Position – Midfielder
2021 MLS Stats – 20 appearances, 14 starts, 1 assist
Jones arrived in Houston during the 2021 offseason via a trade with Nashville SC. Then Head Coach Tab Ramos was familiar with Derrick from his youth national team days. Early into the season Jones showed a lot of promise. He was able to command the middle of the field with his physical presence. Derrick Jones is a man among boys on the pitch. He towers over pretty much anyone that isn’t a goalkeeper. Yet, even with his stature, he is not clumsy with the ball at his feet. Jones’s dribbling is very impressive and he completed a very high percentage of his dribbles attempted. Additionally his numbers defensively were very good per fbref.com. His tackles won, shots blocks, and clearances hold some of his highest grades. His only assist to a goal was probably as smooth as any skilled player with the ball at his feet.
Jones’s assist to Maxi Urruti in the Dynamo 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City
Derrick, like other players in the squad last season, disappeared after the middle half of the year. While it’s not immediately clear if it was from a combination of injuries, form, or simply falling out of favor with Tab Ramos, Jones largely stayed on the bench for the remainder of the season.
The fans continue to ask for a defensive midfielder of high caliber like Diego Chara with the Portland Timbers or Darlington Nagbe at the Columbus Crew. The Houston Dynamo do lack a disruptive midfielder and Paulo may have his guy with Derrick Jones. If the formation that Nagamura decides to go with is in fact a 4-3-3, Derrick could become the pivot that helps the center backs during transition in play. Expecting that the team will push to attack with five players at times, Jones would be best suited to create a strong hold by slotting in between Teenage Hadebe and Tim Parker.
There is excitement in the unknown, filled with potential. The team is currently in that space but imagine if Paulo tries Pep’s Tiki-Taka and Jones can play the role that Sergio Busquets enjoyed during that Barcelona phase.
How do you feel about Derrick Jones heading in to the 2022 season? Let us know in the comments.