HOUSTON – When Servando Carrasco woke up the morning of Friday the 13th as a member of the Seattle Sounders, his thoughts were on a looming battle for Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield positioning against Real Salt Lake.
By that evening, the midfielder was watching his now-former team play RSL on TV while packing for a new adventure in Houston.
Carrasco was told that morning of a trade, consummated late the night before, that sent him to Houston in exchange for Adam Moffat. Carrasco would be leaving the cloudy weather of the Pacific Northwest for the sunny, steamy climate of Houston, where he joined the Dynamo to help the club push for a playoff spot that seemed assured at his former club.
“It was strange. I was at my house packing up and watching my old team play,” Carrasco said. “It was mixed emotions, but now I’m focusing on what’s in front of me. I had some time to think about it and we’re in a very exciting time right now, pushing for a playoff spot and I couldn’t ask for much more than that. It’s a team with great tradition, and I’m here to add to that.”
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Leaving Seattle was tough for Carrasco, but he had little time to dwell on it.
The midfielder was on a plane less than 24 hours after he was informed of the trade and headed not for Houston to settle in, but to Philadelphia, where the Dynamo would do battle with a Union team sitting two points above them in the playoff race.
That night was baptism by fire, as Carrasco made a substitute appearance for the Dynamo in a 1-0 victory, making a good first impression on his new team.
“We said to him, ‘Look a red-eye [flight] may knock you out [of the game],'” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "But he wanted to join the team right away and showed great enthusiasm."
Kinnear spoke highly of Carrasco’s work Saturday and of what he saw from the 25-year-old during Thursday’s training as they prepare to play host to Chivas USA on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium (8:30 pm ET; MLS Live).
“I think he looks at coming here as another chance to play, and he’s going to get those chances if he keeps playing the way he’s been doing,” Kinnear said.
With a successful debut behind him, Carrasco is now settling into his new home. His adjustment has been made smoother by a familiar face, fellow former University of California player Calen Carr.
“I know we miss Adam off and on the field, but at the same time guys are really excited about what Servando can bring to the table,” Carr said of his fellow Cal alum. “He covers a lot of ground and is not afraid to tackle. That’s sort of what we’ve established here with our team identity.”
Carrasco plans to add a new dimension to a club battling for the playoffs.
“These guys have been fighting all year to make a playoff spot. I knew I had to make that adjustment quickly,” Carrasco said. “I know it’s very high press, very defensive and I love that. That’s trademark soccer for Houston.
“It’s tough because I had great two-and-a-half years [in Seattle] and made some great friends. Now I’m focusing on what’s here and trying to make an impact as quick as possible.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.