After a disappointing season, the Dynamo look forward to a bounce-back year. However, with many new faces on the roster, just how will this Dynamo team do? What are the real expectations for this upcoming season?
What a roller coaster season it was for the Houston Dynamo last year. Winners and current holders of the U.S. Open Cup, but failed to make the MLS playoffs. Overall, a mixed year. However, things have looked a little different this year in the off-season for Houston. New faces have been brought in, and some are pretty recognizable.
While it is yet to be seen what they will bring, one thing these signings have brought with them is optimism. Let’s begin with the departures and new signings.
Jared Watts (Center-back), Andrew Wegner (Right Winger), Dylan Remick (Left-back), Tyler Deric (Goalkeeper), Adolfo Machado (Center-back).
The first three mentioned in this list were guys that made impacts on the squad when available. However, for Watts and Remick, health was the area they struggled in the most. GK Deric was loaned out and Machado left on free transfer.
While some of these names are not household names, they are interesting signings. For example, Struna is an experienced defender from the Italian Serie B league. Defense is preached throughout Italian soccer. Just take a look at the national team.
Hariston and McNamara bring intelligence and speed to the midfield. Figueroa brings not only a veteran presence but also a connection with his Honduran teammates. Midfielders Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto know how to play with Figueroa thanks to their years together with the Honduran National Team. Oh, and Maynor Figueroa can defend. In fact, he brings depth and versatility to a back line that needs it.
However, the biggest arrival is the 21-year-old Ronaldo Pena. The feisty and hungry young forward is ready to spend his first full season in orange. In addition, he adds more depth to a balanced attacking trio that features Mauro Manotas, Elis, and Tomas Martinez.
Overall, not too shabby this off-season. But what can this team realistically expect in 2019?
On the aforementioned front line, a dynamic attacking style of football. In the midfield? Intelligence and balance that will allow for better play-making and ball possession.
While those areas sound great, and indeed they succeeded last season, here’s the kicker. Quite frankly, the Dynamo were atrocious at times on defense last year. However, just the signings signal improvement. And while a ball has yet to be kicked, there is reason to hope.
In fact, the defense has something that last season wasn’t present. Depth. With the improved depth and versatility, Houston will have a fighting chance.
Last year’s Dynamo posted a record of 10 wins, 8 draws, and 18 losses. Good for ninth in the West. They scored as many goals as they gave up all season. 58 up, 58 down. The highlight of the season? Denying Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the L.A. Galaxy a playoff spot. And of course, winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The victory against the Philadelphia Union proved to be among the best performances of 2018 for the Dynamo.
Unfortunately, winning the U.S. Open Cup doesn’t translate to making the playoffs. As a matter of fact, it added to the mystery of 2018. While injuries hampered the team all season, they still possessed enough to make the playoffs. Lack of defense ultimately held the team back from what it could really pull off. But, this team looks healthy and ready to compete.
So what should be expected from the Dynamo this season? A playoff run, at best, defend the U.S. Open Cup and even repeat as Open Cup champs.
Unfortunately, with health still being a question mark, don’t expect a title to come so easily. With the quality of good teams in the West, it will be hard to make it out and win the MLS Cup. Not to mention, the current holders, Atlanta United, are out East. Nonetheless, it isn’t impossible.
Final predictions for this team? A four or five seed out West with the potential to make some noise. This team, if healthy, can create some upset buzz in the West. They have the potential to really knock someone out.
What do you think Orange Nation? What are your predictions for this season? Let us know down below in the comments.
And as always, see you this upcoming season Dynamo fans.