The Houston Dynamo already had a strong attacking unit with Darwin Quintero, Christian Ramirez, and Mauro Manotas all fighting for minutes in Tab Ramos’ side. Now Ramos has a fourth option to call on this season after an impressive debut for the club on Wednesday night.
Ariel Lassiter’s two-goal performance led the Dynamo to a 3-0 Western Conference win over Minnesota United. Lassiter, the former L.A. Galaxy forward, came off the bench and put in a strong 35-minute shift, helping Houston to its second-straight win. It was a heck of a way for Lassiter to re-introduce himself back in MLS after a short stint away in his native Costa Rica.
“He had a great game. Nothing that he did today surprised me,” Ramos said of Lassiter. “We brought him here because I know he has some special qualities, he can get behind defenders, and I think it’ll be a matter of adapting to the league once again, he never got the consistency before.”
“This may be the case where its two steps forward and one step back, but I think it’s a great start. He’s on the younger side and I think we need to bring him along, but I’m really happy he had a good start.”
Lassiter, son of former MLS star Roy Lassiter, didn’t live up to expectations during his first spell in the league. In 25 league appearances for the Galaxy, Lassiter recorded only one goal before heading back to Costa Rica with LD Alajuelense.
The 25-year-old excelled in his native country, scoring 24 goals and adding 16 assists in 64 combined appearances for the club. His impressive time there caught the eye of the Dynamo, whom acquired him on loan this season with an option to buy. His move back to the United States is already paying off, with the Dynamo reaping the reward of acquiring him.
“I went to Costa Rica and I think I gained a lot of experience there, played a lot, got a lot of confidence in my game so I’m just trying to come back and show the progress that I’ve that I’ve made and I want to continue that process,” Lassiter said.
“My main goal is to continue to stay with the Costa Rican National Team and look for a World Cup. So my main objective is to stay at the highest level possible and I think the Dynamo here and the players that we have and the coaching staff, they’re going to continue to push me into the right direction. And that’s exactly what I want to do.”
With the Dynamo already leading the Loons 1-0, Lassiter made an immediate impact off the bench. Alberth Elis got behind left back Chase Gasper and sent a cross into the box, slotted home by Lassiter via a one-time finish. Not more than five minutes later, Lassiter and Elis connected for the second time on the night.
This time Elis chipped a pass to Lassiter’s left before the striker beat Bobby Shuttlesworth to the bottom-left corner. 3-0 would be the final score at BBVA Compass Stadium, a result which certainly has Lassiter and his Dynamo teammates full of confidence.
“I was hoping to get three,” Lassiter said. “Once I got that second one, I was looking for the hat trick. That doesn’t happen too often, but my main focus was to come in and bring a lot of energy for the team and to create opportunities.”
With seven points from a possible nine, the Dynamo have jumped to ninth place over the past two weeks. FC Dallas is currently holding onto the final playoff spot in the West due to goal difference, but back-to-back victories for the Dynamo have them in good form heading into this weekend’s date with Sporting KC.
Whether or not Lassiter gets a start on Saturday or remains an option off the bench, Ramos has a confident player to call on during the club’s push for postseason play.
“I think any win would have been a good win following a huge win on the road,” Ramos said. “But I think, in particular the way we did it without really suffering a lot today and we know that this league is long and there’s a lot of games to play, but we can only live this moment here. And I think that the team reacted really well.”
“I mentioned before that it’s been coming, we’ve been playing this way we just weren’t getting the results. And I think the team is, I feel it’s getting better and better.”