In the 2022 player preview series, we are going to look at the current players on the Houston 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 leading up to the start of the season.
Position - Midfielder
2021 MLS Stats - 20 appearances, 9 starts, 3 goals, 2 assists, 4.0 xG, 3.4 xA
Under Tab Ramos everything was weird, and when it came to the Tab/Darwin relationship I must say, it was a little awkward. We all knew that Darwin was probably the most talented player on the roster, yet we only started to see him get more minutes in the second half of the season after a bombardment of questions from fans and media of why we weren’t seeing the Colombian with regularity. It was no coincidence that the Dynamo broke their long winless streak when we started seeing him more than 45 minutes per game. This is not to say that he was the only factor, but it sure does help to have your most dangerous attacker on the pitch.
When we look a little into his numbers we see that Quintero’s Expected Goals and Expected Goals Assists could have led him to be an important member of the squad if he had been given more minutes. Darwin’s offensive ability could no doubt have been a difference in the long run for this team but we will never know. Let’s move on to what we should expect (I expect) from Darwin in this 2022 season.
2022 is a clean slate for everyone and that includes Darwin. Like mentioned above, the past two years have been a rollercoaster for the Cali, Colombia native, but a new opportunity in the form of Paulo Nagamura has to be the thing a player like him needed. A fresh start and a chance to show what “The Scientist of Goals” used to do on the pitch. We have been lucky, and I would say privileged too, to catch glimpses of his magnificent skill in the past years with the Dynamo.
Paulo has mentioned that a “10” is not really a necessity in this Dynamo team to create offensive chances. This comment by Paulo in some way takes the pressure off Quintero’s back to carry the offense, but it should also be a slight pressure that should be put on him. Darwin has played for great teams in his career, with great pressure on his back to deliver, and this is another great chance to give Darwin a healthy weight to carry in that last third of the field.
A good amount of fans, including myself, want to see Darwin feel the pressure because we know he can respond and we have seen it and it has won him championships before.
Many people have spoke about Quintero not being defensive enough at times, and then he “improved” a little in that area. It has been said that he wasn’t physically fit entering the 2021 season, and then we saw him all off season coming into 2022 being proactive and getting in shape to be ready for this season. The talent is there, the preparation is there, now we need him to elevate his game and become the backbone of this offense.
Goals. Quintero’s only goal should be to create more goals. Whether scoring them himself or setting them up for others, the Dynamo need offense. If everything goes as we think it is going to go on opening day, Darwin will be roaming the middle of the field with many options to count on from the left with Fafa Picault (and Adam Lundqvist/Sam Junqua), in front of him with Sebastian Ferreira, Corey Baird/Tyler Pasher (and Griffin Dorsey/Zarek Valentin/Zeca) on his right and most likely Adalberto Carasquilla next to him to give him company in the attack while Matias Vera watches their back. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
All in all, Dynamo fans want prime Cientifico. We know that those days are probably long gone but if Darwin is going to be in the starting XI with a new era set to begin, we need to see the glimpses of talent we have seen more often. Hopefully with more playing time, those magical moments with be multiplied.
Like I always say, having better players around you will elevate your game and let’s hope general manager Pat Onstad and his team are doing their homework by building a great team around Quintero with new signings.
What are your expectations for the Scientist? Let us know in the comments.