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Houston Dynamo 2022 ins and outs: goalkeepers and defenders

We look at each player on the roster and give our opinion on the chances they leave Houston this offseason.

MLS: Houston Dynamo FC at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 Houston Dynamo season has officially come to an end. While a number of teams around Major League Soccer are preparing for the playoffs, the Dynamo are getting a jump start on the offseason. The question on everyone’s mind is what personnel changes are coming to get the Dynamo back to a relevant MLS club fighting for playoff appearances and trophies. In the coming days we are going to go through the roster and use our best guesses and gut feelings to put a percentage on the chances that each player will be back next season.


Steve Clark

Dustyn: One area the Dynamo shouldn’t spend much time on in the offseason is goalkeeper. Clark signed as a free agent last offseason and bought into the project of a rebuild. The veteran had a solid season in goal and will be back between the posts in 2023. Chances of leaving: 2%

Rudy: A lot of things went wrong this season under general manager Pat Onstad this season, however, acquiring Steve was not one of them. Clark is a veteran player who understands the hard work needed on and off the field to get the fans behind his back. Chances of leaving: 1%

Michael Nelson

Dustyn: Nelson is what he is at this point. He’s a backup goalkeeper in MLS that probably isn’t going to blossom into a starter. You need a guy on the bench who can step into games and not be too much of a drop off, especially with a veteran starter like Clark. Is Nelson too much of a drop off? Maybe they can improve on him but backup goalkeeper is so far down on the list of needs for this team, I doubt they even spend time looking. Chances of leaving: 5%

Rudy: Michael Nelson is a strange phenomenon. He has been with the team since 2018 after being drafted 20th overall from SMU. However, the Katy Kid had it rough this season starting the final U.S. Open Cup match for the Dynamo which ended in a loss and then coming in for an injured Steve Clark against Philadelphia Union and getting 5 goals scored on. The life of a backup goalkeeper is probably one of the hardest out there. Chances of leaving: 20%

Xavier Valdez

Dustyn: The homegrown keeper had a good year with Dynamo 2 and broke onto the international scene but concussions shortened his season in 2022. Valdez will likely be back with Dos in 2023 and at just 19, should continue to develop, barring he stays healthy. Chances of leaving: 5%

Rudy: Here is one of the Dynamo Dos wonder kids. Xavier had himself a very good season playing in the MLS Next Pro league early in the season and in the summer he was vital in helping the Dominican Republic qualify for both the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2024 Summer Olympic games. Historic accolades for Los Quisqueyanos. However, injuries kept Xavier out of the team sheet towards the end of the season, but the soon to be 19 year-old has a ton of potential and growth in front of him. Chances of leaving: 10%


Adam Lundkvist

Dustyn: The Swedish left back has been one of the consistent performers for the Dynamo over the last few difficult seasons in Houston. Lundkvist has an option for next season but barring him wanting to leave, I think the club picks it up and he’s the starting left back again in 2023. Chances of leaving: 20%

Rudy: Whether the results are good or bad, one thing is for certain Lundy probably had himself a decent game. The man from Sweden has held down the left-back position since the departure of DaMarcus Beasley. However, he lacks competition in his position. Chances of leaving: 30%

Sam Junqua

Dustyn: Junqua never developed into the player the club had hoped for when they drafted him with the 8th overall pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. The California native turns 26 next month and you have to think there is better depth and competition for places on the back line. Chances of leaving: 50%

Rudy: Sam is a versatile player that we have seen play in some many different positions throughout his Dynamo career. He is an aggressive player that leaves everything out on the field. But like I mentioned previously, intra squad competition needs to improve and I am not sure if Junqua has hit his ceiling already. Chances of leaving: 85%

Tim Parker

Dustyn: His contract is really high, meaning teams aren’t going to be looking to trade for him, and Parker has been a captain for most of his time in Houston. He needs to step his game up and help lead whoever is on defense around him in 2023, but Parker won’t be going anywhere. Chances of leaving: 5%

Rudy: Parker signed a contract that would keep him here until December 2024. While Tim may have value, his high salary will deter a lot of trade interest from other teams around the league. The captain can be a player to build around next season, but he needs to be more consistent. Chances of leaving: 15%

