While the Houston Dynamo played to a 3-0 victory over Houston Baptist University in a scrimmage this afternoon at HASP, the sidebar conversation was mainly on the new faces - today on one more than the others. In the second half, Dominic Kinnear changed all 11 players, and number 39 in the midfield just wasn't instantly recognizable.
Turns out, the Dynamo have added another trailist to their 2013 preseason camp - Franck Songo'o. Last season, Songo'o was with the Portland Timbers, but it's his prior history that makes things a bit more interesting. With a background that included time in England and Spain, Songo'o certainly will get the fans talking.
When you look at his previous experience, you'll find a long list of clubs - really due to the fact he has been loaned out several times in his young career. He's a product of the Barcelona academy (yes that Barcelona) and made an appearance for the Barcelona C club. He spent a couple years at Portsmouth in England and Zaragoza in Spain. In February of last year, the Timbers inked Songo'o to a deal to bring the bright prospect to Portland.
Songo'o was absent in the first two days of Portland's camp and pretty much let the world know Portland was not going to be his home in 2013 via Twitter. The following day, Caleb Porter confirmed that Songo'o will not be back with the club. Over at our SB Nation Timbers site, Stumptown Footy, there is a decent discussion about Songo'o from readers in the comment section of their training notes from Wednesday.
While his background certainly looks impressive and he was welcomed in Portland with high expectations, his overall productivity just wasn't up to par. He played in 27 matches with the Timbers, contributing a goal and five assists. One consistent thing I've read about Songo'o and his fallout at Portland was his overall fitness. Looking back on his 2012 season, he only went a full 90 minutes in six games. In addition to fitness questions, he was often lacking on the defensive side - something we know Dominic Kinnear demands of his players no matter what position you play.
I was informed by the Dynamo today that Songo'o is still under contract with Portland, but they have agreed to allow a trial here in Houston. According to the MLS Players Union, Songo'o was on the books for a guaranteed salary of $70,000 in 2012. The Oregonian reported Songo'o was expected to see a significant increase this year, but apparently Portland doesn't see the value in the number.
Today was obviously his first day in Houston so it's a bit early to determine if he's going to fit in orange, but at 25 years of age and having the background that he does, there is some positive upside when you think of the possibilities.
Next up for the Dynamo is a trip to Tucson, Arizona for the Desert Friendlies. I'm sure Songo'o will get plenty of minutes so Kinnear can see if the Cameroonian is a project he's willing to take on.
What's you thoughts on Songo'o and his possibilities of finding a spot in Houston?