Darwin Quintero arrived in Houston on November 13, 2019, From the first time, he donned the orange, his impact has been felt on the field. The impact has not lessened over the past two plus seasons. At 34, he may be a step slower (don't tell him that) but his knowledge and soccer IQ has younger players playing better and more aggressively.
In his first season with the club, he was the offense scoring seven goals and adding 10 assists. His assists total put him at the top of the assist leaders in Major League Soccer. Now he is called upon to facilitate and put other places in the best position to score.
“Darwin is a game-changer, he brings an offensive quality that can win games,” general manager Pat Onstad said
After ten starts in 2022, he has been used as a second half sub coming on in the 45th minute. The move allows him to bring a spark and lift the team out of the locker room. Tyler Pasher who has seen his minutes increase lately credits the native Columbian with putting him in the right spot at the right time.
In Sunday's 2-1 loss, Pasher had two dangerous moments late forcing Orlando Pride keeper Pedro Gallese to make two big stops. Pasher had a go at the near post and another on a curling effort tha Gallese was able set up.
"Personally, he and I have a great relationship on the field because his first instinct is to look forward and play a ball between lines, that's always his first instinct," said Pasher. "When you have that kind of dynamic, four players make it very difficult to defend but make it very good for us in the attacking final third. Those balls are what really splits the defensive lines and get us in behind the team, which puts them on their heels. It is a big impact coming off or starting the game, whichever it may be."
Because of his soccer IQ, Quintero serves almost as another coach when he is on the pitch. He knows each player's role and how to get them in the best position to succeed. Brazilian defender Zeca credits the Tamaco, Columbian native with helping him and others to be in the right position to succeed.
“He helps me a lot with my movement on the field," shared Zeca. "We are getting to know each other very well in training and you can see that on the field of play. He can definitely raise the level of those around him. He was ready for his moment and Darwin (Quintero) can quickly change a game; he generates a lot of opportunities.”
Houston will need the skills its elder statesman if it wants to make the 2022 playoffs and more. HIs impact will be felt even more with the arrival of Hector Herrera on July 9th. They should provide a lethal 1-2 punch setting up players up top.