With 2019 coming to an end, now is the time to reflect on what an interesting decade it has been for the Houston Dynamo. We have been extremely fortunate ever since the Dynamo first arrived from San Jose back before the 2006 season. The early success we saw likely played a factor in raised expectations for this club by fans and while the early side of the 2010s saw a couple of trips to the MLS Cup, the last six seasons has only had a single year with a postseason visit.
The Dynamo at the moment are looking towards the 2020s with some optimism following the recent appointment of former USMNT U-20s Head Coach Tab Ramos as the current manager and the front office has been active this offseason to improve what was a disappointing finish to 2019.
We’re currently on the doorstep of 2020 and Dynamo fans rode the seesaw on the high side early and recently have been at the bottom. Still, there are a lot of great moments to explore that we’ve seen throughout this decade and it’s worth exploring what could potentially be THE Dynamo Team of the Decade.
Now, I’m putting out a similar article out tomorrow and that one will be about what is the “Best” Team of the Decade. It may sound very similar, but there are differences and in this Team of the Decade I want to emphasize legacy, longevity, skill, impact, and success. My next article will weigh skill and impact a lot more than other areas. So let’s get into some of the best players we’ve seen across this decade…and we’ll be using the most utilized formation the 4-3-3.
GK: Tally Hall – Tally Hall was the starting goalkeeper for the early part of the 2010s serving as the heir apparent to Pat Onstad. He was a two-time MLS All-Star (2011, 2013) and set a Dynamo franchise record for 12 regular season shutouts which he set in 2012. Hall was an excellent shot stopper, though some of his decision making and an injury saw his exit in the form of a trade to then expansion side Orlando City SC. He also scored a goal in CONCACAF Champion’s League, but that was in 2009 so it technically doesn’t count towards his accolades of the decade.
LB: DaMarcus Beasley – It was very tempting to slot in Corey Ashe in this position, but DMB has to get the spot since he’s been holding down the left back spot since 2014 when he first arrived in Houston. Beasley at times struggled to consistently be on the field due to injuries, but his speed never looked his age. He kept up with some of the quickest attackers in MLS and his intelligent play out of the back helped supply a Dynamo side that had transitioned towards speed and offense.
CB: Jermaine Taylor – Houston has had a lot of center backs throughout the 2010s so nailing down one that’s held down the position consistently wasn’t easy, but I have to go with one of the longest serving CBs (and occasional LB) in Taylor who played in both of the Dynamo’s trips to the MLS Cup this decade.
CB: Bobby Boswell – Like Taylor, Boswell appeared in both trips to the MLS Cup during the 2010s, Boswell will go down as one of the best Dynamo defenders, though his time in the 2010s was short as he was selected by D.C. United during the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft. While not the most agile of center backs, Boswell’s intelligence, positioning, and strength made him a force to beat.
RB: Kofi Sarkodie – Yes, this is my RB pick. I know there were better picks available such as Andre Hainault and A.J. DeLaGarza, but Sarkodie has them beat in terms of number of years played this decade, and Sarkodie had displaced Hainault as the starting RB and started in the 2012 MLS Cup when it was Hainault the year prior.
LM: Brad Davis – I mean, who else could it be at LM? One of the best left footed players in MLS history, the set piece maestro is third overall in assists and was the runner up MVP in 2011.
CM: Ricardo Clark – Clark made his return to the Dynamo in 2012 after a brief spell in Europe and while not quite the disrupting force that he was during his original run with the Dynamo, his intelligence and positioning made him a mainstay as a defensive mid. His quick passing out of the back also facilitated transitioning the ball from the back to the front, and he wasn’t afraid to rip a shot from range with accuracy.
RM: Oscar Boniek García – el Presidente has been and is a mainstay throughout this decade. The versatile midfielder and sometimes right back has experience across the right side of the field and in the center of the pitch. Boniek has fallen back defensively, but he continues to wow with his dribbling and link up play.
LW: Will Bruin – Not a winger by trade…by any stretch of the imagination, leaving out Bruin or the center forward I selected did not feel right and Bruin being the younger player made him the one that had to adapt to the LW. Bruin has been often criticized by Dynamo fans, but the Dancing Bear was a fantastic goal scorer when given proper service and support.
CF: Brian Ching – It’s tempting to go with Mauro Manotas here, but Ching’s impact by changing games, making others around him better, and showing up in the right places make him my CF of the decade. There are cases for others given Ching was only here for three seasons in the 2010s, but Ching helped the Dynamo get to a pair of MLS Cups which is pretty huge.
RW: Alberth Elis – I could easily slot in Giles Barnes in this spot and there is certainly arguments for it, but as the Dynamo have changed, the real face of the Dynamo, and the face of the “play with pace” style has been Elis. His speed, ability to take players on, scoring, and a knack for setting up players like Manotas and Romell Quioto for easy finishes helped make him one of the most dangerous attacking players of the late 2010s.
Manager: Dominic Kinnear – Not much else to say, the Dynamo have been searching for success in the post-Dom era and are still looking. In other words, Owen Coyle never had a chance here.
Bench: Tyler Deric, Corey Ashe, David Horst, A.J. DeLaGarza, Juan David Cabezas, Giles Barnes, Mauro Manotas