With MLS' drafting season nearly complete (the Supplemental Draft is tomorrow...more on that after the jump) we can start to get a better picture of what the Houston Dynamo roster will look like in 2011. The most obvious change is the youth movement, with several veterans not returning including Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney and Adrian Serioux. Through trades, signings and the SuperDraft, the team has added three new fullbacks and two new strikers, all 26 years old or younger and players than can contribute for seasons to come.
Despite all the contributions made by the exiting veterans, this roster turnover was needed and completely expected after last season's disappointing form that saw the Dynamo miss the playoffs for the first time since their move to Houston in 2005.
Until the new roster gets on the field and starts playing matches, we can't say for sure all the changes will be for the better but I'd personally be shocked if that wasn't the case. There will be serious competition in the defense, especially at the outside back position with Mike Chabala and Andrew Hainault being joined on the roster by Hunter Freeman, Jordan Graye and Kofi Sarkodie. I expect Hainault to move inside to his natural central defense position, with Chabala and Freeman the likely opening day starters, but that doesn't mean they can rest on their laurels.
The Dynamo will want Graye and Sarkodie to push for spots and there is no reason to believe that a solid pre-season couldn't change the coaching staffs mind.
In addition to those new faces, two Academy products are on the verge of signing contracts with the club. SMU midfielder Josue Soto and UNC forward Alex Dixon have received contract offers and are expected to be signed and ready to join the Dynamo when pre-season camp opens. While neither is expected to make an immediate impact, bringing in players under the league's home grown rules is the future of player development and it's nice to see the Dynamo Academy already producing signable talent.
After the struggles last year combined with the franchise's determination to win, you have to think that no position is safe. I think a competitive atmosphere going in to the pre-season will serve the team well and help turn things around in 2011.
More after the jump.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, MLS holds it's final draft of the off-season tomorrow. The Supplemental Draft returns after a two year hiatus, corresponding with the return of the Reserve League. Typically, the SuperDraft is four rounds, but that final round was dropped this year and became the first round of the Supplemental Draft...is your head spinning yet?
Players who were not selected in last week's SuperDraft are eligible for selection tomorrow and there is still some decent talent left. It's hard to say what the Dynamo will do, but there is potential to add some more depth to the roster and possible pick up a player that was overlooked. In addition, there is a little less pressure to pick a player that you feel has the best chance to contribute. Teams will be able to take a few more risk with picks and draft on potential or even a hunch.
I'll be posting the results of tomorrow's draft on the blog along with whatever insight I can provide (or find) on the player(s) the Dynamo select. At the point Houston holds the following picks: 7 (1st Round), 25 (2nd Round) and 43 (3rd Round).
Drew Epperley from WVHooligan.com provides some insight in to the best remaining players available in the Supplemental Draft.