Thor Ulfarsson Beginning to Step Up
Thor Ulfarsson has begun to emerge in the middle of his rookie season for the Houston Dynamo. Houston selected Ulfarsson with the #4 overall pick of the 2022 MLS Superdraft out of Duke, which means he came in with high expectations. It might have been an up and down beginning to the year, but Ulfarsson (originally out of Iceland) really seems to be finding his footing over the last couple of matches.
These last 2 matches have arguably been Thor's strongest 2 of the season. This past weekend, he scored a big goal on a karate style pump kick in Houston's 2-0 win over Chicago. Then on Wednesday, Ulfarsson picked up a great assist on a fantastic goal from Darwin Quintero. It was another strong performance with a strong goal contribution, even though Houston fell 2-1 to Portland.
These have also been 2 of Thor's best games of the year in terms of passing. He completed 87.5% of his passes in the match against Chicago. Ulfarsson then followed that up with a superb 94.7% passing completion percentage on Wednesday. Over the two matches, Thor completed 32 of 35 passes (91.4% total).
He's also added 3 key passes and made 3 accurate long balls as well over the 2 matches. He came into the week with 4 key passes and 2 long passes total on the season. He's boosted up those numbers significantly in the past 2 games. He also made 2 interceptions over the 2 matches, after just 1 previously on the year.
The Dynamo will hope that something has clicked for Thor and that he can continue to play so well. The talent is obviously there and he has show flashes throughout the season. However with him being so young, consistency seems to be the biggest thing.
Thor is still just 21 years old, so the Dynamo hope that Thor's best days are still ahead of him and that these past 2 matches are him taking that next step in his development. Overall on the season, he now has 2 goals and 1 assist with a 69.2% passing % in 17 matches total (5 starts). He's played 557 minutes on the season. He also has a value of 110K on Transfermarkt (although if he continues to play like this then that might start to go up).
Both of Thor's goals have come fairly recently. His first goal of the season came on May 22nd against the LA Galaxy. So, both of his goals this season have come in the last 5 matches.
With Houston set to add Hector Herrera in a week or so, and the club trying to climb up the standings to make a run at the playoffs, I believe that it's important for Ulfarsson to keep playing well if Houston is going to make that push. Ulfarsson playing well in an attacking group alongside of the likes of Darwin Quintero, Sebastian Ferreira, and now the incoming Hector Herrera makes for a potentially dangerous group for the Dynamo.