HOUSTON – As preparations for the World Cup ramp up, the talk goes to who will and will not be in Brazil representing their country. For Alexander López, time is of the essence when it comes to his World Cup dream.
The Houston Dynamo midfielder has rarely seen the field since joining the MLS outfit last August. He has spent his time catching up to the Dynamo two-way style and getting himself in the type of shape needed to earn minutes with the club.
As Brazil 2014 is just over two months away, there is question of whether the 21-year-old is still in Honduras’ mix. While not playing for one's club is not the best way to get on the national team scene, López believes there is still plenty of time to turn things around.
“It’s a golden opportunity and it’s still there ripe for the picking,” López told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday through a translator. “I think I have as good chance as anyone but it all depends on the continuity I have inside the team.”
Getting that continuity will require him to get on the field with the Dynamo. And while he has worked his way into the roster, the minutes on the pitch have been hard to come by.
“It doesn’t preoccupy me, it doesn’t worry me,” López said. “If anything it helps create healthy competition within the group and that’s always a good thing. I just have to keep working hard and be consistent with what I do and once I do all those things I’ll be ready to go when the time comes.”
Though López has been adjusting to Houston's style of play, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear makes it clear that for López to get on the field, he must not shirk his defensive responsibilities.
“The one thing we’re trying to tell him is there’s two sides to the game, there’s the attacking side and the defensive side,” Kinnear said. "He has to be responsible on both of those."
López believes he is making strides in that objective thanks to some work before the season..
In the preseason, he dedicated himself to two-a-days and tried to capitalize on a full training camp to work with his teammates. And while he is looking better in orange, he is caught in a logjam of talented midfielders.
López knew of the competition after coming to Houston from Honduran club Olimpia after back-to-back strong showings in international competition. He first drew a crowd with his play at the 2012 London Olympics where he was part of a Honduras squad that surprised many with their skill and level of play.
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After a transfer window rife with rumors, López again acquitted himself again with a solid run at the 2013 Gold Cup.
With options in Europe, López chose to join the Dynamo and former Olimpia teammate Boniek García. Signed as a young Designated Player, López had an air of excitement around his arrival, but it has not yet materialized.
But with both the Dynamo and World Cup aspirations, he believes his time is far from up.
“I just need to continue to do things right and continue to be patient and the opportunity will come,” López said. “Hopefully when the opportunity comes, the national team coach will have a chance to take a look at me and call me up.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.