The Honduran forwards have been fast, dynamic, skillful and brought some much needed excitement to a club that has lacked it for the past three years.
Nearing the halftime whistle, with the scored tied 1-1, Dynamo center back Adolfo Machado cleared a ball out of the Houston penalty box. Erick "Cubo" Torres rose up and flicked it towards Elis, who used his pace to run at Timbers defender Roy Miller, while Diego Chara and Zarek Valentin trailed behind him. Elis picked out Quioto and played a perfectly weighted pass across the box. Quioto calmly settled the ball and slotted it past Timbers 'keeper Jake Gleeson.
The goal was Quioto’s third for the season and gave Elis his first assist. Quioto’s composure on that goal is just one of the skills that Elis has come to expect from his fellow countryman, ever since their initial meeting three years ago.
“[He's] a good player. Fast, strong and technical,” Elis said. “He’s showing that he’s a good player every game.”
Quioto showcased that technical skill on his first goal, a curling 25-yard shot past Stefan Frei in the opener, as the Dynamo logged a 2-1 upset of the defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders. The goal garnered him AT&T Goal of the Week honors.
After each goal Quioto has celebrated by forming a heart with his hands. It’s half of the reason a friend gave him the nickname "El Romantico." The other half, due to the 25-year-old’s affinity for romantic music. Did Quioto ever imagine that he would have this kind of start to his MLS career?
“Yeah, I imagined it because I was doing all the right things in the preseason,” Quioto said. “So I had faith and confidence that the start of the season was going to be pretty good for me.”
Elis and Quioto are no strangers to setting each other up for goals. Quioto’s goal against the Timbers was eerily similar to Honduras' game-winning goal against South Korea in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but with the roles reversed. The duo’s chemistry started building when the pair were teammates for two years at Olimpia in Honduras.
“Since we started playing together we’ve had chemistry,” Elis said. “He’s a player that always tries to help the forwards. And he has a great first touch and we’re both fast so we understand one another.”
The duo compliment each other so well that before Elis signed with the Dynamo, rumors swirled that wherever he signed, Quioto wouldn’t be far behind. Quioto turned down those rumors during their introductory press conference in January and chalked up their reunion to destiny.
“[MLS is] a dynamic kind of soccer, fast and very strong,” Quioto said. “Now that I’m here, I can see that it’s almost the same soccer that’s played in Honduras.”
Elis, who only saw action in five games with Liga MX side Monterrey before being loaned to Houston, has a goal and the aforementioned assist. The 21-year-old has shown flashes of brilliance when taking on defenders. Does Elis feel pressured to perform at a high level, being a highly touted offseason acquisition?
“No. I think we all feel the pressure,” Elis said. “We know last season the team didn’t do so well. They signed a lot of players and we have to show why we’re here.”
Elis — who says he was 10 years old when he realized he had the potential to make it in soccer — isn’t without a signature celebration, although he’s only done it once. After notching his first goal of the season, Elis got on all fours and prowled like a panther.
The celebration was a nod to his nickname, "La Pantera" — though Elis isn’t the first Honduran to bear that nickname. Former Honduran forward David Suazo, who made a name for himself in Italy’s Serie A, was the first.
“It’s nice that they compared me to David Suazo,” Elis said. “We all know what he was capable of and everything he did on the international stage.”
Elis and Quioto’s next opportunity to link up will be on the international stage when Honduras face off against the US national team on Friday in San Jose (10:30pm ET | FS1, UniMás). Both Dynamo forwards could make the starting XI and Quioto is confident of the type of plays he and Elis can conjure up.
“I’ve been in many games with Elis on the national team and I think we’ve done it well,” Quioto said. “Now we got some difficult games and I hope we can continue showing up how we have.”