The Houston Dynamo are desperate for wins. Currently last in the Western Conference a year after finishing eighth, the Dynamo are trending in the wrong direction despite a roster that has the talent and depth to contend for a playoff spot. That signaled the end of Owen Coyle's coaching career in Houston as the two sides parted ways Wednesday night.
The Scottish manager, well-accomplished in the top two tiers of English soccer, hasn't adjusted well enough to MLS in his brief stay here leading to his departure. Often not on the same page as general manager Matt Jordan, Coyle was never able to implement the system he wanted and failed to effectively use the talent at his disposal. His mishandling of Erick Torres likely played a part in his firing.
Technically, he left because he wanted to move closer to home. That's the official reason, while the real reason was likely that Chris Canetti wanted to start winning games consistently.
That means the Dynamo need some new blood. Here are some of the major candidates for the position, and whether they would be a good fit:
Wilmer Cabrera: The current Rio Grande Valley FC manager is the most likely candidate to take over the Dynamo. Hired at the beginning of the season to manage RGVFC, Houston's USL reserve team, Cabrera has done well for them, leading RGV to fifth-place in the Western Conference after nine matches. His Hispanic heritage could allow to him to produce more results out of Cubo Torres than Coyle was able to.
Hiring from within would be good for the Dynamo, especially someone with MLS and USYNT coaching experience. The Dynamo need new blood, but not too new. Cabrera would be my choice.
Wade Barrett: Barrett was the immediate candidate that popped into many people's heads after Coyle was fired. He's been with the club as an assistant since 2010—meaning he's likely learned a thing or two from Dominic Kinnear—and he latched on as a player in 1999, the inaugural season. He is literally "Forever Orange."
I say hiring from within would be good, but hiring a hold-over from the previous reign is usually not the best idea. The Dynamo need somebody with new ideas and a new philosophy.
Jason Kreis: If he's not on Houston's radar, I don't know who is. Kreis has had loads of success in MLS, winning a cup with Real Salt Lake in 2009 and leading them to a playoff appearance every year from 2008 to 2013. He didn't do as well with New York City FC last season, but his legacy as a manager is not tainted.
Kreis knows the ins and outs of the league and American soccer in general. He would be a great hire if they can nab him.
Steve Ralston: I think one of the above three is most likely to get the job, but Ralston is a good option as well. He has coached under Kinnear for five full years (four with Houston, one with San Jose) and is familiar with the Dynamo front office. The former MLS star midfielder hasn't been given a head coaching job yet, so his lack of experience is a downside. Still, his MLS experience makes him a solid contender.
Louis Van Gaal: I hear Manchester United are moving on. Then again, I think the Dynamo are done with European guys.
This kid: This seven-year-old applied for a job in the Scottish Premier League: