A lot of companies use the Moment principles for their customer service training. That being when you are helping a customer you will provide one of three moment types to a customer; a Moment of Magic, a Moment of Mediocrity, or a Moment of Misery. All three of these will derive from one additional moment. The Moment of Truth.
The Houston Dynamo are now at their Moment of Truth for fans. Can they prove they have a formula to stay competitive and bring us some silver thus giving us the Moment of Magic? Will they place mid-table, barely qualify for the playoffs and get knocked out again giving the fans a Moment of Mediocrity? Or do they miss the playoffs and provide a Moment of Misery?
Next year will mark a milestone for the Houston Dynamo. It will mark the 10 year anniversary the San Jose Earthquakes made the announcement they were making Houston their new home. To reminisce briefly let's take a look at our Moments of Magic from the past.
2006-2009 what I like to call our glory years in our short near decade span.
2006-2007 back-to-back championships, an act not done since the Houston Rockets and as it stands the city's last titles.
2008, the Houston Dynamo make another run for the playoffs and look as if they would be going for the three-peat. Due to some mistakes the backline made and a formidable NYRB team. we get knocked out in the Western Conference Semifinal.
2009, again the Dynamo show dominance and make a huge push to the playoffs and it’s very arguable they should have been in the final but thanks to some "rolling blackouts" occurring in L.A. the Galaxy were able to give us the first of our three playoff losses.
2011, with a huge help from MVP finalist Brad Davis the Houston Dynamo make the MLS Finals for the first time in three years.
2012, brought the magic of the smile to the team. Oscar Boniek Garcia joined the team as our "first official" designated player (say what you want Landín doesn’t count). Thanks to the spark he provided coupled with the in-form scoring of Will Bruin the team was able to grind out another playoff run and make it to the finals and once again see another heart breaking loss to L.A.
Webster defines mediocrity as follows "the quality of something that is not very good, the quality or state of being mediocre, a person who does not have the special ability to do something well." For arguments sake I am only putting one year in this category, although 2012 had a very strong argument in my opinion since we made it to the MLS finals I decided to make it a Moment of Magic, but if we were knocked out of the playoffs that year would have been mediocrity no questions asked. 2013, yes we made it to the Eastern Conference Championship, yes we had a string of injuries, and yes we had several call-ups to country last year. To me those are excuses though, 2013 was a continuation of the run-of-the-mill season 2012 was. Honestly and you can go back and look through my Twitter feed or ask @cisco0602 I didn’t believe we were going to make the playoffs nor do I feel we deserved to be there. If Tally Hall had not performed the miracles with his goalkeeping he did we would’ve had a horrendous record for 2013. He saved the year for us hands down.
Now let’s talk about our one moment of misery and in eight full seasons to only have one true moment of misery as a team is pretty damn good I feel. 2010, that year is a black mark for the franchise yet it is an important mark. That year we lost Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark to Europe and we lost Oliver Luck to his alma mater WVU. All three left due to opportunities they wanted to pursue and all three were important to the Dynamo in one way or another. That year also saw an injury occur to our star defender Geoff Cameron who was out half of the season. That year showed what would happen to us if we didn’t have proper support in the front. There is honestly nothing else to be said of the 2010 season it was just pure misery for everyone.
The Houston Dynamo are now at their Moment of Truth for the fans, what will happen now? 2013 showed we lacked attacking options. Will Bruin was off target far too often last year and looks to be continuing that form in the preseason (see the fan post by papabear perception-vs-reality for a great article on Bruin). Omar Cummings on the other hand looks to continue the playoff form he left us with, scoring multiple goals with the speed and tenacity that we signed him for. I will admit that I had Omar pegged as done due to his age and injuries but so far he is proving me wrong. Giles Barnes is continuing his form floating from CAM to FWD and doing quite well so no worries there.
But let us discuss the elephant in the room, Alexander López, our young DP who did not start the regular season due to acclimation and fitness issues. López is still not panning out in the preseason so far; the current question being asked is will he be another Luis Ángel Landín? There are far too many similarities for my comfort, when they both joined the team both were young (López 21, Landín 23). Landín was poised to be our new goal scorer, while López is poised to be our new spark in the MF to create opportunity for our goal scorers. When Landín was with the club he had fitness issues that he was not able to work through, López has fitness issues right now and is struggling to work through them. López is supposed to carry and lead an overcrowded position, but has yet to truly step up to the role. Others are stepping up to the plate while López is not. What will become of López this season?
Two comments were made in the DT article Why we haven't landed our Michael Bradley yet "Keep in mind, names like Brian Ching, Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia, Tally Hall, aren’t considered big names, but to us they are huge players. Honestly, those 4 guys could compete against any 2 or 3 DPs and yield similar results…and they have." The second being "As far as I am concerned, keep bringing in guys like Driver and Barnes who provide quality depth at a fraction of the cost of a bigger name." While I feel it’s great for the team to bring in depth to cater to the "us" of the fans what about the rest, the every day or casual fan?
Sure Driver and Barnes have done great things for us and brought us near the top, but we need someone to push us over to get us that title to help draw in that every day and casual fan. That’s why we need to adjust and spend that money on someone like Drogba or Eto’o who can score the goals and bring us over the top and get us that trophy.
So I ask the question what will the 2014 season bring the Houston Dynamo Fans? Will it be that Moment of Magic? Will it be that Moment of Mediocrity? Or will it be that Moment of Misery? While I’m hoping for that Moment of Magic, unless we can get a forward or a striker to step up and score goals for us I think we are poised for a Moment of Mediocrity, what do you think?
-Pete Hernandez @DynamoPete