HOUSTON – After more than a year of negotiations, the Houston Dynamo announced on Thursday that they have finalized a transfer that will make Honduran international Oscar Boniek García the second Designated Player in club history.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed as per league policy, but this much is clear: The 27-year-old former Olimpia midfielder impressed the Dynamo brass when they caught an up-close glimpse of him last May.
That’s when García – who has 67 caps for Los Catrachos – took the field at Robertson Stadium for a match between Honduras and El Salvador, and the Dynamo have been chasing him ever since.
“Boniek García’s name got thrown our way, and we’d never seen him, so I concentrated on him and he had an excellent game that day,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He’s been very good for his country and, from all accounts, he’s supposed to be a good guy and will fit in well in the locker room.”
Houston made García a top priority based on that appearance last year, and entered into negotiations to bring him stateside immediately.
“He’s a Dom-type player,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s a true professional that fits the system and that’ll fit in the locker room. He’s got a huge motor and plays two ways and will press the issue going forward on the right side and also get back and defend. Those are Dominic Kinnear qualities.”
Twice before, in the summer transfer window of 2011 and winter window earlier this year, Houston were on the verge of signing García. But twice the deal fell through in the final stages as Olimpia, who were drawn on Tuesday into the same group with Houston in the CONCACAF Champions League, pushed to keep García for a title run in the 2011-12 season despite the player and his mother being very vocal about his desire to go abroad.
“We’ve stayed professional, and fortunately for us, that paid off,” Canetti said when asked about working through the unsuccessful deals. “It took a lot longer than we wanted it to. We thought we had him in the summer and winter but here we are now getting a deal done.”
García is a two-way player and could be an option in a number of roles in the midfield. Adam Moffat currently fills the holding midfield spot with Brad Davis firmly on the left, but the attacking central role (Luiz Camargo or Je-Vaughn Watson) and the right flank (Watson, Calen Carr and Colin Clark) have been in flux much of the season.
“I think he makes us better,” Kinnear said. “He’s a right-sided midfielder for Honduras and I think he’s one of their better players. If he settles into the right-hand spot for us, that’s good for the team.
“He’s a good athlete, smart player and plays simple, but he takes players on and defensively he’s very honest," Kinnear added. "I think he’s going to be a good pickup for us.”
Houston will now work to finalize García’s P-1 visa and obtain his International Transfer Certificate and try and get him to town and integrated into the club structure as soon as possible, likely after Honduras starts their World Cup qualifying campaign against Panama (June 8) and García’s future teammate Andre Hainault and Canada (June 12).
“When you complete something successfully after working hard on it, and fought and been persistent and ultimately get it done, it is a rewarding feeling,” Canetti said. “With this done Dom and I will have a nice moment to celebrate.”
The only other Designated Player in Dynamo history was Mexican forward Luis Ángel Landin, who appeared in just 16 games from 2009-10.
If everything goes to plan, García will be available to make his Dynamo debut June 30 when Houston takes on the Philadelphia Union at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.