The Houston Dynamo’s main need going into Tuesday’s MLS Supplemental Draft was a third goalkeeper to join Tally Hall and Tyler Deric as club backstops. The Dynamo wound up getting more than they bargained for.
Houston selected Old Dominion goalkeeper Evan Newton with the No. 7 pick of the first round on Tuesday, then added some potential midfield depth as well by taking Creighton’s Sergio Castillo in the second round. Both players will come into preseason training without contracts and will try to earn a roster spot. With the club’s off-budget roster almost settled, the Dynamo passed in the draft’s third round.
Newton was one of seven goalkeepers selected on Tuesday as several teams also added competition to the goalkeeping spot. Houston goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley, however, said he thinks Newton flew under the radar.
“I wasn’t happy with any of the guys I had seen previously or in the combine,” Hanley said. “I talked to current and former goalie coaches and teams he had trained with to help piece together the puzzle.”
Without as much first-hand knowledge as he had on some other players, Hanley relied on reputable sources to find out about Newton, both on and off the field. What he found out about character turned out to be a key.
“Other coaches said he was a hard worker and had a good upside,” Hanley said. “That’s something we like to hear. That’s a Dynamo thing. We always want guys we know are going to fight for each other, and that’s really important to have.”
Important as the off-field characteristics were, Newton’s on-field ability and experience throughout different levels of youth soccer should serve him well. Hanley credited the 6-foot-2 Newton's size and ability to play simply, which Newton echoed in describing his own game.
“I’m a very smart player, and I know the game really well,” Newton said. “I feel like I’m pretty sound all-around, and I’m good with the ball at my feet. That’s a trait that is becoming more and more important as a goalkeeper these days.”
The Dynamo also took a slightly unusual path to their second selection, Castillo. He has been a key to the Creighton defense over the last four years, at first on the back line and then at defensive midfield over the last two years. He caught the eye of Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston during an NCAA tournament game against SMU.
“I saw him play against SMU in the tournament, and he really impressed me,” Ralston said. “He won a ton of balls in the midfield, played simple, and was really fit and worked very hard, so I was really impressed.”
Castillo put Creighton ahead 2-1 in that game, playing against Dynamo Academy midfielder Josue Soto, but SMU tied the game with 15 seconds remaining. In the shootout, both Castillo and Soto converted as their teams’ first shooter. Ralston said he was more impressed by the two-way ability of the 5-foot-8 Castillo.
“He was all over the place breaking up everything, and he was a guy I wanted to see more of,” Ralston said. “So we thought we’d bring him in and see what he’s all about.”
The Dynamo will find out a lot more about Newton and Castillo in preseason training, as both players try to earn a roster spot despite being overlooked by mainstream scouting.