CLUB: Houston Dynamo
YEARS PRO: 5
One of the scariest players on the break in all of MLS, Alberth Elis has made quite the impact in his first year with the Houston Dynamo. Signed this offseason on loan from Mexican giants Monterrey, Elis is lighting quick, a solid passer and efficient in front of net. Despite missing a good deal of time due to injury and international duty, he’s produced seven goals and four assists in regular season action and has been one of the major players in Houston’s 2017 turnaround.
There’s no reason to think he won’t keep improving, either. Despite his young age, Elis has been a regular with Honduras for several years and has a pair of goals for his country in the ongoing CONCACAF Hexagonal. Though his loan only runs for one year, Houston will have an option to permanently acquire perhaps Honduras’ brightest young talent following the season.
What the technical staffers say:
“Speed is the big one. Credit to Houston, they have a pretty clear system and style of play, and when they hit you with the counter attack, and it starts with Elis and his ability to stretch the back four. He makes defenders backpedal, which is a scary thing. The thing with him that maybe doesn’t go as noticed is because he’s such a threat to get in behind, you see back fours dropping deeper. That gives eight-to-ten extra yards for the midfield to operate. He’s a real threat that teams need to locate at all times. … He probably doesn’t get enough credit for how good of a passer he is. His crosses and his ability to get service in the box, he’s added up a lot of assists on goal this year. … He’s kind of a true winger in the sense that he likes to get the ball wide, beat his first man and get service into the box.
“You’ve seen him on the international stage and he holds up. You can’t teach the speed that he has. He’s a real threat in CONCACAF for many years moving forward."
“There can be long stretches in games where he doesn’t get on the ball enough. … It’s a minor critique but something he can still look to do is find the game more often because he’s so dangerous when he does get on the ball.”
“He’s a beast. Pace, power — he’s built for MLS, built for Houston’s system. Just scary with his athleticism and his directness. ... He’s frankly a bit better in transition than he probably would be on a team that has a lot of the ball, where he has to be clever and combine. He’s the right player on the right club. And he’s built for this league playing the way he’s playing because he’s electric on the counter.
“He’s having the opportunity to be the man with Houston and with his national team. I think his upside is gonna happen even quicker.
“When he’s in a game where a team drops off, he’s gotta be a bit more clever at times and understanding when to come off the line and play in pockets and combine with other players versus just running.”