A new season always brings a fresh start with it, and there's perhaps no team in MLS leaning more into having a clean slate than Houston Dynamo FC.
As their preseason kicked off on Monday, Houston go into their 2021 campaign having experienced as much roster turnover as anyone in the league, with a big group of new additions that could all conceivably play significant roles for the first team right away. And that's on the heels of the offseason rebrand that saw the club change its name from the Dynamo to Dynamo FC and release a new logo to go with it, giving Houston a new look on multiple fronts.
"We're coming off one of the most active offseasons we've had in club history," general manager Matt Jordan told reporters on a Monday video call. "I believe we've made the most changes of any team in the league to their roster. We're really excited for this upcoming season and our focus has really been just to let our work speak for us.
"I think, a real focus of ours, and working with [head coach] Tab [Ramos] and the staff as well coming off last season, was strong competition at every position where we have you two, in some spots three players, where they're, they’re on their toes every day competing to get the best out of one another."
Going into his second year manning the sidelines for Houston, Ramos said he's looking forward to integrating the new players at his disposal. Center back Tim Parker, who joined the club via trade from the New York Red Bulls, is one of the marquee acquisitions. Proven MLS commodities like Joe Corona, Fafa Picault, Maxi Urruti and Derrick Jones are other new faces that are also in the mix.
The amount of movement to this point means that Houston's group going into the season is likely more or less set, although Ramos said that more additions, even potentially another Designated Player, aren't out of the question if the right opportunity presents itself.
"We've changed the roster a lot," Ramos said. "I feel like personally as a coach that I want to see how we're starting to turn the corner with seven new players that we added. And so having said that, I don't think we're in a hurry. I know that we've heard from ownership that they haven't closed the door to adding a DP, but also I feel like we're not at a point where we need to be desperate about filling that position.
"We are looking. If a good opportunity is out there for something that we need that's going to make us better, we’re going to try to move forward with that. But we're not desperate at the moment to add anyone."
One potential addition that would certainly qualify as a splashy name would be Mexico international defender Carlos Salcedo, who Houston have scouted according to a report last month from MLSsoccer.com's Tom Bogert. Salcedo, 27, currently plays in Liga MX for Concacaf Champions League-winners Tigres UANL and has 37 career senior caps for El Tri.
"I can confirm that we have been in touch with his representatives, trying to get more information about him," Jordan said of Salcedo. "It's a player we have tracked closely, that we think is very strong. But we have not made a formal offer, just to be clear."