2016 Season Guide - HOU

Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo | 2016 Team Guide - HOU



  • MLS CUP: 2006, 2007


2016 Storylines

In sports, a team's identity is a reflection of its performance. Last season, the Houston Dynamo never quite found their identity under first year head coach Owen Coyle, and it reflected on the field.

In stretches, the team fired on all cylinders, as evidenced by their eight wins against playoff teams, But it too many others it looked out of sync.

"They [players] worked very hard and we had some fantastic moments, but what we needed was a lot more consistency," Coyle told MLSsoccer.com via telephone of last season's struggles. "If we get a couple results on the road last year, we would've been in the playoffs."

At home, the Dynamo nabbed 31 points but only managed 11 on the road, putting them nine points short of a playoff spot.

Houston Dynamo | 2016 Team Guide - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/USATSI_8513988.png

Owen Coyle

The sting of missing the postseason is what's been driving this year's preparations, one in which Coyle wants the team to win together so it becomes a habit.

"That's sort of what's happening in the offseason with the camaraderie and that togetherness," Coyle said. "And understanding that you're a player with talent individually but the group comes first."

Coyle's rigorous preseason training regime has got the attention of some Dynamo veterans, and not in a bad way.

Will Bruin called it "the most exciting preseason that I've been a part of" in the Dynamo's preseason video series, The Slice.

Boniek Garcia told MLSsoccer.com via telephone that Coyle's preseason training is more demanding that what is required, which makes the players play at maximum effort.

"What we're doing is challenging them," Coyle said. "We're not accepting that we didn't make the playoffs so we're challenging ourselves to get back to the playoffs."

Houston Dynamo | 2016 Team Guide - https://league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/Houston.png

Armchair Analyst's Take

How you felt about the acquisition of Cristian Maidana was a litmus test for analysts, and the season ahead will provide a new laboratory for the ongoing experiment regarding the importance of raw chance creation. I’ve already said my peace on Maidana and why I think building a midfield around him is a risky proposition – and you have to build it around him if you intend to play him, by the way; he can’t be a part of the supporting cast – but the man can clearly create chances. If he’s healthy and a week-in, week-out starter he’ll make about 70 of them, and has three double-digit MLS goalscorers to aim at in Bruin, Torres and Barnes.

If you say it all out loud like that, it sounds pretty damn good.

There is more of a question about the defense and deep-lying midfield, both of which have been reinforced via foreign and domestic shopping sprees. Coyle has said he’s determined to have a more skillful team on the pitch in 2016, and the guys he went out and got seem to fit that bill.

They’ll all have to jell quickly, though. The West is murderous this year, and points dropped in March and April will almost certainly come back to haunt teams in October.

Key Offseason Transactions

<a href="//www.mlssoccer.com/players/agus">Agus</a><br> Cristian Maidana<br><a href="//www.mlssoccer.com/players/andrew-wenger">Andrew Wenger</a><br><a class="small" href="//www.mlssoccer.com/topic/transactions">All transactions</a>
Brad Davis<br> Kofi Sarkodie<br> Jermaine Taylor

Player to Watch: Erick 'Cubo' Torres

Torres was a revelation playing for Chivas USA in 2014, but had a decidedly tougher 2015. Lack of playing time on loan to Guadalajara combined with sexual assault allegations (which he was later cleared of) made it tough going for the Mexican forward, who did not score after joining the Dynamo for the summer. However, a good run of form with the Mexico Under-23s in Olympic qualifying and a stable preseason should give Dynamo fans hope of seeing the type of season that saw him score 15 goals two years ago.

Projected Lineup:

Deric; Williams - Rodriguez - Agus - Beasley; Clark - Rocha - Maidana; Manotas - Bruin - Barnes

Fantasy Soccer

Look for Maidana and Bruin to connect for multiple goals this season. Maidana has 26 assists over the last two seasons and Bruin has hit double-digit goals in four straight seasons now. That’s reliable production for $9.0m a pop.