HOUSTON - Before his first official practice with the Houston Dynamo on Monday, Tomas Martinez made it clear what kind of player his new team had just acquired, even as he declared he doesn't like labeling himself.
“I really don’t like talking about my playing style or my playing traits,” Martinez told reporters, responding to a request to describe himself as a player. “But, yes, I’m a creative player who can bring creativity in the final third.”
How long it takes for that approach to influence the Dynamo's on-field product is unclear.
The 22-year-old acquisition refused to put a timetable on when he’ll make an impact in games, noting that he’s here to contribute any way he can and take it day by day as he learns from head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his teammates.
Cabrera and Dynamo GM and vice president Matt Jordan also preached a patient approach as Martinez adjusts to MLS. That time could also give Martinez a chance to get match fit. His last competitive match was in May playing in Portugal with Sporting Braga’s reserves.
Cabrera and Jordan have, however, told Martinez how they hope he will help the Orange
“They told me that I could help keep possession of the ball when we are the visitors,” Martinez said. “And that they needed a creative player. They have a lot of confidence in me and I hope I can return that confidence they have in me.”
Keeping possession is something the Dynamo haven’t done much of this season, instead opting for a counterattacking style of play that's helped them score 37 goals this season. Only three other MLS teams have scored more.
Martinez arrival could boost that number especially since the Argentine doesn’t believe his style of play clashes with the Dynamo’s.
“I have seen in the games and the team does both. They team doesn’t only do counters, they play with the ball a lot,” Martinez said on his possession style of play. “I really like how the team plays. And I think that if they called me it’s because we can make it work.”
Martinez joins a Dynamo side not lacking in attacking talent. But adding a player of his quality could elevate Houston to elite status. The former Argentine youth national team player said he likes how direct the team plays and singled out a couple of his teammates.
“For example, Alex, he’s a very good player and offensive midfielder. They have very good strikers as well, Mauro Manotas is a great striker. There is Erick Torres and other very good players,” Martinez said. “I also think the midfield is very compact as well with the two defensive midfielders that are very good. And they have a solid defense. I have seen the team a lot and it is very well built.”
Aside from the team, Martinez was impressed with the phone conversations he had with Cabrera. But Martinez’s wife also gets an assist in the process.
“I spoke with my agent, my family and my wife. More than anyone she wanted to come here,” Martinez said. “But also the coach wanted me here and that’s a great support for a player to have.”