The club’s most exciting offseason in recent memory is in the books, and the Houston Dynamo believe they’ve found a new direction.
After failing to reach the playoffs last year and losing longtime head coach Dominic Kinnear to the San Jose Earthquakes in October, the Dynamo made a frenzy of moves, hiring general manager Matt Jordan in the front office, bringing Owen Coyle in to man the coach’s box and signing newcomers all over the field, the most notable being Mexican international and ex-Chivas USA forward Erick “Cubo” Torres.
With the final grade on the changes ultimately due in December – or so the club hopes – the Dynamo brass is happy with where things stand as preseason camp opens on Monday.
“I think it’s been a tremendous offseason for us,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “If you look at some of the big signings we’ve made … We’ve achieved many of the objectives we set off to achieve so far. We still have time and ability to make moves and make us stronger. “
Houston didn’t hit he reset bottom completely. After all, the roster wasn’t barren to begin with. The Dynamo returns two double-digit scorers in Will Bruin and Giles Barnes and five World Cup veterans. Part of the equation this offseason was finding players that fit with the holdovers from the 2014 roster.
“We put stock in a person’s character and how they’ll fit into the group,” said Jordan. “The acquisitions we’ve made we feel are good team players that are committed to the success of the team.”
Houston added to that mix on every line this offseason. The marquee move was acquiring Torres, who is currently on loan at Chivas Guadalajara and will return to MLS sometime this summer.
Outside of waiting for Torres’ arrival, most eyes will be on the back line. A unit that experienced a rough 2014 returns mostly intact, with just the addition of Spanish center back Raul Rodriguez added to the mix.
After giving up 58 goals last year, there are certainly questions about whether a familiar cast can improve and return to the Dynamo to a championship level. The club has faith in Rodriguez however, and is banking that his arrival – coupled with a full year of DaMarcus Beasley at left back and Luis Garrido at holding midfield – will make a world of difference.
In addition to bringing in Torres and Rodriguez, the Dynamo added young Argentine midfielder Leonel Miranda and made several moves for depth, including trading and signing for veteran backup goalkeeper Joe Willis and bringing midfielder Nathan Sturgis back for his second stint with the club.
All that tinkering – which is likely not yet done – has brought a renewed excitement to the Dynamo, with the club’s frenetic offseason setting the table for what should be a very interesting 2015.
“We believe we can add some quality players to that mix and have that balance,” Coyle told MLSsoccer.com. “Looking forward, we’re building a team that can stand toe-to-toe with the best. What we want to do is give ourselves a fighting chance. With the type of players we’re bringing in and adding to the squad, we’ve certainly got a chance to do that.”