned they’d like to get 1-2 “impactful signings”.
As Dynamo Theory’s managing editor noted in his piece about Zarek Valentin, it is likely Nagamura will deploy a 4-3-3 formation which will give Pasher an opportunity to compete for minutes in his preferred position on the wing. With the signing of Sebastián Ferreira as a designated player and center forward, the primary competition for Pasher will be Picault, Memo Rodríguez, Darwin Quintero, and Griffin Dorsey.
There are some others such as Adalberto Carrasquilla, Nico Lemoine, Marcelo Palomino, and the rookie Thorleifur Úlfarsson, but I think the previous list of players is more likely given their positions and Pasher’s strengths as an all out winger.
Pasher will absolutely have the opportunity to break into the squad as a starting caliber player. His high production last season with a relatively low number of minutes proves he can directly contribute. He’ll have to earn it over the others, but for someone that’s fought hard his career to get where he is, this won’t be new for him. His biggest obstacle will be his injuries, but if he can stay healthy and produce near his clip last season he’ll be a no-brainer to start bar any designated player level signing in his position.
Even if Nagamura opts for someone else to start, Pasher can expect time off the bench in a direct attacking “super sub” role. If the Dynamo do sign an impactful winger, that player will need to be effective because I expect Pasher to be pushing them from the training ground and as someone that can produce coming off the bench.