Rarely has Owen Coyle been able to spend a week where all the available talent to him was put on display. The Houston Dynamo's new boss has, however, spent the past five days doing exactly that, watching six games and evaluating college players ahead of the MLS Super Draft.
Houston picks eighth during Thursday's draft in Philadelphia, and, after nearly a week of study time, Coyle believes his club has options to add a solid piece to its growing roster.
"There's no doubt there are some talented young players there, and for us the task's to get the best player possible," Coyle told MLSsoccer.com in a phone interview. "For me, none of them are the finished article, so from my perspective I'm looking at players with talent and players that have scope for improvement.
"Obviously with that No. 8 pick, I would hope they'd come in and with a preseason under their belt, and being part of our wonderful club and getting the intensive coaching that we'll bring, that certainly helps develop them so they'll challenge for a position in the team."
Looking at Houston's roster there is no glaring "need" area. The club currently has 22 players under contract and options in all areas. What that leaves is a club that has a number of options come draft day.
This draft class is being touted for having plenty of talented attackers and defensive midfielders. Houston looks set at the former after signing one of the top forwards on the MLS market in Erick "Cubo" Torres just before Christmas and boasting Will Bruin and Giles Barnes, who combined for 21 goals last season. But grabbing a forward with their top pick is not out of the question for the Dynamo.
"For me it's not about a need area," Coyle said. "I think you can never have enough goalscorers and matchwinners on your club. I will have no hesitation of taking another attacking player. Every coach is trying to strengthen the squad.
"If a player comes available and you may think, 'That's not an area that needs strengthening,' but if it's a very talented player, then the more of them you have at your club the better chance you have of winning games."
Coyle got an eyeful of the draft's talent in Florida, watching six games in five days at the annual MLS Player Combine. It's a grueling process for players, who have to deal with fatigue, a lack of familiarity with one another, and at times, rainy weather.
For the Dynamo's new boss, however, the five days were about wading through a new process to find talent – and shaking a lot of hands.
"We do things very differently at home ... I've got to know every club here and got to a lot of people I didn't know within the league, which is great as well," Coyle said. "There's no doubt that in the Combine there's talented players. We sat down and interviewed a lot of the players yesterday. I think that was important to get a feel for the young men and their personality.
"The key thing is to try and get the best talent available that can help the respective club. You're trying to get the best player that you can improve on and can be a part of the Houston Dynamo."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.