Mark Sherrod: Future or One Hit Wonder?

While everybody in Houston is buzzing about Mark Sherrod’s shockingly, successful first Major League Soccer start. Everybody here at Orange in the Oven is sitting back with a grin. Fellow Orange in the Oven editor Hal Kaiser and I have been begging Dominic Kinnear for a Mark Sherrod start for weeks now. Mark Sherrod in our eyes was worth at least giving a shot. Will Bruin earlier in the season had grown silent on the scoring end, while Sherrod had shown glimpses of his technical ability in the pre-season and during practices.

It took a Will Bruin injury for Coach Dom to finally give a start to Sherrod, and he made the most of it. Not only did he get on the score sheet twice, but he was running up and down the field looking to get open during the whole game. Furthermore, he was leaping for every 50/50 ball and using his height advantage to try and gain possession. As much as he did with the ball at his feet, it was what he was doing without the ball that garnered my attention.

After such a great first full game, fans are often times compelled to propel a player to unwarranted heights. As a fan base we tend to fall in love with the new up and coming star before he has even had enough of a sample size to be considered the future superstar for a team. Houston made this mistake with Will Bruin. Shortly after scoring a hat-trick against D.C. United in his debut season, the Dynamo contingent was already crowning Will as the “Next Brian Ching”, the player who would fill the role Ching was going to vacate.

That did not turn out to be truth. While he had a strong debut season, and an even better sophomore season. He was not what the Dynamo fans wanted. They quickly began turning on him, and we have reached the point where just mentioning Will Bruin has a polarizing effect. There are those that see him as a failure and others that point to stats to show he’s a success. 

We do not want to make this mistake with Sherrod. I’ll be the first one to admit that I started dreaming of national team call-ups for him as soon as he scored that first goal. After the second one, I was already ready to consider him the next Houston Dynamo legend! I wanted to consider him the second-coming of Brian Ching.

However, while I do see some qualities in him that made Ching the legend that he became, for example his ability to play with his back towards the goal, Mark Sherrod is never going to become Brian Ching. There will never be another Brian Ching.

That is not entirely a bad thing, though. Brian Ching was a player who was successful in the way Major League Soccer used to be played. I sincerely do not believe Ching would be as successful with this Houston Dynamo team as he was in the early years. The league has changed.

I’m not saying that Brian Ching would not break the starting line-up, I’m just saying that he would play a different style of attacking football. Mark Sherrod will not become the next Brian Ching, Mark Sherrod will be Mark Sherrod. It’s as simple as that.

Will Mark Sherrod be successful with the Houston Dynamo and in this league? Well, it is way too early to tell. He does have the tools to be successful, though. He already showed us he has the stamina to both attack and defend at all times.

Not only that, but Sherrod also proved that he has more technical ability and speed than Will Bruin currently has. His passes with his back towards the goal are well-times and able to connect with a player like Barnes, Davis, and Boniek so they can either take a quick shot or make a run at goal. If nothing else, in his first start Mark Sherrod has already done enough to warrant a second one. Even if it comes at the expense of an already recovered Will Bruin.



Tags: Houston Dynamo Mark Sherrod

  • Michael Morales

    Managing expectations.

    I love Sherrod and his energy, hustle and quality; but we obviously need a larger sample size to see if this was a fluke or if he warrants more starts/minutes.

    The question I have is: what if he is like Barnes, in that he’s very smart and creates opportunities but statistically has little to show for? Do we heap on him like some have done to Bruin? For me, Sherrod this season is like playing with house money: lower your expectations and have fun with it. We’ll see if there are conclusions to be drawn after this season, and place any expectations – if needed – after that.

    • Leopoldo Ponce

      You’re completely right! This is house money! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If Bruin nets at least 14 goals this season, anything that is added by Sherrod will be a cherry on top. However, we also need Barnes to start delivering.

      • Michael Morales

        Exactly. And for me, I ‘judge’ Barnes’ production not necessarily on goals – even though technically he is a forward – but on the opportunities he creates for others. Its not just on Bruin to convert those chances – when they’re created for him – but also on guys like Boniek, Driver and Davis who are in advanced, attacking positions and need to start putting more shots on goal. And the more shots our midfielders put on goal, the more it forces opposing defenders to close them down, thereby giving more space to the forwards. And as this happens, putting a big boy like Sherrod in there gives you another option to put those shots on goal. I’m excited with his start, but let’s see how things progress over the next month or so where he should get more minutes.

  • Michael Morales

    If another year or two we could have Sherrod, Bruin and JJ as options, I would not be disappointed.

    • Leopoldo Ponce

      JJ has decent speed, Sherrod can play with back to the goal, and Bruin can be our target man. We have three semi-different type of players we can utilize. I hope that becomes the case, especially if Lopez is involved.