Teenage Hadebe

Dustyn: The Zimbabwe international won’t be a Designated Player again next season, meaning he could potentially be a player the Dynamo could use in trade talks. But like Parker, he’s on a high salary, meaning there probably won’t be many suitors. You could do worse than a Parker-Hadebe center back pairing in 2023. Chances of leaving: 20%

Rudy: Hadebe is so fun to watch. He is comfortable with the ball at his feet and uses his strong build to gain ball possession from the opposition. He can be a bit clumsy which leads him to commit silly fouls. The great news is that he will not be a DP next season and likely will have his contract restructured as well. Chances of leaving: 20%

Daniel Steres

Dustyn: The veteran is out of contract now and will hit free agency this offseason. Steres had some memorable moments in Houston and provided good depth but there are other, younger, cheaper options for a back up center back. Chances of leaving: 95%

Rudy: Steres got more playing time that most of us expected this season and even found the back of the net a couple of times. Daniel is a serviceable veteran that slots into the starting line-up when needed. However, injuries hampered him as soon as he was looking in good form. Chances of leaving: 75%

Ethan Bartlow

Dustyn: The 6th overall pick in the 2021 SuperDraft, Bartlow began to blossom and come into his own this season. He still has room to grow and develop but whether it’s starting or being the third center back behind Parker and Hadebe, Bartlow will be in Houston in 2023. Chances of leaving: 1%

Rudy: The second year man finally saw action after injuries kept him off the field during his rookie season. At 22, Bartlow showed flashes of why he signed a Generation Adidas contract before being drafted by the Dynamo in 2021. There is still a lot that he needs to polish in his game but the potential is there as a future elite player in the league. In Houston or elsewhere. Chances of leaving: 25%


Dustyn: Micael is a big, strong, physical center back. He made one brief appearance for the senior team but spent most of the year with Dynamo 2. The Brazilian just turned 22 and looks to have all the tools to develop into a usable MLS defender. Unless another team comes after him with intentions of giving him considerable playing time, he should be back next season, probably bouncing between Dos and the first team. Chances of leaving: 10%

Rudy: If you had the opportunity to watch Houston Dynamo 2 this season, you might have noticed that Micael is a player to watch. The young Brazilian center-back is a man among kids, he is a physical specimen that moves like a butterfly and stings like a bee. He did see action with the first team as a substitute in a loss against Montreal, but Micael looked to fit in the league very well. Chances of leaving: 50%

Griffin Dorsey

Dustyn: Coming into the 2022 season, the Dynamo went out and signed Zeca to be their right back, all but ending Griffin Dorsey’s involvement. Fast forward to the end of the season and Dorsey is the nailed on starter at right back. Dorsey feels like a veteran but he will turn just 24 at the beginning of next season. Chances of leaving: 10%

Rudy: Dorsey, what are thou? Seriously, is it right-back or is it right-wing? We are not really sure, however, wherever he is on the pitch he gives you 100 percent and more. He will be 24 years old next season, and has shown qualities to be a starting full-back in the league but if Houston wants to make the step of being competitive next year and actually attempt to make the playoffs, players like Dosey might not be who you want holding the starting positions. Chances of leaving: 20%

Zarek Valentin

Dustyn: Valentin has an option next year and it’s pretty safe to say that the guy who spent most games on the bench in pants, with a coffee in hand, won’t be here in 2023. Zarek is a great veteran to have in a locker room, and a great guy to speak with after games, but it looks like both parties will be moving in another direction next season. Chances of leaving: 95%

Rudy: Zarek is a great locker room guy. He knows his role. He is a vocal leader. With that being said, he wears and keeps his sweatpants game in and game out. Chances of leaving: 90%


Dustyn: Like I mentioned above, Zeca was signed before this season with the intention of filling the role of right back. As the season wound down and Dorsey became the starter and Valentin was even getting minutes, it became clear Zeca was not long for Houston. The Brazilian also takes up a valuable international slot, which is even more of a reason he won’t be around in 2023. Chances of leaving: 98%

Rudy: Zeca was brought in by Paulo Nagamura. It took him some time to get in form to see the pitch. He wowed us with some pretty precise crosses in his first games but then we saw him trying to defend and oh my was it ugly. He found himself down the depth chart while Nagamura was in charge and was still down there the last 5 games of the season. Chances of leaving: 95%