@dynamotheory When does Lopez get the 'bust' label? Paying $1M for a player that can't get any PT in this Dynamo squad...— Alton (@SlaptheHam) April 24, 2014
A lot of people are asking this question right now, including myself. On the one hand, as you stated we paid a lot to get Alex Lopez and as of yet he has been a big fat nothing. On the other hand, he is still quite young with time to develop. The problem with the latter is we don't have time for him to develop, and as fans we would expect spending that kind of money he wouldn't need significant time to develop.
Up until recently (read: the last two to three weeks), I have been willing to give Lopez the benefit of the doubt. Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional de Honduras is a cakewalk compared to Major League Soccer, and so it would serve to reason there should be some adjustment time. While Boniek Garcia burst onto the scene almost immediately, he was more refined and polished defensively compared to Lopez. I think, if anything, the last part is exactly why Lopez still hasn't seen significant minutes under Dominic Kinnear.
Dom expects his midfielders to cover back on defense, and frankly Lopez doesn't put in enough effort tracking back. We saw it in CCL and preseason matches, but he is getting better to some degree. I just don't see enough improvement though to warrant him starting, and ultimately when you pay that kind of transfer fee as a MLS club, you expect a starter.
I think even at this point we can use the bust label for Lopez simply because he isn't even being mentioned for the Honduras National Team, and that says more than enough.
I know there is a large Houston-based El Salvadoran community, but I'm not sure Zelaya is the answer. Yes, he'd be a good draw for the El Salvadoran fanbase, but realistically would they make extra effort to come out to see him if he struggles? It isn't like the Honduran community makes great efforts to come out to see Boniek play for the Dynamo.
Therein lies the issue with targeting players for the possible fan draw. With that said, Zelaya as a player is fantastic and would be fun to watch, but ultimately I fear he'd be much like Alexander Lopez. Maybe he'd cover back on defense more, and it would help Dom consider starting him. It is just a lot of assumptions to make for a player currently without a club or any starting minutes since last year.
With all of that said, Zelaya is out until October due to a one year ban by FIFA for match-fixing. Yeah, no thanks.
@dynamotheory why isn't the dynamo field as big as the rest of the league? And you think that hurts the dynamo when they play on the road?— Gabe (@theGabe777) April 26, 2014
This is a fantastic question, and one which we could spend days discussing. Dominic Kinnear had his pick of pitch dimensions when BBVA Compass Stadium was designed. The field currently sits at 70 yards wide by 115 yards long. For comparison's sake, Major League Soccer prefers fields to be 75 yards wide by 120 yards long, and currently Colorado Rapid's Dick's Sporting Goods Park sits at a whopping 80 yards wide by 120 yards long.
The Houston Dynamo are not the only club to utilize smaller pitch dimensions. Portland Timbers' Jeld-Wen Field sits at 75 yards wide by 110 yards long, as does DC United's much maligned RFK Stadium. Our pitch is currently the most narrow, with FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium the second most narrow at 74 yards wide by 117 yards long.
Dom likes the pitch a little bit more narrow to take the most advantage of Brad Davis' Left Foot of Glory on set pieces and corner kicks, and if we're being honest it has worked to a 't'. The drawback to a more narrow pitch is when you go on the road, as we've seen, your service has to adjust for the wider pitch dimensions.
The question asked if I think it hurts the club on the road, yes, I do. Just look at how service on the road is impotent at best, and how few goals we score from set pieces on the road throughout the season. Will it ever change? The better question is how much longer do we have Brad Davis?
Most fans know Dom is loyal to a fault. He has his specific few guys he relies on consistently for everything, and when they don't pan out he is extremely slow to make changes. Perhaps it is to prevent fracturing their psyche or confidence, or perhaps he has seen players break out of times like these, but it is a trait of Dom's and it isn't changing anytime soon.
I think we're already seeing Dom's willingness to shift things subtly to suit the situation, and the longer these struggles go on the more Dom will be willing to make those shifts. Bringing Omar Cummings in before the 80th minute to replace Will Bruin a few matches ago may be the most damning move we've ever seen Dom make.
As far as time frame, I'm saying after World Cup in July or August is when we'll see the big change if one is coming.
Will Bruin has taken a lot of heat for the lack of goal scoring, and if we're being honest the heat isn't unfounded. On the flip side, defensively the team is struggling as much if not more, and yet we all seem to be willing to Kofi Sarkodie a free pass. Sort of.
He was held to the fire for the red card, even if I personally felt it was overly harsh. He's been held accountable for mistakes he's made mentally, and has even himself owned up to them. He's been involved offensively, offering up a couple of solid opportunities at goal while also contributing with service into the box when warranted. Truthfully, as an outside back, he has done almost everything asked of him and more.
And that is precisely why most fans haven't called for him to be swapped out for another player. He's doing what you'd expect from an outside back and done it admirably, but the same cannot be said for Will Bruin as a forward.
Who do you feel more secure with long-term, Corey Ashe or Kofi Sarkodie? Ashe is older and more experienced, and Sarkodie is younger, but really just a small bit less experienced at outside back. There is more potential for Sarkodie in the long-run, thus the higher salary (which was also dictated by Kofi's time as a Generation Adidas player).
Great questions once again, and I look forward to the next set of questions and trying to answer them for you.
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