If you have been paying attention, you may have realized the Houston Dynamo are a different team heading into 2013. Gone is the team that relied on launching the ball over the top and dead ball success and in its place is a group that can attack teams in multiple ways.
Teams and fans around the league, however, may not have paid attention. The Dynamo still have the stigma of being a re-start, dump it over the top-type team.
It is not clear if Houston’s run to the MLS Cup final last season changed any impressions, but inside the Dynamo locker room there is certainly a feeling of versatility and pride in their ability to attack in multiple ways.
“If you watch our games you know what we’re capable of doing,” said veteran midfielder Brad Davis. “If people want to think we’re a direct team, that’s fine. We’ll just come out and knock the ball around. We don’t worry about what other people think. We know what we can do. We’re going to go out on the weekends or whenever the game is and try and prove that point.”
Houston’s transformation started last season. The club showed signs of emphasizing possession early in the season but it really kicked into gear in the summer with a shift to the 4-3-3 and the additions of Giles Barnes, Ricardo Clark and Boniek Garcia. The club started to emphasis possession and worked to control and move ball from in the middle of the field.
The Dynamo have showed more of the same in preseason. The club has kept the ball on the ground for the most part and looked to use the long ball when it benefits them, not out of necessity. It has become a mix of styles that can be very effective and one the club is proud to be able to pull off.
To keep the style going, the club will have to show that their midfield make-up, especially in the middle, can drive the attack; something Moffat said he was not worried about because of Clark’s underrated ability on the ball. Add in Barnes and Luiz Camargo and the options are there. Also, there are questions surrounding who will man the forward line with Will Bruin in the absence of Omar Cummings.
Despite a few questions, the Dynamo look poised to keep showing off their versatility. Whether anyone notices will work itself out in the end.
“I think this team’s had a tag attached to them. We were playing against teams last year and that’s how they were talking about us being but we were dominating possession in most games,” said Adam Moffat. “We’re able to mix it up. We can keep the ball, which is good against good opponents, and we can dog it out.
“I think we have a good balance in the team and understanding of how we want to play.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @DarrellLovell.