MLS Regular Season
It was a long season for the Dynamo, especially for an organization so accustomed to winning. Since relocating prior to the 2006 season, Houston had never experienced a fall without the MLS Cup Playoffs. This past season, the Dynamo finished 13 points off the pace for a postseason berth.
MLSsoccer.com recently sat down with head coach Dominic Kinnear to talk about what went wrong in 2010 and the team’s plans for next season.
MLSsoccer.com: What is the first priority this offseason to get the team back into playoff contention?
This offseason should be the busiest one to date for the Houston Dynamo. Off the field, the team will work on breaking ground on its new stadium and completing its training facility. On the player side, the Dynamo will be making extensive changes to their roster, including preparing for an eventual designated player. Here is a checklist of several items to keep an eye on in this winter.
Finalize stadium deal and break ground
To say the Houston Dynamo’s 2010 season was a disappointment may be a bit of an understatement. After a frustrating loss in the Western Conference final in 2009, the expectations were that Houston would at least compete for a playoff spot despite losing several key components in the offseason.
When the Portland Timbers hired former Houston assistant coach John Spencer as their head coach, the Dynamo knew their former assistant would have the option to pluck an unprotected player away from his old team via the Expansion Draft.
Major League Soccer announced its home-grown player
initiative in November 2006, allowing clubs exclusive rights to sign players
they developed, provided the player was registered prior to enrolling at a
four-year university or joining the U.S. U-17 national team.
Major League Soccer today announced the available player list for the 2010
Expansion Draft on Wednesday, November 24, at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Portland
Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC will each select 10 players during the
Representatives from all 18
MLS clubs will participate in an Expansion Draft teleconference which will be
streamed on MLSsoccer.com during a special LIVE edition
of ExtraTime Radio. The coverage will begin at 1:45 p.m. ET.
Houston Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz has returned to training at Nottingham Forest. The 20-year-old worked out with the English Championship side last year and cites the experience as playing a major part of his success in 2010.
“That was my secret last year — to go overseas,” Cruz before leaving for England. “It’s a different mentality, and it’s good to try something new. I went to Nottingham Forest last year, and it helped me as I don’t need the same amount of time off. Three months off and I might be pulling out my hair.”
With the MLS Expansion Draft around the corner, it’s time for the Houston Dynamo to start thinking about which players they will choose to protect and which they will leave vulnerable to the league’s two new expansion teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers.
With former Dynamo assistant coach John Spencer in charge of one of the the Timbers, the Dynamo will have to be particularly careful about who they leave exposed in the draft. Here is MLSsoccer.com’s take on who Houston should protect.
With players under contract and the expansion draft still to
come, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear has been understandably reluctant to
discuss specifics of potential changes to his roster for next year.
However, some specific candidates for next year's roster will be in town this week, as
11 experienced players will join three Dynamo Academy players and three first-team players for a training camp in Dynamo orange, under the direction of the Dynamo coaching staff.
Dynamo forward Brian Ching's sensational bicycle kick was left off the initial list for MLSSoccer.com's AT&T Goal of the Year Award on Tuesday, but Dynamo fans can still vote for Ching and other Houston strikes from Lovel Palmer and Dominic Oduro, with voting closing on Thursday.
Palmer and Oduro, along with 28 other Goal of the Week winners from the regular season, are listed on the voting website. There is also a write-in option, and the Dynamo are encouraging interested fans to write in "Brian Ching bicycle kick" in the 'Other' box at the bottom of the poll.