It has been a quiet offseason for the Houston Dynamo. A strong returning nucleus and a restrictive salary cap situation have kept the Dynamo to one move since the end of 2013, a trade for center back David Horst from the Portland Timbers.
That is set to change when the MLS SuperDraft takes place Thursday. With 19 players on the roster and so much in the fold, the Dynamo will look supplement their roster with the 16th, 32nd and 54th draft picks. Those picks—either drafting three players or using them to trade for experienced players—will be used to help fill the gaps in their roster.
“We could draft by need, which for us, would be picking up a player up front, possibly a wide player or possibly more depth along the back line,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve obviously got picks we can use to take players or we’ve got picks we can use as assets in trade deals.
Those three areas are certainly needs, but Houston is far from desperate. The Dynamo have nine players returning that are considered strong incumbent starters and two others—center midfielder Warren Creavalle and center back Eric Brunner—making strong late season cases for starting positions.
“We’ve got a strong nucleus of players,” Canetti continued. “We obviously need to add some numbers to that and whether we take draft picks or use the draft picks on other MLS players. All options are on the table.”
Houston’s needs seem to fit the draft perfectly if you believe some in the MLS community, especially with the amount of defensive players expected to be selected. Also, there is the idea that the draft pool is heavy on depth—what Houston needs—and short on impact players. Philadelphia Union John Hackworth told local media Monday that the draft is full of depth with few players having the ability to make first year impacts.
As the talent level of the draft comes is up for debate, Houston could do their best to avoid it by harkening back to a former philosophy. While Houston has found gems such as Geoff Cameron, Creavalle and Corey Ashe, they have also used picks to acquire established talent, something the club relied on in its early years.
Trades, however, are tough to predict. Considering they have a late first round selection, it is unknown what type of talent will be left to choose from, making the trade route one the club considers.
“We always go into the combine and draft with an aggressive approach that trades are something we’d explore,” Canetti said. “We’ve traded our picks to get proven MLS talent, which is a philosophy we’ve had and probably still share that philosophy, and we’ve also traded up to get talent. We’ll go [into the draft] with the same mentality.
“At the end of the day the same goals in mind at every time, what’s in the best interest of the team and what will help strengthen the team and help the team in 2014.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.