HOUSTON – Luiz Camargo will wear Houston Dynamo orange in 2012.
Camargo arrived in Houston from Brazil's Clube Paraná on a loan that was set to expire Dec. 31. However, the Dynamo had an option to purchase the playmaker’s rights and moved quickly to exercise it, keeping the midfielder in MLS. The complete terms of the deal were not disclosed per club and league policy.
“Last year he came in and played very well for us,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday. “He allowed Geoff [Cameron] to move to the back and helped us have a more balanced team. From what we saw, we think he’s going to have a better year in 2012 than he did in 2011.”
Camargo joined the Dynamo in August and became a key cog in the team’s late-season success. Starting 10 games – including four playoff games – in 2011, the Brazilian contributed three assists while providing Houston with a player who could tuck in and create from the central part of the pitch.
His return means that Camargo will reunite with central-midfield partner Adam Moffat in 2012. Both midseason acquisitions, the pair quickly formed a top-shelf, one-two punch with Moffat providing a long-range threat and defensive presence while Camargo pushed forward and helped drive the attack.
Heading into 2012, Kinnear sees the pair building on that partnership.
“With a full preseason, those guys are only going to get beter,” Kinnear said. “We brought both those guys in midseason and with limited time, they formed a pretty good partnership. With those guys working together day to day, it’s only going to make us better.”
With Camargo back in the fold, Houston moved one step closer to holding on to most of their regulars from their late season run. As it stands, only Brian Ching and Carlo Costly are currently off the roster.
“Stability is always good because you don’t want to move too many things around during the season,” Kinnear said. “When [Camargo] came, we hoped he’d adjust to MLS quickly, and I thought he did very well and we were happy to bring him back.”
Now, the attention turns to strengthening the team wherever possible.
“I think we have good depth but if we feel there’s an area we can improve, no matter who is playing there, and provide quality to the position, we’re going to try and do it,” Kinnear said.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com