Good morning Dynamo fans!...ok, it's the afternoon, I apologize, it's been a busy Monday. On this edition of Monday Morning Centre Back I want to talk about defense, but not in the way you might think.
As of this moment, the Dynamo have the following defenders on the roster: Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe, Warren Creavalle, Oscar Recio and Kofi Sarkodie. A solid group that will only be better once Sarkodie is back healthy. Trouble is, there's a black cloud hanging over the defense in the form of transfer rumors and the very real possibility that Cameron could be taking his talents overseas during the summer transfer window.
This point of this post is for speculation about what the Dynamo will do if Cameron ends up leaving.
First off, I'm 100% certain Dominic Kinnear has a plan for this contingency. I don't know what that plan is and there's no reason for him to disclose it to anyone, but rest assured, there is a plan. The Dynamo have been well aware of the possibility of Cameron moving to Europe for awhile now and they aren't wearing blinders, so they are prepared. What I'm hoping is that the experiences from trying to replace Dwayne De Rosario, Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden have taught them to have a better plan in place.
It's easier said than done of course, because convincing talented players to come to MLS and/or Houston is a tricky sell. Add to that the team's persistent, and perfectly reasonable, financial restraint and trying to replace talented players quickly is never going to be an easy task. What I hope is simply that past experiences have prepared the Dynamo for the next time the situation came along.
If Cameron departs, the immediate thought is that the team has to replace him...which is of course impossible. Players like Geoff Cameron don't grow on trees so Kinnear isn't going to be able to magically find the perfect replacement. Instead, I think the team will use the transfer fee (of which they would get a good chunk) to help fill the gaps in the roster.
What the Dynamo have going for them is that they have enough defensive depth to not have to make any knee jerk move. We have three capable central defenders that should be able to handle the job for the rest of the season. There's no question that Cameron makes Bobby Boswell better, but he's a professional and no matter who he's partnered with, he'll do his job.
So here's the question, what's the long term plan? If Kofi Sarkodie is the right back of the future, he's going to have to get some playing time sooner, rather than later (once healthy). That leaves three defensive spots for four players. Taylor, Boswell, Hainault and Ashe are not going to raise a stink, but I'm convinced every single one of them wants to play. If they are content with sharing time and rotating to fit different challenges from the opposition, all the better. If not, do you have to trade someone?
Hainault is the most obvious choice simply because I think he'd be the most coveted player by other MLS clubs. We already know Montreal executed the entire "Ching Event" in an attempt to get Hainault away from the Dynamo, so you can assume that other clubs would be interested. I don't want to get rid of Hainault, quite the contrary, but I also think he'd probably like to be playing regularly in a central role. He's been a trooper this season playing at the fullback spot a lot, but he's better in the middle and deserves to be playing there.
Would trading Hainault for some combination of players, allocation money and/or draft picks make sense? In a perfect world, you keep everyone and enjoy having depth and experience, but that doesn't always work in a tight salary cap situation. If there's enough playing time to go around and the money works, this isn't even a matter to discuss, but I can't help but feel some kind of move will end up being made.
At this point, this is simply a discussion starter. I'm not advocating changes, or saying anyone needs to go, I just think it might be interesting to discuss how the dominoes might fall if Cameron makes the jump overseas.
I'm curious what you think about what the Dynamo will do if Cameron leaves. I apologize if this post is a bit rambling, but my brain is still processing all this. For now, let's just open the floor and see what all of you think.