When you face an energetic offense like the Houston Dynamo, communication is key. This is why it was so important to have Josh Smith on the field on Saturday.
Although he’s a rookie, Smith has already proven himself to be a vocal leader. The University of San Francisco product has no problem barking orders, which is necessary when trying to track the mobile front free of Erick Torres, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis. Smith’s ability to communicate helped him get the starting nod over veteran Benjamin Angoua.
“I thought tonight was critical that we have communication across the back line because we were shifting so much to cover against their aggressive three high,” Revs head coach Jay Heaps explained. “So if [Andrew] Farrell attacked, Josh was to slide. You can’t just do it and not communicate. If someone’s going, you need to verbalize it and I thought they did a great job.”
Smith, whose voice was noticeably horse after the game, did his best to keep the team organized. Throughout the game, Smith was seen pointing out late runs and asking players to mark up. These off-the-ball moments might have gone unnoticed by fans but his teammates expressed appreciation after the game.
“He’s the guy who’s louder in our back line,” center back partner Antonio Delamea said. “I’m the guy who collects these second balls. We complete each other, so that’s good.”
Smith’s contributions were also noted by Kelyn Rowe, who made his first-ever start at left back. As a natural midfielder, Rowe was sure to take in any advice that came his way, which included tips from Smith.
“I think he’s been great,” Rowe said of Smith. “He plays like he does every game, whether he’s a rookie or whether he’s 30 years old and a veteran. He’s a guy that’s very vocal and he’s a strong player.”