Houston Dynamo can book their place in the Western Conference Finals with a win against Real Salt Lake on Monday evening.
They had failed to make the playoffs in any of the past five seasons, but this year’s Dynamo team look well-placed to go deep in the post-season.
Central to their success has been the performances of Héctor Herrera, the Mexican midfielder, in his first full season in MLS. Herrera brings vast experience after a career in Europe, but he has also been one of the most prolific creative forces in the league.
He has contributed five goals and 17 assists in MLS this year, leaving him just one goal contribution short of the club record set by Brad Davis in 2012. Davis registered 23 goal contributions (eight goals, 15 assists) across the regular season and playoffs.
Herrera’s MLS Cup Playoff career began with a goal in last week’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake.
What did Héctor Herrera say about the quality of MLS?
Houston got off to a slow start in 2023 but have grown as a team as the season has progressed. In September they defeated Inter Miami in the final of the US Open Cup, the team’s first piece of silverware since 2018.
Herrera has been a key part of their progression in 2023 and has formed a solid midfield partnership with Artur. That duo have allowed the likes of Amine Bassi and Adalberto Carrasquilla to impress further forward, as they did in the victory over RSL.
Earlier this season Herrera spoke to AS USA about the high level of MLS.
“The truth is that I have been pleasantly surprised by the league,” he said.
“From the outside, you may talk about how it isn’t a very comPetitive league. But once you arrive, you see the rhythm that they play with here and how many quality players there are here, you realise that the MLS is a very good league.”
Houston secured a fourth-placed finish in the Western Conference in the regular season, one point ahead of Monday’s opponents Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo can wrap up the best-of-three series with victory at America First Field and book their place in the Conference Finals.
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