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Monday Morning Centre Back: Fire Up the Combine, Harvest New Players?

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The Dynamo finished a four day Invitation Training combine last week, taking a look at several players looking to be a part of the 2011 roster. We should hear something in the new few days to a couple weeks as to whether or not any of the invitees impressed the coaching staff enough to be offered either a trial or a contract. The entire combine process is a bit hit or miss, but in a league like MLS where there is a real opportunity for an unknown name to make an impact, camps like this make a lot of sense.

The coaching staff will also be meeting this week to discuss the results of their various scouting trips from the past couple weeks. We presume there will also be some time spent discussing the dreaded protected player list that must be turned in to MLS next week for the Portland/Vancouver Roster Pillaging Extravaganza...otherwise known as the Expansion Draft.

Here is a recap of the participants in the combine and some notes provided by HoustonDynamo.com

Nelson Akwari, DF, 28: Sturdy Houston native who went to Strake Jesuit, played for the United States in the 2001 U-20 World Cup and playing for seven different teams in North America, including three in MLS, during his professional career. He played the 2010 season with the Vancouver Whitecaps but is not in their plans for 2011.

Yordany Alvarez, MF, 25: Cuban defector who trained with the Dynamo during their final week of the regular season. He has played the last two seasons with the Austin Aztex.

Chance Bergen, FW, 18: Cy Woods High School graduate who has notched three goals and one assist in five games for the Dynamo Academy this year.

Pablo Brenes, MF, 28: Experienced Costa Rican midfielder currently playing for Brujas in Costa Rica after playing for the MetroStars in 2004 and Deportivo Saprissa from 2005-08. He has played in the Olympics and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Emmanuel Gaytan, MF, 24: Experienced Mexican attacking player currently at Puntarenas in Costa Rica after beginning his career with Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico.

Omar Gomez Galicia, MF, 30: Veteran Mexican who has spent the last several years in Mexico's Liga de Ascenso, the level below the Primera Division.

Jade George, FW, 18: Tall, lanky forward with outstanding speed who graduated from Langham Creek High School and has shown flashes of potential in the Dynamo Academy.

Risto Lakic, DF, 27: Montenegrin international who spent most of his career for Buducnost in his native Podgorica, Montenegro, with recent stints at Partizan Belgrade and FK Vojvodina in Serbia.

Gherland McDonald, MF, 24: Costa Rican had brief stint with Colorado Rapids in 2007 but not appear in any MLS games. He has most recently played for Barrio Mexico and Brujas in Costa Rica.

Brandon Poltronieri, MF, 24: Born in Los Angeles, Poltronieri has dual American/Costa Rican citizenship and has also played in Portugal. He is currently playing for Brujas and was one of the most outspoken communicators on the field Wednesday.

Pablo Salazar, DF, 27: Defender currently with Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR).

Jhonatan da Silva, MF, 21: A stocky, left-footed central midfield player from Atletico Paranaense in Brazil.

Diego Velazquez, FW, 18: Dynamo Academy forward who graduated from San Antonio's Johnson High School and has netted one goal this year.

Yedi Zahiri, MF, 25: Speedy wing midfielder from France of Ivorian descent, he most recently played with White Star Woluwe in the Belgian second division.

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Apparently there were two Conference Finals this week. Someone won, somebody loss, somebody is going to play in a blizzard (hopefully) next week in Toronto. Yay. As part of MLS Cup week, Don Garber will have his "State of the Union" press conference tomorrow. In addition the 2011 Best XI list will be released as well.