HOUSTON – A physical center back, a left-footed winger, and a midfielder with pace.
That’s the cliff-notes description of the three on-loan players the Houston Dynamo acquired during this year’s summer transfer window.
The specifics: Keyner Brown, 24, is a burly, athletic center back on loan from Herediano of Costa Rica.
Jose Escalante, a 21-year-old left-footed winger, is on loan from Rio Grande Valley FC, the Dynamo’s USL affiliate.
And speedy midfielder Yair Arboleda (pictured above), 20, on loan from Independiente Santa Fe of Colombia, rounds out the trio.
Despite being with the Dynamo since early August, the trio’s only action with Houston to date has been in a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara last weekend.
“I hadn’t seen those guys in a full competition,” said Dynamo interim head coach Wade Barrett after Wednesday's practice. “I know Yair and Jose have gone down and gotten minutes with RGV and I’ve seen those games, but it’s a different thing when you come here, especially playing against a good opponent like [Chivas].”
Barrett acknowledges that it was just a friendly, but he was able to evaluate them.
“You see some of the things I think they need to work on,” said Barrett. “But you also see some of the things that they can bring to the team, which is a little bit different than what we have in a couple of other players.”
Which loanee is ready to contribute to the team?
Barrett said all three could play a part in some way but the coach singled out Brown, the most experienced of the trio.
“Keyner is a physical center back. He’s gonna win a lot of 1-on-1 match-ups,” said Barrett. “He’s very good at those things and we just need to continue to kind of work with him about what we’re trying to do defensively. You know, shifting and covering and making the right decisions in the back.”
None of the three have yet to register a minute in MLS, but that could be changing soon.
At the end of the season, Houston has the option to make the loans permanent transfers, but with eight games remaining, is there enough time to test out the loanees?
“That’s what I’m tasked with over the next eight games,” said Barrett. “And still trying to put a team out to win but making sure that we have a decision on some of those guys going into the end of the season.”
Aside from scouting their action in games, Dynamo vice president and general manager Matt Jordan says there's benefit to the loan-to-buy situations. It allows an organization to see the player in their environment and how they integrate with the group.
“We have eight games left,” said Jordan. “And it’s going to be a good opportunity to see how those guys fit within the puzzle for the remainder of the season.”