How signing El Tri, Atletico Madrid's Hector Herrera would transform Houston Dynamo FC

The collection of Mexican national team players that call MLS home could soon increase, should reports of Hector Herrera being a Houston Dynamo FC transfer target come to fruition.

The Western Conference club is working to sign the Atletico Madrid midfielder, as MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert reported, with Bogert later adding that general manager Pat Onstad was in Spain last week to watch Herrera.

The 31-year-old would be a Designated Player in Houston, continuing the investment that owner Ted Segal is making as Onstad and head coach Paulo Nagamura shape the squad – and he would galvanize the city, as discussed on Extratime presented by AT&T 5G.

“It’s a signing we have talked about for Houston for a really long time, of an El Tri superstar, a player who could tap into the energy in the Mexican-American community in that city,” co-host David Gass said. “It’s also a signing in a stratosphere Houston’s just never touched in terms of the quality of player, the position he holds in the world.”

Herrera is approaching 100 caps with El Tri, a locked-in starter as Tata Martino’s squad chases a Qatar 2022 World Cup berth. He’s also in his third season in La Liga, earning the move after spending the 2010s progressing at Liga MX’s Pachuca and then Primeira Liga powerhouse side FC Porto.

The midfielder is out of contract come the summer, and other clubs around Europe are reportedly interested. His impact on the Dynamo would be considerable, with Charlie Davies likening the possible addition to when Jermaine Jones joined the New England Revolution in 2014 after his starring US men’s national team role at the World Cup in Brazil.

“He’s a game-changer, I think for Houston, for the players across the league,” Davies said. “When you have a player who sees the field so well and can create chances, can dictate the tempo, who can rally the locker room, man he has so much influence.

“You touched on Jermaine Jones having that kind of influence when you come into a team, that’s a player who can lift up a whole locker room and a whole fan base. And that’s what you’re bringing to the table when you have a player like HH.”

The reports reminded Calen Carr of when Mexican star Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a midfielder with 120 El Tri caps, spent three seasons with Chicago Fire FC from 2007-09. He was a transformative player, and there could be parallels between the additions.

“From bringing the Dynamo back into the spotlight in the city perspective, it would be huge,” Carr said. “I had come on this show last year, and I was sort of pleading for Chicago to make this signing because I had seen from playing there when Blanco was there, what a Mexican national team star can do for bringing that club back in.”

Should Herrera arrive, he’d be Houston’s second new DP after the club signed Paraguayan forward Sebastian Ferreira this past January from Libertad for a reported $4.3 million. That’d give Nagmura two centerpieces to build around, joining the club after leading Sporting Kansas City’s now-MLS NEXT Pro team.

“Certainly would be a club-changing signing for the Houston Dynamo, and we heard Nagamura,” co-host Andrew Wiebe said. “He talks a lot about how they’re restarting their culture, they’re changing their culture. Well, a guy like this can do that and more.”