The LA Galaxy celebrated winning their league leading fifth MLS Cup this past Sunday which officially brought the 2014 season to a close. As the Landon Donovan stories continue to pile up, those of us that aren't LA Galaxy supporters already have an eye on the 2015 season (and as Dynamo fans, we've had our eye on next season a little longer than most). Still, as MLS 3.0 and Dynamo 3.0 began to take shape, it's important for us to take a look back at some of the great players that accomplished so much in a very short amount of time here in Houston under Dominic Kinnear.
Last Monday I revealed the Dynamo Theory staff selected Dynamo All-Time Best XI. Well, this week, it's time to reveal how you all voted!
The criteria used for both surveys were the same (because they were the same survey). The formation was a 4-4-2, a nod to Kinnear's most utilized and favored formation, and players that played in multiple positions were grouped in the position that they found the most success in. For example, Corey Ashe played as both a midfielder and a defender, but is listed as a defender.
Here's who you think is in the best of the best for the Dynamo:
Goalkeeper: Pat Onstad
It should come as little surprise that Pat Onstad, one of the better (best?) goalkeepers in MLS history is our Best XI goalkeeper. Onstad was a two-time Goalkeeper of the Year Award winner in his career and his fieriness and leadership from the very back kept the Dynamo defense alert and in the game. Speaking of Dynamo defenses....
Defenders: Eddie Robinson, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Wade Barrett
The staff selections were identical to these selections, but those of you who did vote in this survey were much more conclusive than the staff. Eddie Robinson once again earned the top defender spot, and once again, by a single vote (congrats Eddie!).
Why these choices are great: These choices combine the hard-nosed, physical, and intelligent defending from Robinson and Boswell with the speed and athleticism of Barrett and Cameron which complement each other so well. Robinson, Boswell, and Cameron were all formidable in their aerial battles and Barrett is likely still in shape to suit up even with all his time spent as an assistant coach.
Midfielders: Brad Davis, Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark
Now we see some variation in the staff and reader votes. The staff selected Boniek Garcia over Stuart Holden which was not the same in this case. What I like about Stuart Holden is his decision making with the ball. He played all over the midfield during his time with the Dynamo, and his technical abilities, natural playmaking, and vision really separated him from the pack which earned him US National Team call-ups and a move to the English Premier League to play for the Bolton Wanderers.
Why these choices are great: A midfield with Davis, DeRo, Stu Holden, and Rico Clark all in their prime should frighten any MLS midfield, past or present. The passing, vision, and knack for goal by these players make this one talented midfield that can go head to head with just about any in MLS history.
Forwards: Brian Ching, Giles Barnes
Well, we're back to voting the same. Ching is a shoe in, but his striking partner in the Best XI was less certain and yet Barnes took 2nd in the voting in both our surveys by a fairly significant margin. Some of the players above had big games but shorter careers in Houston, some hadn't led the team to a third MLS Cup victory, and all vary in their technique as a forward. Barnes has really grown as a player since he came to Houston and really could be on the cusp of elevating his game to a new level.
Why these choices are great: Combining Ching's hold up play with Barnes's speed and intelligent runs just makes sense. Barnes and Ching are both excellent passers and the quick passing between the two could easily see one of them find the net.
So there you have it, we pretty much agree with every player with the exception of Stuart Holden versus Oscar Boniek Garcia. When I first thought of doing this, I wasn't sure how I would vote and I'm still not completely confident in my choices. That's okay though and is frankly a good problem. We have had a lot of talented players that have donned the mighty Dynamo Orange jersey in our short history in Houston and we've seen a tremendous amount of success over that time.
Whether or not I think Brian Mullan is more deserving than Stuart Holden on this list isn't as important as understanding why we each value certain players the way we do. Each one of these players has done something that has inspired awe. Whether it came from a game winning goal, an assist, a huge save, stop, or tackle, work in the community, or anything else - it's that magical feeling of a player on our team doing something great. Is greatness quantifiable? We tried, but the debate is just as important. How do you like your Dynamo All-Time Best XI?