HOUSTON – After trading for Mac Kandji on Wednesday, the Houston Dynamo made it clear that they are not done looking for options to bolster the forward position.
One player that has spent the past two-and-a half weeks attempting to show the Dynamo that he is part of the solution is Darryl Roberts. The Trinidad and Tobago international and 2007 Toronto FC Supplemental Draft pick has been in Houston since the start of preseason camp and is currently with the team in Los Angeles for four scrimmages against MLS competition.
His goal while out west is to show what he can do against the kind of competition he hopes to go up against come March.
“There’s some pressure when you’re on trial to perform quickly, but you try and keep your nerves and show them as much as you can when you get the opportunity,” Roberts told MLSsoccer.com before leaving for LA on Tuesday. “It’s an important week for me to show, not only the coach but my teammates as well, that I can match against these guys.”
For Roberts, showing that he belongs will involve one thing: scoring goals. Houston have searched much of the offseason for a proven scorer, which is something the 28-year-old has shown a knack for in his past two stops.
Roberts has spent the last five years in Europe, stopping for a year-and-a-half in the Netherlands with Sparta Rotterdam and the last three in Turkey with first-division club Denizlispor. In 114 appearances combined, the 6-foot-1 striker tallied 41 times.
Now out of contract, Roberts is hoping that his next adventure comes in MLS with the Dynamo. Roberts, who started his professional career with the Carolina Dynamo of the PDL in 2006, speaks highly of the family atmosphere at the club and is happy that his brief return to the United States has alleviated some of the obstacles he faced in Europe.
“The first thing is the cultural difference and the language,” Roberts said about being in MLS. “When I went in on the first day in Holland and in Turkey, there were different languages being spoken. Here, the guys are as a unit and it helps with everyone speaking English; it’s certainly a plus for me.”
Roberts started and logged 61 minutes in Houston’s first match in LA on Wednesday, a 2-0 victory against the Montreal Impact. With three matches left, he is looking to show the coaches that he can answer the bell against quality competition and hopes to extend his stay in Houston.
“I think all along we wanted to see him play against MLS teams,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said on Tuesday. “That’s what you’re going to face weekly. Now you get to see how well they do when the defenders are better and possession is tougher to maintain. For someone like [Daryl], this week is very important.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.