Over the next three weeks, MLSsoccer.com will take a look back at the 2012 season that was for all 19 clubs in Major League Soccer, starting with Toronto FC and ending with the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes. You can find the schedule and comprehensive reviews for each team here.
2012 record: 14-9-11 (53 points); 48 GF / 41 GA (+7 GD)
HOUSTON – With the season still fresh in his mind, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear hasn't had much time to digest it.
Coming off a year where his club accomplished all but it’s final, and ultimate, goal while setting franchise records in points (53) and goals (48), Kinnear is already looking to capitalize on what little offseason his club has to enjoy.
After a season-ending press conference, MLSsoccer.com caught up with the two-time MLS Cup champion head coach and 2011 and 2012 runner-up about where this season stacks up, the current makeup of the roster and what lies ahead for a young squad hoping to keep the level of success in Houston high.
MLSsoccer.com: Where does this season stand for you?
Kinnear: It’s been a really good season. To get to MLS Cup is a positive and to win our division in the reserves is a positive and to come out of our group in CONCACAF is a positive. I think we had a big success with Boniek [García] coming here and the new stadium, being undefeated at home. There’s a lot of positives here. So overall, in the end, you’re trophy-less, but when you look at the season there’s more highs than lows.
WATCH: Wrapping up the 2012 season
MLSsoccer.com: You have had success with a young roster, with a lot of guys on the right side of 30. How does that help going forward into next year?
Kinnear: It’s good to know that when you have player meetings that a lot of them are going to simply be, "Hey, here’s our preseason schedule," because you know guys are coming back. You still want to try and improve your team. You’re all chasing the champion and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re always trying to be the champion and trying to improve the team. It’s a pretty young team, some really young players to go along with some guys that have been around a while. Saying that, we’ve got a lot of games with international competitions, so we’ve got to try and keep the level of depth where it was this year and help us out for another good year.
MLSsoccer.com: How do you add to a team that has an established starting XI that are all under contract?
Kinnear: If there’s a player out there that makes your team better, you have to bring him in or try your best to bring him in. Going into this offseason, we’re not looking for a goalkeeper. why would we? In the back, we’re really solid. I think you always want to improve each line. I think in goal I don’t think we need to do anything and not defense, unless something comes up. Our focus is more toward the attacking end of things.
WATCH: Houston's road to MLS Cup
MLSsoccer.com: How big was the Geoff Cameron sale for your plans this coming year? Does it open up options for you?
Kinnear: It doesn’t just open things, I think, it keeps things closed. If you want to re-sign players or buy contracts down, we can do that. That money can go toward that. It doesn’t mean that just because we have Geoff Cameron [transfer] money we’re going to go out and buy players. When teams do well, players contracts get better and it makes the salary cap difficult to manage. Geoff’s sale and that money helps us in that respect and, possibly, going out and getting a player, too.
MLSsoccer.com: It’s a short offseason for you. Last year you went to Scotland. What are your plans for this offseason?
Kinnear: There’s not a lot of time. Christmas is right around the corner and you do need some time away from the game. Not saying we’re not going to do anything, but you do need your own break because it’s going to start up quick. It’s not six weeks for us, it’s more like four for the coaching staff. You have to try and take time away, but we have spoken to some people about possible players from [Central or South America] that we’ll be looking to make a trip or two down to check out. Then you’re flooded with emails with players wanting to come over and you have to filter through those. Hopefully you find one that can make your team better.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.