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.