HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo made a series of eyebrow-raising transactions on Tuesday night, announcing the club has released Luis Landin, officially signed Anthony Obodai and parted ways with assistant coach John Spencer.
Spencer – or “Spenny,” as the players called him – had been notably absent this week from practice, and several Dynamo players claimed his ultimate destination was Oregon, for a coaching role with the 2011 MLS expansion Portland Timbers.
Both Dynamo and Timbers officials declined to comment on Spencer’s plans.
“It was a great four-and-a-half years with him,” Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said of his longtime assistant. “I didn’t really know him before he came here, and I loved working with him and becoming friends with him, talking to him and getting his ideas for games.”
Spencer, a former Scottish international and a Colorado Rapids player for four seasons, had been a Houston assistant since 2006. Perhaps his best accomplishment during his tenure was the development of the organization’s reserve team. Spencer worked religiously with the backups during practice and helped turn the Dynamo Reserves into the 2008 Reserve Division Champions.
“Without him and the way he demanded so much from them, some guys wouldn’t have gone on to be the players they are,” noted Kinnear. “I think some of those players that were reserves owe a debt to gratitude to John that they are playing first-team soccer now.”
While Spencer’s absence from Houston camp has been noticeable this week and Obodai arrived at training last week, Landín’s departure comes as a bit of a shock. The onetime Mexican international never really fit in with Houston, logging two goals and three assists over 20 appearances while battling through injuries. He was signed on loan from Morelia last August as the Dynamo’s first Designated Player.
“We are sorry things didn’t work out with Luis Landín,” Dynamo chief operating officer Chris Canetti said in a statement. “Our hopes and expectations for this signing were never met. We believe it is the right time for the club and Luis to move forward. We wish him well in the future.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.