Mauro Manotas thriving under pressure as Houston Dynamo's striker

HOUSTON — The name Mauro Manotas has quietly and steadily been gaining prominence around MLS, and after a brace in Saturday's 2-1 win over FC Dallas in the Texas Derby, the Houston Dynamo man is burnishing his reputation.

The Colombian forward has in some respects been a one-man encapsulation of the Dynamo's rise the past few years, since his early days in the squad back in 2015 and he has worked hard to become the go-to striker for the orange team – yet he says that he wants more and that feeling the pressure is good for him.

Manotas currently has five goals in eight games this season as he looks to top the 19 goals in league play and 25 in all competitions last season.

“The pressure is cool for me, I've always liked the pressure, I've always liked to work under that pressure and with a low profile, always quiet, always working and at the end of the year the statistics and the goals and all the good stuff at the end of year I let them speak for me,“ said Manotas after the game.

Breaking records is what Manotas is all about. Earlier in the season, he mentioned gunning for Dynamo legend Brian Ching's all-time Dynamo goals record of 56.

And Ching paid tribute to his fellow forward during Saturday's grudge match.

Manotas is the type of player who can come into a game and within moments change its course. As his head coach Wilmer Cabrera has said about him in the past, “he can receive the ball in the middle of the field and go face-to-face and get one or two players out of the way with his speed and dribbling.”

The 23-year-old forward recently scored his 40th MLS goal, and it feels like he's just beginning to unlock his potential.

“I'm happy, I want to beat the records that I need this year and you do that with goals and hopefully continuing to [score] and leave a mark on the team,” said Manotas.