Wade Barrett has been a long term member of the Houston Dynamo. Bringing him on as the full time head coach would have been a feel good opportunity. Everyone is happy when a member of the family is rewarded for their dedication and hard work. But this was not the moment for Wade. The 2016 Dynamo season was headed for turmoil before it even got started. Questionable roster moves and contract changes made the fan base uneasy. The injury bug began attacking in the preseason. And really, the season was doomed a year earlier when Owen Coyle was brought on. The way everything played out shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. Barrett was handed a monumental task and had the deck stacked against him. You are probably very familiar with all the details at this point; injuries, attrition, and generally a lack of top talent everywhere on the field. More info on that and the positive contributions Barrett made here. But it all comes down to one simple problem: The results just weren’t there. There is no doubt that Barrett was a professional coach, implemented a strategy that brought a competitive spirit, and had player support. However, with growing fan discontentment Matt Jordan and Chris Canetti simply could not retain any of the uncertain aspects from this disastrous season. If a path to resurgence is not found quickly the damage to the club will worsen.
When you take a close look there are a few positive aspects that will help the Dynamo turnaround. There are players on the roster that every club needs. Glue guys, hard nosed players, hustlers, the kinds of guys that make a team click, Alex, Wenger, Deric/Willis, Garcia, Clark. There also are the young guys who recently received some top level playing time, Manotas, Arboleda, Brown, Escalante. This is the clincher for the Cabrera hire. Not only has he had great success this season at RGVFC with many of these players, he has a long track record of development in youth soccer. Add some talent in the offseason and you’ve got a lot to work with. If Cabrera fails to bring this program back to relevancy that’s completely on him, but in the process you probably have developed a few great young players. If you keep Barrett and he fails then the decision was poor because Barrett did not have the tools to develop the young talent as well as manage the team.
Bringing in Cabrera is not without concern. I’m a little dubious on the value of Cabrera’s MLS head coaching experience. The suits talking it up sounds like CYA for hiring him over Barrett. As it is, I hope Barrett does stick around, or at least that all parties involved keep the channels of communication open so he can come back when the time is right.