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?
Kinnear: We need to defend better, and that’s team defending. Our goals-against was second-worst in the league and, when you see [that], you end up with one of the worst records in the league. So the defense has to be corrected before next season.
MLSsoccer.com: The team lost Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark during last year’s offseason. How do you think Lovel Palmer and Geoff Cameron did replacing them?
Kinnear: I thought the beginning of the season, they were good. One reason our season went down was because of Geoff’s injury. The partnership between the two of them at the end of the season: they got more comfortable with each other and only played 10 or so games together. I think they got more comfortable talking and switching positions and, in the long run, it’s a good partnership for us.
MLSsoccer.com: With Andy Najar and Bill Hamid examples of home-grown players that have helped their respective teams, do you see a need for additional oversight of the developmental side of the team to maximize the value the first team receives from the academy?
Kinnear: I pay attention to it, but my role is to win games on Saturday. If the developmental players are good enough and show promise, that’s where I will develop them further. We have two players in our academy, Bryan Celis and Fernando Piña, who are both promising players. But for me to be involved in developing those players more at this time, I would be stretching myself too thin.
MLSsoccer.com: You recently finished the player combine. How did it go, and did anybody stand out?
Kinnear: It was OK. We had a staff meeting to go over our thoughts on the players. We are also traveling extensively and having weekly meetings to discuss players and prospects. We’ve seen some good players, and we’ve discussed some possibilities, and that is all it is right now.
MLSsoccer.com: We’ll probably see some changes to the roster in the coming months – do you enter the offseason with a transfer budget, or is the team restricted to signing players who are free agents?
Kinnear: It would be great if everyone was free, but that’s not usually the case. Money plays a big part in it, and you can’t comment on it at this time until you look at the individual player that would be available, and that is difficult to gauge.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.