I said it back before the season even began we need to give this team about 10 matches to truly know what we're dealing with. Everybody got spoiled by the first two wins, or moreover the first win, because the team was so dominant. The last few matches haven't been aberrations, but the scorelines aren't exactly the whole story either.
We all know Dominic Kinnear is a coach who if given the opportunity would skip the entire regular season and focus strictly on winning MLS Cup in the playoffs. He tends to be stubborn in making changes in the regular season, and I have to believe some of that is understanding if part of the struggles are mental then players, given time, will eventually break through. There is a problem with that thinking though.
His name is Will Bruin. Having given him the benefit of the doubt for multiple seasons through multiple slumps, at some point Dom will crack and the Bear will return to hibernating either on the bench or for another team. In the interim, I think we all need to remember just how badly the team played for stretches of last season as well. Sure, we can expect improvement, but we also need to give them time to improve.
On the Generation Orange podcast a couple of weeks ago, Hal brought up this very point. It seems as time has worn on, In Dom We Trust, has become something of a cop out for when the team struggles. Essentially, the statement has become a way for fans to write off any slump as an expectation rather than a concern. In reality, though, I think we're nearing a point (10 matches is my point of no return) where we need to take a closer look at the underlying problems.
What are the underlying problems? I think the question could be a post unto itself, but in short: lack of finishing, lack of mental fortitude when faced with obstacles/struggles, excessive mental lapses along the back line, lack of vocal leadership, lack of leadership/next man up, and finally, lack of adjustments to opposition.
I'm sensing a theme with the questions this week.
The drastic change won't occur, at the earliest, until the summer. Whether that entails a change in personnel on the field or off the field depends on a few factors. Does the Front Office believe in Dominic Kinnear's philosophy and tactics with the ever changing dynamics of Major League Soccer or does the Front Office believe in the current make-up of the roster being able to implement and produce from within Dom's tactics and system?
I think if either of those are a 'no' come the summer transfer window, we could be looking at some roster changes at the very least. Truthfully, I believe we're looking at some roster changes either way, even in spite of our current salary budget situation.
If there is one thing the team can do after ample time (10 matches), it is tactical/style of play changes, but if we're being completely honest with ourselves it isn't going to happen until the summer either. Dom may change some minor things, but I don't expect we'll see massive overhauls unless the Front Office dictates it. The chances have been there, we just aren't finishing them.
So far we've touched on the struggles on the field, changes to personnel on the field, changes to coaches, and now we've finally hit the big one. If a change is going to happen within the structure of ownership, two things must take place.
First, AEG must sell their portion (majority ownership stake) to someone willing to improve the club. There are opportunities available, but currently this is a tricky situation for AEG. Most likely, AEG has no intent to give up their stake in BBVA Compass Stadium, and no potential majority owner is truly going to want to purchase their majority stake in the Houston Dynamo (and now Houston Dash) without some ownership of the stadium. If a potential buyer came along willing to leave AEG with the stadium, then I think a deal would be made rather quickly.
Second, Oscar de la Hoya and Gabriel Brenner would need to be willing to also sell their stake, which amounts to about 49% combined between the two. Part of the problem facing the Houston Dynamo Front Office is whenever a potential transfer is placed on the table, it has to be approved by each ownership group (AEG, Golden Boy Productions and whatever Gabriel Brenner's groups name happens to be). In other words, Chris Canetti has to seek approval from three entities who each have slightly different interests and intentions with their stakes.
This isn't to say the situation and requirements can't change, as there is an incredible ebb and flow to business in general, but in layman's terms those two things would have to take place prior to any discussion of true ownership change.
This one gets to be short, yay! All you need to know about Will Bruin's struggles right now is summarized in who Dominic Kinnear pulled from the pitch in favor of perennial substitute Omar Cummings. It wasn't Giles Barnes, who is in his own struggle since the beginning of the season. It wasn't a midfielder, such as Andrew Driver or Tony Cascio, who looked overmatched along the flanks for vast majorities of the match against New York. It wasn't a defender playing piss poor, such as Warren Creavalle who was beat so badly on the night I could have sworn I heard Dom give him a straight up F* You.
It was Will Bruin. And that is all you need to know about that.
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