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Fitness an issue as Dynamo's Camargo tries to make mark

Houston's Luiz Camargo.

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo’s signing of little-known Luiz Camargo last month didn't grab much of the transfer-window spotlight, something reserved for the likes of Carlo Costly or Robbie Keane. Still, the Brazilian could turn out to be a big get for Houston’s stretch run.

With Camargo getting his first taste of action in two games last week – a reserve loss to Colorado last Thursday and a win over Monterrey on Sunday – the move has club officials feeling good. Camargo went a combined 172 minutes in both games and showed his ability to create as part of the squad.

“I felt physically good and I thought I did good,” Camargo said through a translator. “They treat me super good here and they’re helping me and keeping me aware of what to do on the field.”

The Monterrey win was the first time Houston fans got a look at the central midfielder and the reviews were more than positive. After starting slow in the first 10 minutes, Camargo started finding lanes and space to operate between the forwards and midfield partner Adam Moffat.

Camargo set his teammates loose with a number of through balls and probing passes. While his passing bordered on the sublime at times, he also showed the ability to create in combinations. One of those combinations was a well-crafted end run off a give-and-go with Brad Davis that led to a penalty kick for Houston’s second goal.

“He’s really creative and likes put those through balls through the middle,” said Geoff Cameron. “Creatively he’s good and brings a different kind of style to our team.”

While the play on the field has hopes high that Camargo can provide another creative spark in midfield, there is still work to do. Specifically, fitness work.

Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear has already talked about Camago’s need to get in game shape. The midfielder played his last game for Paraná Clube in mid-July and last week’s action showed that while Camargo is working his way toward full fitness, he is not there yet.

“I think he needs to be more active because he’s good on the ball,” Kinnear said. “I don’t think people realize how hard it can be to [get fit] here. It’s not a problem when the ball’s at his feet because he’s so good on the ball.”

With Camargo showing his skill, it is safe to assume that he has worked his way into the midfield mix. Houston are slated to play three important games in eight days starting with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday (4 pm ET, TeleFutura), and their depth will be tested. It could give the 24-year-old newcomer his first chance to shine under the MLS lights.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.