The Houston Dynamo could be leaning toward picking up another central defender or a forward to partner with Brian Ching with the No. 7 pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft (11 a.m. CT, ESPN2), but head coach Dominic Kinnear will be forced to play the waiting game a bit to see who’s available when his team’s shot comes up.
“We’ve gone through who we see as players we like, that fit the way we play, and who we think might be around at that particular time so we don’t get caught by surprise,” Kinnear said Tuesday from the MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I think [the coaches] all have a good grasp on who could go in the first five, but you never know. Everyone does it differently.”
Kinnear also stated that there may be a chance to move up in draft order, but without knowing for sure, he plans to wait patiently for his turn at the seventh slot. The Dynamo have no other picks in the draft.
Kinnear also said several international players have had standout performances at the combine, including John Rooney of England, and Joao Plata and Victor Estupiñán, both of Ecuador.
“Of the international players, I think those three have performed the best over the three days, and I think all of them have shown that there could be a future for them in MLS,” Kinnear said.
Not only will Houston be able to land talent with its lone SuperDraft pick, but it will also look to rebuild with three picks in the Supplemental Draft on Jan. 18. Kinnear views the supplemental picks as a way to take chances on players that might otherwise be overlooked.
“I think with the developmental league now, you draft players and take a look at them to see if you can develop their potential to make the squad,” he said.
With three new signings already this offseason and the draft looming, the Dynamo will look to improve their roster even further by cultivating home-grown talent. Dynamo Academy product Josue Soto, who played in the midfield for Southern Methodist University, will likely have a chance to join the team after the Dynamo expressed plans to offer him a formal contract.
“We’ve expressed to him that we want him to take part in our preseason, and overall, I’ve been impressed with the way he’s handled himself over the past few days,” Kinnear said.
As a home-grown player, the Dynamo can secure Soto without exposing him to other teams in the draft.
“I think it shows well for the Academy,” Kinnear said. “It’s nice that we can bring players in at an early age and give them some proper training. If they go to college, you can protect them if you think they’ve progressed enough to become professional soccer players. You take advantage of that. I think the impact of the academy on the draft in the near future will be very big.”
The Dynamo have cast a wide net since the season ended, with scouting trips to South America and players participating in Dynamo camps coming from Europe, Africa, and Central America.
“It’s been busy, and it needed to be,” Kinnear said. “With the way we ended the season last year, and the roster moves we’ve made until now and players coming in and going out, it needed to be busy.”