Davy Arnaud - Houston Dynamo - training
Courtesy of Houston Dynamo

MLS lifer Davy Arnaud ready to take reins for Houston Dynamo

With the news that the Houston Dynamo have parted ways with head coach Wilmer Cabrera, the task of resurrecting Houston's season falls to a man who knows MLS quite well.

That would be Davy Arnaud, who was officially introduced as the Dynamo's interim boss at a Wednesday press conference. Arnaud had served as an assistant under Cabrera since 2017 and also served in that capacity under Ben Olsen for D.C. United during the 2016 season.

It's the first head coaching gig for the 39-year-old, but he's been around the league for a long while dating back to his playing career, starting with a stint with Sporting Kansas City that saw him score 43 goals in 240 appearances from 2002-2011, before he made 111 combined appearances for the Montreal Impact and D.C. United from 2012-2015. As a player, Arnaud was initially an attacking midfielder, before moving back into a more defensive role over the course of his career.

Arnaud now has nine games to make his mark, starting with a Saturday home bout against the Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada). While the Dynamo stand as a longshot to make the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, it's also not out of the realm of possibility. Houston are currently ninth in the West at 9-13-3 and 30 points, but the conference standings are a logjam behind Supporters' Shield-leading LAFC and a hot run of form during the stretch run could put them back in the mix.

Arnaud says making that a reality is his focus.

“I'm happy to get the chance and excited about what the next nine games are going to bring,” Arnaud said at his introductory presser, via the Houston Chronicle. “I think the main objective and our priority is this Saturday; the playoffs obviously being the ultimate goal in this nine-game road that we’re on.”

It seems like a long time ago now, but Houston got off to their best starting in franchise history this season, shooting out to a 6-1-1 record out of the gate, before they went into a 3-12-2 tailspin that led to Cabrera's departure. If Arnaud can find a way to recapture that early-season magic, it could go a long way in making his case for the permanent gig, which Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan said is a possibility based on how things materialize during the final nine games. 

“Right now, the focus needs to be that we provide our full support to Davy Arnaud,” Jordan said. “Davy is a coach that has the respect of all the players, all the staff as well. He is a very hard-working, committed coach, he has a growth mindset.

"So, I think that is very important, that in the process he will be considered for the full-time position while we continue to conduct an extensive search as well. In saying that, we are not feeling pressured to make any knee-jerk reactions or decisions. We are going to take our time and do our due diligence. We feel we have an infrastructure in place, we have a good staff in place that can lead this group."