It’s the calm before the kickoff. The time when anyone’s team could possibly win all the games and take the Supporters’ Shield AND the MLS Cup AND the US Open Cup and, if you are the Dynamo, win the CONCACAF Champions League. So how are the Dynamo looking ahead of that first whistle? We break it down.
How did they finish in 2018?
Houston had an up and down year that ending with them missing out on the MLS Playoffs after winning the US Lamar Hunt Open Cup. Ending with a 10-8-16 kept them out of the playoffs but they did get the satisfaction of defeating the LA Galaxy to make sure they also missed the playoffs. They fell victim to their own mental mistakes throughout 2018 allowing opponents to score late in the game giving up valuable points that would eventually keep them out of the playoffs.
DaMarcus Beasley - Dude is a robot
Juan David Cabezas
Chris Duvall - New face
Maynor Figueroa - New face
Marlon Hairson - New face
Sam Junqua - New face
Erik McCue - New face
Tommy McNamara - New face
Kiki Struna - New face
Matis Vera - New face
Joe Willis - Angry
Projected Starting XI?
Who is THE player to watch on your team and why?
Maura Manotas. Since joining the team in 2015 his playing time has grown steadily as has his goal scoring. Last year he played 2633 minutes for the club and scored 19 goals. He was was a big reason for their US Open Cup Championship and was voted player of the tournament after scoring six goals during their run. Houston has already played two games in the CCL and in their game this past week Manotas scored a brace in the second half to help them advance to the Quarterfinals. He is poised to finally make that Golden Boot run fans have been waiting for.
What was the big rumor involving the Dynamo this past offseason?
That the team would be losing Alberth Elis to the big money of Europe. Words on the streets was Elis had an offer overseas and wanted the Dynamo to make the deal happen. At the end of the day the deal didn’t happen, Elis is still in orange, and fans are breathing a sign of relief for the time being.
What did we learn last season about this team?
That the forwards are fast and the defense is bad at closing out games. Oh wait that wasn’t new was it?
What’s the new jersey?
It’s all about the energy kit, baby.
Expectations for 2019?
This is a tricky one because the team doesn’t just have MLS to worry about right now. They are back in the CONCACF Champions League for the first time in a long time. The team did a lot of work during the offseason to build up quality roster depth to allow the team to succeed in MLS and make a run in the CCL. Never one to spend the season on top of their respective conference there’s a good chance there will be some nail biting but that the team will make it into the playoffs and turn on the jets from there.
Will this team care about the Open Cup?
The Dynamo have a thing for back-to-back Championships. The offseason moves will allow them depth to take a stab at going back to back in the Open Cup.
What’s new in 2019?
Faces. In fact there are eight new faces on a team that tends to have little turn over. The team saw several players retire and one go in the Expansion Draft. They made improvements to the sometimes questionable back line bringing in Struna and Figueroa.
There are also new faces in the front office mainly that of John Walker who joined the Dynamo as President of Business Operations. Long time club president Chris Canetti left the Dynamo last October to work on the City of Houston’s World Cup Bid.
What’s the biggest concern for this season?
The Dynamo have a lot of competitions to juggle this year. While they worked to prepare the roster for the heavy rotation it still won’t be easy. A constantly changing starting XI can make it hard for the players to find their rhythm especially when so many of them are playing together for the first time.
They won their first CCL round and are now in the Quarterfinal but will have to balance the start of the MLS season with it. The team played Leg 2 against Guastatoya on Feb 26, kick the MLS season off on 3/2, and then face Tigres on 3/6 in the Quarterfinals. Three games in eight days is busy way to start things off after the offseason.
Anything new at BBVA this season?
The club had been working on several improvements to the stadium that will continue through out 2019. They are working on an enhanced sound system that will also feature on the concourse so fans can keep better track of the game.
Since the fans of the orange love their smoke bombs and MLS loves to punish them for it the club has put in smoke effects at each goal that will go off when the team scores. Goals will be an all out streamers and smoke party.
They have also worked to beat the heat that the city is known for. They put in three ‘Big Ass Fans’ that will be in different parts of the stands to help improve airflow throughout the stadium.
BBVA Compass Stadium will also be the first soccer-specific stadium in MLS to have a permanent Mothers’ Room and permanent Sensory Room. The Mothers’ room will have private nursing areas, a changing table and a tv that will make it so the busy moms won’t miss any of the action. The Sensory Room will be available to anyone who may have problems with sensory overload or is sensitive to sound.