Winning the 2018 U.S. Open Cup trophy is the Houston Dynamo’s saving grace in what otherwise has been a difficult season.
By winning the tournament for the first time in the club’s history, the Dynamo get an automatic berth into next year’s Concacaf Champions League. It’s a stage Houston haven’t competed on since 2013.
And with an Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs appearance unlikely for the Dynamo this season, their attention may now shift to the Champions League.
“Well, it's an international tournament and every time you play an international tournament, it's going to be important, but challenging and more difficult,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said after Wednesday night’s win. “So if we have been having some difficulties with the MLS season and with the injuries, [then] we need to prepare ourselves much better.
“We need to be sure that we extend the roster for a competition like that. Because when you have international competition and when you have the MLS competition, you're going to go for it, you have to go for it all."
Cabrera added that Houston need enough depth to have two teams competing at the same time next season.
“There are going to be a lot of opportunities for players to be here to help us compete, and to be exposed to both MLS and the Concacaf Champions League,” he said.
For Dynamo vice president and general manager Matt Jordan, having Houston play in the Champions League gives him an opportunity to see how his team measures up with the best clubs in the region.
“We have a roster that we believe in every player on the roster,” Jordan said. “And the beautiful thing is that every player contributed to this championship. Every player, and that’s a true testament to a good team.”
When asked about building depth for the future, Jordan said his staff just wanted to enjoy the night and think about the Champions League and roster depth soon after.
But one thing is certain: Jordan likes the current Dynamo roster. It’s the one that won Houston’s first trophy since the club lifted the 2007 MLS Cup.