HOUSTON – Luis Garrido knows what he’s here to do.
After a successful debut for the Houston Dynamo last weekend, the Honduran World Cup veteran is well aware he’ll be one of the club’s bulldogs down the playoff stretch, and it’s tackle first, play the ball second.
“I make my name off the work,” Garrido told MLSsoccer.com through a translator on Tuesday. “That’s what my job is, what my identity is. But I’m always trying to do things on the ball … because I’m always trying to improve in that area. But my identity is the work.”
That mentality proved useful for Houston in pitching a rare shutout in the 1-0 win over D.C. United last Sunday. In a seamless debut, Garrido was a wrecking ball in between the Dynamo defense and midfield and made several crunching tackles, even running by Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie to dispossess speedy DC striker Eddie Johnson in the second half.
“You need those types of enforcers, guys that look for those tackles, guys that look to be scrappy and look to break up plays,” said captain Brad Davis. “That’s what they get excited about. Luis looks forward to getting into that next tackle and winning the ball back when we lose it. Those are all parts of the puzzle that you have to have fit together.”
It looked easier than it was. Garrido told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday about the uptick in the pace and different technical style of play from his former home with Olimpia in the Honduran league, a message echoed by fellow Hondurans Alexander Lopez and Boniek Garcia in the past.
And Garrido is dealing with the acclimation to a new city and a new language, something he said Garcia and Lopez have helped with to make the transition as seamless as possible.
“They told me where to go in the city, how things work here and I’m really indebted to them because they’ve really supported me a lot the last two weeks,” Garrido said. “[My first game] felt very good but very conscious that there’s a long ways to go and a lot of steps to take. Right now it’s day-to-day and just keep grinding.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.