MLS late last week issued new roster rules allowing each team to add two additional roster spots for homegrown players. The rules now allow two homegrown players, 20 senior players, and four additional protected players.
Since the Dynamo already have two homegrown players on their roster in Tyler Deric and Francisco Navas Cobo, this essentially opens up two more roster spots for the team to use on other players.
“We got Tyler [Deric] and Francisco [Navas Cobo], so it obviously opens up two spots and some extra money,” coach Dominic Kinnear said. “It makes us more flexible in what we can do. We’re looking to improve the squad. It changes things a little bit in terms of numbers and money so that maybe we can be a little more aggressive at times.”
The Dynamo used some of their newfound roster flexibility immediately by signing Joseph Ngwenya on Tuesday. Ngwenya will fill the one remaining senior roster spot available.
The team should have additional flexibility to potentially move other players from the senior roster to the protected player list and open up additional senior roster spots, but they have not made any moves along those lines yet.
While the team came to terms with the former Dynamo forward Ngwenya, his international transfer certificate is held by the Turkish club Antalyaspor. Consequently, it could take some time before his paperwork is finalized.
Everyone likely remembers Ngwenya’s last moment in orange, when he scored a goal in the 2007 MLS Cup and helped the Dynamo earn their first championship in franchise history. Ngwenya spoke this week about his travels since that goal, which have taken him from Germany to Turkey.
“It was great,” said Ngwenya. “It’s always good to experience something different. It didn’t work out as I would have planned or wished, but it was a great experience.”
With Dynamo forwards Brian Ching and Cam Weaver injured and Luis Landin suspended for Saturday’s game, Dominic Oduro may be the only forward available on the roster. If Ngwenya can formalize his paperwork in time, he may jump straight into the starting lineup. If not, Brian Mullan may again be forced up top.
“I’m pulling for Joe, big-time,” Mullan quipped.
Andrew Hainault has suffered a calf contusion and is now listed as doubtful for Saturday’s match against Chivas USA. Kinnear may be forced to go with Craig Waibel, Adrian Serioux or Ryan Cochrane if Hainault is unable to play.