The Houston Dynamo have high hopes for their new attacking signing. They do not, however, expect him to be able to make an immediate impact.
The Dynamo announced on Monday that they added Argentine winger Mateo Bajamich via a full transfer from second-division side Instituto AC in his native land. The move for the 21-year-old Bajamich comes a couple weeks after the Dynamo sold Honduran winger Alberth Elis to Boavista in Portugal, but do not expect the young newcomer to see the field in the immediate future.
“We’re all hoping as soon as possible,” said head coach Tab Ramos on Monday. “As soon as possible may be — and I’m just going to take a guess — if the visa process goes quickly, let’s say a week, and then 10 days after that as he quarantines.
“I’m thinking he would likely — and again I’m going to take an educated guess — that it will be at the very least two weeks, possibly three weeks before he can join the team.”
𝐈𝐭'𝐬 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥. ✍️
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) October 5, 2020
With precious few weeks and only eight games left in what remains of this condensed MLS regular season, Bajamich is unlikely to play all that much for the Dynamo in 2020. It is why Ramos added that Bajamich should be looked at as “a contributor (for) a little bit more down the road.”
That will be especially true if the Dynamo don’t make the playoffs. They currently sit outside of the postseason picture in 10th place in the Western Conference, though they are only two points behind eighth-placed Real Salt Lake for the final berth.
Regardless, expect to see Bajamich to slot in on the right wing. Whenever it is that he is available to play.
“For Instituto, he’s been playing mostly on the right side, let’s say as a No. 7,” said Ramos. “He has also and I have spoken with Mateo myself about the possibility that he could play as a withdrawn striker or even as a No. 9, but he’s coming here mostly to be playing on the right side.
“That’s where he plays best, where he’s most comfortable, but, again, he seems to be one of those players who is willing to play wherever the coach puts him. It’s that type of demeanor that you want from players.”
Bajamich’s attitude is far from the only reason the Dynamo signed him, though. His skill on the ball and the production in the final third that allowed him to score 10 goals and deliver six assists in 28 matches with Instituto are a big part of why the Dynamo paid a reported $1.2 million transfer fee, according to TyC Sports.
“He’s a good player 1-v-1,” said Ramos. “He can break defenses down, he’s a hard worker up and down the line. I think he brings a lot of qualities that will help the team get better.”
Just when those qualities will be on display is to be determined. The Dynamo are hoping Bajamich can play sooner rather than later so that he can help in their quest to make a postseason push and compete for this year’s MLS Cup.
“We have been trying to sign young players with a lot of potential,” said Ramos. “I think there’s no secret there, but I think a lot of clubs try to do that. There’s very few clubs in the league that can afford just to get guys in their prime to come in and try to win the league right away.
“Our goal doesn’t change. Like I’ve said from the beginning, our goal is to make the playoffs so that we can win the league. That’s going to be the goal every year. How we go about it may be a little different than other clubs, and I think the youth Mateo brings to the club is important.”