It is just a matter of time until the Houston Dynamo announce their year-end roster moves ahead of the 2023 MLS season. The squad will have some holes in each position group to be filled during both winter off-season as well as the summer transfer window. Today, we will go over some potential candidates that could strengthen the defender group.
A lot of money has been invested into the defensive group the last few years. The club has fielded some expensive center back pairs, the left-back situation seems like a one-man job, and the right-back position has been a head scratcher. While general manager Pat Onstad and technical director Asher Mendelsohn seem to have a certain scheme they plan to implement, the reality is that whoever steps in as the next head coach will have the final say so on the team’s play style.
Miles Robinson – USA, 25 years old
Miles was set to be a starter for the USMNT before a he tore his left Achilles tendon earlier this year. Robinson is shown in the MLSPA free agency list to have a club option. However, Atlanta United seem to be hitting a critical bump as the franchise struggles to find their footing with many problems arising. Robinson found himself being arrested a few months ago for misdemeanor over a $5 shot. Injuries like an Achilles are hard to get back from, but Robinson still has plenty of quality and strength for a comeback.
Diego Reyes – Mexico, 30 years old
Here is the first Mexican connection due to the Hector Herrera effect. Diego Reyes contract is set to expire in 6 months time. The veteran played along side Hector Herrera at both FC Porto and with the Mexican national team. Reyes is an intelligent defender, who positions himself well to make a play. Diego is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his height allows him to be strong in the air. He will likely make the jump to the MLS next season, why not to Houston?
Federico Gattoni – Argentina, 23 years old
The young Argentine is the captain of San Lorenzo. He is a leader of men, who leads by example. Federico is a very physical defender, who times his strikes at the ball very well. However, he will accumulate his fair share of yellow cards throughout the season. Did that sound too negative? Anyways, he is also comfortable with ball at his feet and distributes the ball around the field due to his vision. The last attribute to mention is that Federico isn’t afraid to push forward in the attack when needed and is capable of scoring from corners and set pieces. Gattoni’s stock continues to rise, and San Lorenzo hasn’t been able to come to a new contract agreement, therefore Federico will likely be playing elsewhere via a free transfer.
Bruno Valdez – Paraguay, 30 years old
Bruno Valdez has been one of the best defenders in Liga MX for the last 6 years playing for Club America. His contract is up in 6 months, and he will likely be leaving the team from Mexico City. The veteran center back is a well-rounded player; solid on defense as a defender should be and a deadly striker when in the opponents 6-yard box. In 227 appearances with Club America, he has scored 27 goals and assisted on 8 others. Not bad. This would be a noticeable signing for sure.
Franco Escobar – Argentina, 27 years old
Escobar is a familiar face to MLS. He is currently playing with Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC. Franco’s contract is set to expire at the end of the 2022 season, sending him into free agency. The Argentine can play several positions on the defensive side of the ball but could potentially take over the right-back position. What better way that to possibly reunite Escobar with Tata Martino, huh? Alright, all jokes aside, Franco is a winner and the club needs winners to switch the mentality and culture.
Eric Miller – USA, 29 years old
Eric Miller wouldn’t be a sexy pick-up by any means. However, he is a versatile piece that Nashville shifted around the defensive line when needed and we know how much the team’s head coach Gary Smith loves defensive schemes. Miller has appeared in 43 matches since arriving in Music City, with 24 of them happening this season. Again, not the sexiest pick-up but one needed to change the dynamics of the team and competition to the right-back position especially if Zeca and Zarek Valentin are not here next season.
Tommy Thompson – USA, 27 years old
Tommy is the last current MLS player that I will touch on. He is also looking to have a foot out the door and into free agency, however, the San Jose Earthquakes do hold a club option to retain him further if they want to trigger it. Thompson has spent all his 9 seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes, tagged with a homegrown label. Thompson, like Memo Rodriguez and Marcelo Palomino for the Dynamo, might be looking for a new start at a new club. Increased competition and depth is the goal by bringing him in.
Raul Lopez – Mexico, 29 years old
Here is another Mexican international that’s contract is set to expire in the summer. Raul is currently playing for Toluca. El Dedos is another versatile player that can be moved around in the defensive line. His strength is holding down the right-back position, where he can go up and down the field to cover defensively and pushing the attack forward. Lopez has played more than 200 matches in the first division since his debut with Chivas back in the 2012/2013 season and has tallied 8 goals and 21 assists. Raul is a well-known name to LigaMX fans and has even capped for the Mexican national team in the past. Iron sharpens iron.