Launching into the new season, Houston Dynamo FC created a new position on the pitch for midfielder Boniek Garcia. He is now the defender-midfielder.
Beginning the new MLS season, Houston Dynamo FC published a starting lineup card that looked perfectly exotic, like a 3-4-3 formation.
The strange look, at least for them, got straightened out in record books after the game. This formation now appears as a 4-3-3 defensive scheme after both the home opener win against San Jose Earthquakes and the recent 2-1 loss to Portland Timbers.
The reason for the initially confused read is that Boniek Garcia, a central midfielder throughout his career, now starts as one of the four defenders.
So in Houston, something new has been added.
The most startling part of this development is that, as scouting records work in the sports algorithms, Garcia has performed his unusual game assignment consistently well. He’s not yet performing on the level of a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But he’s not going to be hung with any losses.
And the season is still very young.
His consistency in any game assignment shouldn’t surprise anyone.
When Garcia made his 16th consecutive appearance for the club in 2020 – that was the most for any player on the active roster. He set that franchise record on March 7 with a start against Kansas City, playing for 90 minutes.
He reached his Dynamo career-high of 32 games played in 2019, dropping to 18 games last season. But Garcia is too valuable a player to let him fade from the action. So head coach Tab Ramos found has him a new job.
Houston has only two games on the books this MLS season. There’s not enough statistical sampling to see if everything’s working at its best.
But they shouldn’t stop now. Garcia has already established a good performance foundation in his new role.
Garcia stands fourth all-time in Honduras international appearances with 125 caps. He was on that national squad in 2018 when they faced Australia in the Inter-Continental Playoff for a spot in the FIFA World Cup.
After his strong, successful play with C.D. Olimpia, he transferred to the Dynamo in 2017. He’s scored goals, assists, and mostly confounded opponents with his midfield disruptions of their attacks.
Even in their loss of the second game of the season, Garcia did all he could to keep the Dynamo in the hunt for a point with two aerials won and better-than-average possession and passing.
He likes to dribble and tackle. But where Boniek Garcia really excels shows in the blank part of his scouting report: Weaknesses. There’s no entry there. Meaning there are none.
His consistency and leadership as team captain will put Houston Dynamo FC back in the post-season hunt this year.
Comment to: @chuckx777