Héctor Herrera GOLAZO has Houston Dynamo looking like "old days"


Left foot, right foot – it rarely matters to Houston Dynamo FC midfielder Héctor Herrera.

That much was clear during the 2023 season when the Mexican star earned MLS Best XI honors. And it was against Saturday night when he opened his 2024 account with a top-shelf golazo at Children's Mercy Park.

Herrera's 31st-minute strike jumpstarted Houston's 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City, setting the stage for Aliyu Ibrahim's late finish to snap a three-game winless skid.

"The goal is gravy for him," head coach Ben Olsen said post-match. "We didn't sign him to score that type of goal. He's there for rhythm and leadership. Then he can certainly be a provider as well. It was just a really classy goal."

That rhythm, as Olsen called it, is developing with each passing week. Matchday 13 marked Herrera's fourth league appearance of the campaign after a preseason injury kept him sidelined through mid-April.

Herrera went 70 minutes against Sporting KC, continuing to rekindle relationships that were the heartbeat of Houston reaching the 2023 Western Conference Final and winning the US Open Cup.

"Each game has gotten a little bit better, which is very normal for a player of his caliber," Olsen said. "He's not going to forget how to play the game and understand – he's just at such a high level. What I saw today, which was nice, was his relationships started to build.

"Him and Artur, their connections, him and Amine\] [Bassi, him and Coco [Carrasquilla] and that central midfield, it looked like the old days frankly. It was really nice to see. Hopefully we can continue that, keep pushing his minutes in a smart way and keep plugging away."

Just how important was Saturday's win for Houston? Olsen explained in great detail, alluding to their midweek exit from the USOC to USL Championship side Detroit City FC – falling in penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw.

Even more, it builds momentum before Wednesday's trip to Austin FC as part of Rivalry Week presented by Continental Tire (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

"It was a long week and we challenged each other, staff challenged ourselves, and we challenged the group to be a better team and do a lot of little things to make sure we were resembling the team that had so much success last year," Olsen said.

"In a lot of ways, this was I think our most complete performance – brave on the ball, the way we built was really thoughtful and smart. Then when we were out of possession, it was kind of a renewed commitment from this group. Looking after each other, hard work, the physical. We made a lot of little plays in the box down the stretch.

"People give us some credit for maybe sometimes connecting passes, but really it's our defensive effort that we hung our hat on last year. So a little bit of a renewed sense of making sure that's there at the minimum. Then if it's a day where our soccer's good and the goals come, those are the days you can really get some results."