Over the last several days, rumors surfaced that Andre Hainault has been trial in Scotland. On Wednesday, the Houston Dynamo confirmed the Canadian defender, who is out of contract, is indeed on trial with Ross County FC.
Today, reports have surfaced saying Ross County and Hainault have agreed to terms and the defender is set to join the Staggies in the Scottish Premier League.
Total MLS broke the news first via Twitter, and has since been followed up by the Houston Chronicle.
REPORT: Ross County of Scottish Premier League have agreed to terms with Canadian and former Houston Dynamo defender Andre Hainault.— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) January 10, 2013
How Does This Impact the Dynamo?
Houston's depth was tested in 2012 and 2013 is expected to be even tougher with around 40 games to be played in all competitions. Dominic Kinnear brought in Eric Brunner early in the offseason in what now appears to be a anticipatory move for the loss of Hainault.
In the defense, Kinnear will have his four starters - Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, and Corey Ashe - accompanied by Brunner and Warren Creavalle as reserves.
It's likely Kinnear could be on the lookout for another defender to ensure enough depth to cover unexpected injuries as well as extra games in the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League. With the 2013 MLS SuperDraft around the corner (January 17), I wouldn't be surprised to see the Dynamo take a defender they feel could make an impact similar to how Creavalle did in 2012.
Right Move for Hainault?
One has to wonder where this decision is coming from. Ross County may play in the Scottish Premier League, but they currently sit in second to last place in the table, with a -9 goal differential.
The SPL doesn't exactly stand out as a stronger league than MLS and it's hard to imagine that Hainault will grow as a player by making a switch to Scotland. With the emergence of Taylor and Sarkodie in 2012 accompanied by the addition of Brunner, Hainault may have seen the door closing on playing time in Houston. With Ross County, he could earn a chance to find his way back into a starting IV.
Ross County plays their games in Victoria Park, a 6,300 seat capacity stadium in Dingwall, Ross-shire. The Staggies gained promotion to the SPL after winning the Scottish First Division crown in 2011-2012.
What are you thoughts on Hainault's decision and how it impacts the Dynamo?