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Houston Dynamo keep their core intact, but decline options on Omar Cummings, Andrew Driver

The Houston Dynamo are sure they have the core of their roster intact for next season, and on Tuesday they made clear who is staying and who could be on the way out.

Among the group that will stay in Houston is captain Brad Davis, leading scorers Giles Barnes and Will Bruin, along with regulars Ricardo Clark, Boniek García and Tyler Deric.

An intriguing name on the list of players who had options exercised is Alexander López. The Honduran international, who failed to gain a place in the team the past season-and-a-half after signing on a reported $1 million transfer as a Young Designated Player, was a case many were watching.

“Looking at Alex’s age and skill set that was a decision we decided to take,” general manager Matt Jordan told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “He certainly has technical ability and has some good qualities that played a part in that decision.”

López’s retention could signal a move to a more attacking system that will not require as much two-way play.

Another interesting decision came on the move to keep Jermaine Taylor, who battled injury and consistency issues in 2014. His versatility, however, proved valuable.

“Jermaine’s a player that brings flexibility to our backline,” Jordan said. “In this league it’s always good to have players that are flexible that can help the team in different ways.”

Also, the club has been notified that its last two first round draft picks, Jason Johnson and AJ Cochran, will retain their Generation adidas status in 2015.

Leaving the club will be five players including forward Omar Cummings, who scored three goals after Bruin’s injury late last season, and midfielder Andrew Driver. Releasing both veterans will free up significant cap space for the club moving into the offseason.

Other who had their options declined were midfielder Brian Ownby, midfielder Bryan Salazar and defender Anthony Arena.

Those four join midfielder Servando Carrasco (out of contract), goalkeeper Tally Hall (trade agreed to Orlando City SC) and defender Eric Brunner, who announced his retirement last week.

“This is the time of the year where difficult decisions are required,” Jordan said. “It’s handled on a case-by-case basis. Some of the players are returning and some are not.”

Of the players who were released, the club could look to negotiate to keep some in the fold. Houston have interest in talking to Carrasco about staying. They could also look to keep Cummings, who came through for the club late last season, if they can negotiate a contract. All waived players have the choice to enter the Re-Entry Draft process.

Slated to return in addition to the names above are Corey Ashe, Designated Player DaMarcus Beasley, Will Bruin, David Horst, Michael Lisch, Kofi Sarkodie, Mark Sherrod, and loanee Luis Garrido.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.