The Houston Dynamo understand their position going into Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.
The big-name talents or instant impact players will likely be off the board by Houston’s 18th pick, pure and simple. So for the Dynamo, who won’t lean heavily on this draft to bolster their solid lineup from last season’s run to the MLS Cup, simply grabbing the best player still on the board when their number is called is the plan of action.
“At No. 18, it’s going to be tough to get a player that will come in and have a huge impact,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com via phone on Tuesday night. “When the Dynamo embarked on their first draft in 2006, the 18th pick was in the middle of the second round. At 18, I don’t think you can draft on need, and you’re better off going with the best player available.”
But while there might not be big names such as Danny Mwanga, Darlington Nagbe or Perry Kitchen in this year’s draft, Canetti feels like this edition’s depth should be a bonus by the time pick No. 18 rolls around. But Houston aren't counting on anyone to make an instant impact on a team that doesn’t have a wealth of needs in 2012.
“Whoever we draft, if things work out and the best player available is at a position of need, then great,” Canetti said. “If that player contributes early this season, then that’s just icing on top.”
One thing that will play into Houston’s thinking when it comes to taking that player will be whether or not he will take up one of the clubs two remaining international slots. Quality players have fallen down the board due to their international status in past drafts, but the Dynamo appear more likely to save their international spots for established players found outside the draft.
“We’re not counting on a draft pick to play a big role on the team, so we’re more likely to use those international spots on players that will come in and make an impact and start every game,” Canetti said. “It’s going to be difficult for us to look at an international player in the draft unless that player just knocks the technical staff’s socks off."
“As we try and build the team, we’re not counting on whoever we select being a key component to us becoming champions; that would be unwise,” Canetti added. “Given that approach it’s not a priority to fill a need, but the priority is to get good players.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.