Fafa Picault’s in-state move from FC Dallas to the Houston Dynamo this past offseason was a surprising one especially for the fact that two rivals made an intriguing deal with one another. For Tab Ramos and his players, the arrival of Picault in Houston is already paying off after the veteran winger scored his first goal of the 2021 MLS season.
Picault’s first-half penalty kick helped the Dynamo earn one point in a 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium against their rivals. After delivering his first assist for the club in last weekend’s draw with LAFC, Picault opened his goalscoring account and finished as the Dynamo’s best overall performer in the match.
“There’s a lot because he gives that fear factor for the other team,” Ramos said of Picault’s impact. “Number one, he’s somebody that inevitably, if you have to defend him, you have to figure out how you’re going to deal with him, in particular on the counter and also on the 1-v-1s wide. He’s a good character off the field, he works very hard every day and that’s the kind of culture that I think we can take steps forward with.”
“I’m happy to get my first goal with the club,” Picault said post match. “I didn’t want it to take too long to break the ice and now it feels good. Last week, I got the assist and now getting the goal. Like I said, obviously bigger than that is helping the team win games, we didn’t get that today, but at least coming here on the road in a tough situation, a tough environment, you know it’s a derby, it’s a tough game.”
Picault was acquired by the Dynamo last December for $275,000 in General Allocation Money and has already become a regular contributor in Ramos’ squad. Not only did he take the spot kick duties in Saturday’s match, but he became the first player in the history of the Texas Derby to score for both clubs in the 40th all-time meeting.
The speedy and creative winger has always been one of the top players in MLS when it comes to taking on defenders and getting behind opponents backlines. While he only finished with the penalty kick goal on the afternoon, Picault was excited to help the Dynamo earn its first positive result in Dallas since August 2017 (Houston lost four straight road matches prior).
“To be fair, [Megiolaro] never stopped them in practice either, so I wasn’t too worried,” Picault said. He’s an amazing PK stopper, so I’m not going to take that away from him. But he never blocks my PKs and he knew where I wanted to go and was talking crap in my head. So I knew I had to shoot somewhere that he wasn’t going to stop it and he didn’t.”
“I think the second half we were a bit better, obviously the one point on the road, but we came here with the desire to get three. It feels good to finally get my first goal with the club, still not fully happy with one point as I would have obviously wanted three.”
The Dynamo will be a bit disappointed to not finish any other offensive chances in the match, after outshooting Dallas 4-to-3 in shots on goal and 15-to-13 in overall shots. Still, Picault did well to offer something in the final third, outperforming teammates Maxi Urruti and Joe Corona, who lined up alongside him in the Dynamo’s 4-3-3 formation.
— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) May 8, 2021
Now with one goal and one assist in his last 173 minutes of action, Picault will look to keep delivering positive moments for the Dynamo’s attack going forward. After helping the club earn back-to-back draws against LAFC and FC Dallas, Picault is confident he can bring more to the table and overall the team can continue this project that Ramos help start since his arrival in 2020.
“Obviously, [I bring a] presence on the field, confidence, like I said as games go on you’re going to see more creativity, take more chances up front,” Picault said. “I definitely want to bring in leadership and my qualities and energy, my locker room presence. There’s different things that I feel I can bring and I want to continue to bring to help the project.”
“I think it’s a very good [project] and I fully believe in what [Tab Ramos] wants to do. So, that’s why I’m here and I’m going to do everything I can to bring that to fruition.”
Up next for Houston is a May 12th midweek showdown with Sporting KC before visiting the Colorado Rapids on May 15th.