Major League Soccer is back. The 2021 season gets underway with your Houston Dynamo taking the field against the San Jose Earthquakes tonight at BBVA Stadium. The club has gone through a rebrand and brought in a number of new faces. There are plenty of question marks in many areas of the team, so what can we expect? Here are three things to watch.
Raising the Curtain
The Dynamo will look to get the 2021 season off to a winning start against the Earthquakes. Houston opened the 2020 season with a home draw against the LA Galaxy in front of a sold-out crowd. Tonight’s game is also sold-out, but with a limited capacity of 30 percent, or approximately 6,500 seats.
BBVA Stadium has always been an advantage for the Dynamo, and they will need to keep up their fine home form if they want to improve on last season and even possibly challenge for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The New Captain
Boniek Garcia, entering his 10th season in Houston, will share the captain’s armband this season with the newly acquired Tim Parker. With the veteran’s minutes likely sparse this season, it seems that Parker will have the role of captain for most of the season. Parker, who came over this offseason from the New York Red Bulls in a trade involving allocation money, is the key defensive piece Houston have been desperately needing on the back line for a few seasons now.
Parker is an anchor at center back that the club can build around and his play this season will go a long way in determining how well the Dynamo do. If Parker can help solidify the defense, along with upping the play of those around him, the Dynamo could surprise some people in 2021.
Tim Parker is one of the eight new players the Dynamo acquired for the 2021 season. Parker is an unquestioned starter, and we are likely to see some more new guys join him in the starting eleven. Joe Corona, acquired in the re-entry draft, will likely start in the midfield and he could be joined by Derrick Jones, a versatile midfielder Houston landed in a draft-day trade with Nashville.
With Mauro Manotas gone, a new center forward will have to step up and judging by the preseason it looks like veteran Maxi Urruti will get the first opportunity. The Argentine has played for several teams in MLS and can find the back of the net at a regular clip when he is on form. If the Dynamo were looking for an Alberth Elis mold on the wing, a player with pace for days, they may have found one in former FC Dallas man Fafa Picault. Tab Ramos may look to use Picault tonight against a San Jose team that no longer has Nick Lima at fullback.