HOUSTON – When the Houston Dynamo acquired midfielder Alex from the Chicago Fire back in April, they could only have dreamed that he'd be starting and scoring game-winning goals.
On Saturday night he rescued three points for the Houston Dynamo in a 2-1 win over the short-handed San Jose Earthquakes. For the Brazilian it was a huge shot that validates nearly four months of hard work to get his fitness to catch up with his skill.
“When we were in the process and Matt [Jordan] was working hard on the trade, we knew the qualities and technical abilities Alex Lima has,” head coach Owen Coyle said. “The only thing Alex was missing at that time was his fitness because he wasn’t playing as much at Chicago Fire. Day by day we’re building up the fitness … and when Alex’s time was right we brought him in and we knew he would deliver on it.”
The goal puncuates a good run of form that has seen Alex put his skill on display. His teammates have noticed it in training, but for Alex it was simply about keeping his head down and working.
“Nothing changed really. It was a different conference, different team,” Alex said through a translator. “For me it was just working hard consistently, daily, and making sure I gave my all on the field. Once I got my opportunity it was a matter of taking full advantage of it and making sure that I kept being consistent week-in-and-week-out.”
Saturday’s goal capped a run that showed off that fitness. With the Dynamo surprisingly even at 1-1 with 10-man San Jose after giving up what Coyle called a soft goal, Alex saw his opportunity to pull the lead back. With Boniek Garcia and Sheanon Williams, another newcomer via trade, working the right side, Alex streaked down the middle of the field and buried a one-time finish to claim the win.
“If you saw his run from midfield, that’s what it’s all about,” Beasley said. “He’s very skillful and unselfish and he works hard for the team. He’s a two-way player, but you see some of the skills he has on the ball and it’s pretty amazing.
“He’s been a great addition to our team midseason. I’m happy for Alex, I’m happy for Sheanon who got a great assist. The front office staff has done really good work bringing in pieces to our team that’s going to help us.”
While it was Alex’s second goal in orange, Beasley opened his Dynamo account to start the scoring. The left back found the net in the 55th minute scoring his first MLS goal since the 2003 MLS Cup final. Like Alex’s, Beasley saw his opening, but he took a little longer to exploit it.
“I looked and there was no one. I didn’t see anybody – the right back or right mid,” Beasley said. “Brad [Davis] had the ball first and played it first to Giles and I was yelling at Brad to give me the ball and he didn’t. I yelled at Giles and finally he saw me. Everybody’s been on me that I haven’t scored yet.
“It was [a huge victory], If we go and have a good run and do our job we’ll be in the playoffs. We worry about what’s in this locker room and make our own destiny.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.