Darwin Quintero has enjoyed a resurgence with the Houston Dynamo and will make his first trip back to Allianz Field Sunday (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; on DAZN in Canada) since a blockbuster trade from Minnesota United in November.
The Colombian has seven goals and eight assists in 17 games with Houston this season, including a late goal in a 3-1 loss to Nashville SC in the midweek. Quintero is on pace to have his best statistical season since becoming the Loons first Designated Player.
While the “Goal Scientist” has opened eyes around MLS with his play this season, his former coach Adrian Heath is not surprised.
“The one thing about Darwin is, and we’ve always said this, [he’s] one of the few players within the whole of MLS who can create something out of nothing,” Heath said in a video conference call with reporters Saturday. “We’ve seen it here and obviously another [goal] the other night virtually pulled them back into the game singlehandedly. He’s got talent. It doesn’t surprise me he’s gone and can light games up because he's always had that in his locker.
“They gave him the extension of a couple of years contract and that was the determining factor i think. We’ve seen the talent Darwin has to offer and when he's on a good day, it’s a special talent.”
While Quintero should play a big role in this third regular season matchup between the Western Conference foes — he’s scored in each of the previous matches — Minnesota United will be without one of their Designated Players with Jan Gregus in quarantine after returning from international duty with Slovakia.
Darwin Quintero scores first goal vs. Minnesota United
Heath said a silver lining in having recent matches against FC Dallas and Chicago Fire FC postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests is that it lessens the amount of games the influential Gregus could miss.
Heath expects Gregus back for a scheduled Oct. 24 match against FC Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium.
“This morning we trained in groups of five, which the day before a game is never ideal,” Heath said. “It is what it is, we have to get on with it, we can’t use this as an excuse. We are looking forward to getting bak to playing again. These are hurdles we have to overcome.”