The 2021 team MVP is back looking to improve on his productive first season in Houston.
In the player preview series, we are going to take a look at the current players on the Dynamo roster, how they performed last season, and what we might expect from them in 2022. Here is the next in our series and stay tuned for more to come in the weeks leading up to the start of the season.
Position – Forward
2021 MLS Stats – 31 appearances, 29 starts, 11 goals, and 5 assists
Fafa Picault arrived in Houston via trade from FC Dallas before the start of the 2021 season. Some of the Dynamo fan base questioned the move since he helped the Frisco team hold on El Capitan another year by scoring two goals against Houston in the 2020 Texas Derby. Fafa’s work ethic and grind quickly won over the fans, who reciprocated love to the kid from New York. The Gazelle went on to have one of his best seasons yet in his professional career in 2021 playing for the Houston Dynamo. The attacker has explosive speed that can burn any defender in the league. His constant and relentless pressure when the opponent hold possession of the ball is what truly makes him special. As much as every attacker would want to stay up the field, Fafa knows that he needs to help his team fight for the ball and regain control of it. Fafa scored 11 goals and assisted 5 more, not bad for a “defensive winger”. He gets a chuckle out of that remark every time! He was named the Club’s MVP and Houston Dynamo Players’ Player of the Year. Yet, Fafa’s fierce and competitive mentality, surely will not allow him to sit back and relax after a career high season.
Fafa had his contract option picked up by the team, however, it seems that he wanted to get a new contract that would keep him in Houston for much longer than just a year. With so much newness comes a lot of uncertainty and new General Manager Pat Onstad decided for a one-year extension for Fafa. With that, expect Picault to come in with a chip on his shoulder in 2022. His agility and skill are extremely impressive and after a great showcase last year, surely, he has won a starting role in Paulo Nagamura’s 4-3-3 lineup.
Here are Fafa’s stats from fbref.com with his percentile against other MLS players at his position:
Fans and Fafa himself would want to see 12 goals this season to beat his 11 goals from last season. However, the difference between this year and the year before is that the team lacked a true number 9. The arrival of Sebastian Ferreira could in theory see Fafa’s goals decrease, and his assists increase. Picault is very good at dribbling and getting into the box. This will always put him in dangerous positions to contribute to or score goals. Funny enough, Fafa did score the first preseason goal for the club in their draw against Real Salt Lake and he assisted Ferreira on his first goal in the 3-2 win against the Colorado Rapids. That combination of play is something Dynamo fans will hope to get used to. You may not want to call him a defensive winger, but his work rate and defensive stats speak for themselves. Nonetheless, the expectations for Fafa and the club will be higher in 2022. The fans, the owner, the front office, all want to make a run to the playoffs and a lot will be asked of Fafa to help push the team towards that goal. “Slow Feet Don’t Eat”
If you missed our discussion with Fafa on Orange Talk last month, you can check it out here.