HOUSTON -- At 20 years of age, Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas is just beginning his soccer career. Afer Wednesday night's US Open Cup shocker, in which Houston toppled defending champs Sporting Kansas City, he made clear he's here to stay.
Manotas scored twice during the proceedings to lead the Dynamo past Sporting Kansas City 3-1. His brace gives him three goals in the US Open Cup.A nd he could have easily scored a hat trick and then some, the Colombian international winding up with six total shots.
“He’s a special talent,” said Dynamo head coach Wade Barrett after the game. “The minutes he’s getting are really really valuable and we’re bringing him along at the right pace.”
To date, Manotas has been used sparingly in the MLS season. He’s notched 124 minutes over seven games while registering nine shots, four of those on goal. But his goal-scoring prowess could see him get more playing time during regular-season MLS games, Barrett said after the game.
“He’s a real asset, so he’s going to continue to be involved,” he said of Manotas. “He’s an incredible talent, and you see tonight the problems that he can cause. And when you get him in front of goal, he’s been very very good.”
For his part, Manotas hopes the goals give him an opportunity to continue to show what he can do. It also didn't hurt that he had extra motivation, as his younger brother was in attendance.
“For me, this game was more emotional because I have family in town,” said Manotas. “I’m very grateful that they saw me play."
Meanwhile, Barrett said they'll all work together to make sure he gets even better.
“There are still some other little parts of his game that we need to continue to coach him on,” said the head coach. “And that’s our job, on the coaching staff, to make sure we’re getting him that instructions and telling him exactly what we want, and letting him know the parts of the game that he can improve on.”