As an assistant, John Spencer was always a fiery presence on the Houston sideline.
Getty Images

Draft has players feeling vulnerable

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.

Corey Ashe, Dominic Oduro, Eddie Robinson, Pat Onstad: Do any of those names interest Spencer? They are just some of the notable players from the Houston Dynamo’s list of unprotected players. Though Spencer and his staff are likely busy evaluating each team’s list of unprotected players in advance of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft, the team’s former assistant will have a familiarity and insight into the players on Houston’s list.

“Spenny knows what he wants, and he knows us in and out,” midfielder Corey Ashe said before he was left unprotected. “It’s crazy knowing that we may lose two players. It’s kind of nerve-wracking, because you don’t want to leave here, and it’s unfortunate, but it can be a great possibility for a player, and it’s good for the league in terms of exposure.”

Added defender Eddie Robinson, “With two expansion teams, there is a very good opportunity that we lose two players. John Spencer knows our players well, and I know he will take someone from our team.”

Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear dispelled the notion that Houston is at a disadvantage with Spencer in charge of Portland.

“If you look around the league, everyone knows everyone’s roster,” Kinnear said. “Obviously he’s been here and knows our players well. He may also know some more of our guys' practice habits first-hand more than other teams, but I think he probably has a good idea what he is looking for.”

Perhaps more concerning to Houston would be if Spencer passes on selecting a Houston player.

“You would naturally think he would take someone, but if he doesn’t that might say something as well,” said defender Bobby Boswell. “You would think with two teams we are going to lose someone, as we have some pretty good guys, and you can’t protect all of them.”

Dwain Capodice is a contributor to Questions or Comments can be sent via email to