HOUSTON – As the transfer window opens, talk inevitably goes to where teams want to be when it closes. For the Houston Dynamo, that means far away from a first half of the season that was very much a mixed bag.
Under a new head coach in Owen Coyle there were expected steps that would need to be taken to get this roster and team where they wanted to be. Despite the talk of not rebuilding the club has gone through some growing that’s been both good and bad.
One thing is sure, with a veteran group and competitive staff, 21 points in 18 games is not going to cut it for them or in the Western Conference.
“The important thing for us, whether it’s in terms of trades or other things that need to be done, I think the important things you try and improve what you’ve got,” Coyle said. “I think the important thing is that when you come out of a transfer window you feel stronger than when you’ve come into it. I think it’s fair to say it’d be nice … to try and freshen up what you’ve got.”
The elephant in the room on Wednesday is the situation regarding Erick "Cubo" Torres. The club’s marquee signing is eligible for selection but the status of his arrival with the team is as of yet unresovled.
Torres’ expected arrival, plus Houston’s current stock of forwards – Will Bruin, Giles Barnes, Mauro Manotas and Chandler Hoffman – likely takes that position off the table in regards to summer additions.
While the depth of the squad has been improved in 2015, this time last year was right about when Houston went into a tailspin with injuries and a roster that could not keep up. Key additions such as Manotas, Alex and Leonel Miranda have helped mitigate some of the after effects of call-ups and injuries this year.
“We are not satisfied with our record or place in the standings at this point,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “Our responsibility is to do all we can to improve, so we are evaluating all our options as we head into this window.”
“There have been some positives and we’re certainly not satisfied with where we’re at, but the great thing is the group’s not satisfied and the players aren’t satisfied and they know they’re capable of more,” Jordan said. “We’re always committed to do whatever we can to improve the quality of the group. We’re going to make calculated and educated decisions. That’s something I think is very smart to keep with your approach.”
Jordan has played a big role in reforming Houston’s roster having plumbed Colombia, Argentina and Spain already to add to the Dynamo roster. While he declined to give specifics on his plans, Coyle said it would be a “busy summer” for the general manager.
One quality they may look to add is speed. It's something Coyle touted when he arrived, and Houston can benefit from the addition of players that put pressure a backline with their pace. On the other end of the field, the team’s defense has gone 13 games without a shutout and has seen shuffling due to international call-ups and poor runs of form.
Making moves, however, requires flexibility. Jordan declined to comment on Houston’s salary cap situation but the belief is the club would have to clear room to make additions.
What it makes for is an interesting transfer window that has Houston knowing they need to continue to taking steps towards their desired goal.
“You understand the nucleus of the squad we’ve inherited and within that there’s some key elements that’d be nice to add one or two bits of freshness too,” Coyle said. “In terms of transfer windows if something comes up and you think that improves us whether it’s defense or in the wide areas … if it’s something we feel enhances the squad we’ll like to do that.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.