HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo added another Daniel Cruz into their ranks Thursday morning.
Colombian-born midfielder Cruz — no relation to third-year Houston midfielder Danny Cruz — began a one-week trial with the Dynamo to see if he has the type of skills that can enhance their inconsistent attack.
Characterized as a playmaking midfielder, Cruz was brought to the attention of Dynamo assistant coach Wade Barrett by a friend. After reviewing Cruz’s résumé, the Dynamo went to work to arrange a chance to get to know him personally.
“We’ve been in contact with him for a little while now trying to work it out to have him come in,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Lucky for us, he’s found the time to come in and hopefully he shows well and continues to impress.”
Cruz has spent much of his career with Belgian side Germinal Beerschot, logging 159 appearances with the club since 2003. He began his career with Dutch giants Ajax in 2000 and scored two goals in 11 games in three seasons with the team.
The 30-year-old was on the field Thursday morning ahead of Houston’s home match this Satuday against Toronto FC. With the Dynamo concentrating on match preparations, Cruz participated in passing and shooting drills with the first team and a short-field game with the reserves.
Without the opportunity to scrimmage, Cruz will get his chance to show what he can do in a game setting on Sunday when the Dynamo reserves play the Monterrey U-20s.
“We’ll find out more about him on Sunday,” Kinnear said. “We tried to get him here earlier in the week so we could see him in a more competitive setting like we did with Miler [Castillo] but hopefully, if he impresses, then we’ll ask him to stay.”
While the Dynamo are keen to get a closer look at Cruz on the field, the midfielder is doing some scouting of his own off it.
Cruz is using the trip to get a closer look at the whole package: club, league and city to see if Houston would be a good fit. He admitted to having been intrigued by the league after watching several games over the past few months.
Hearing good things about the city and organization from past Ajax teammate and former Dynamo midfielder Anthony Obodai, Cruz took Houston up on their offer to come and trail with the club and explore a potential new home for him and his family.
“I had some offers in Europe but my wife wants me to come to play soccer closer to home,” Cruz said. “Now that we have a son, that makes sense. My wife lived in America before and she loves it here. Everything isn’t about money. It’s about the quality of life, and I can give my family a good life here.”
Cruz and the Dynamo have a week to see if they’re a match. While it may seem like a short timeframe, both the midfielder and Dynamo staff believe it is ample time for him to show if he can help the club.
“He has a good résumé and a willingness to come here,” added Kinnear. “If he does well enough for us to continue the talks, then that will fall into place.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.