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 midfield group.
General manager Pat Onstad has mentioned in various interviews how he has a certain idea of what he would like for the club to play, no matter who takes over as the head coach. All parties would have to collaborate moving forward with Coco Carrasquilla and Hector Herrera as the two players to build around. If the system to be implemented is likely to run 3 midfielders than the missing link here would be a “6” or regista type of midfielder. That is if Hector isn’t a “6” like many believe he is. Here are some players that could potentially come in and shift pieces in the center of the field.
Artur – Brazil, 26 years old
Here is a player that has a connection with general manager Pat Onstad who was part of the personnel that brought Artur to the Columbus Crew. Artur is a physical holding midfielder that can distribute the ball around the field well after intercepting the opposition passes. Artur was a vital key for the Crew during their MLS Cup run in 2020. Now, the wheels are falling of the bus in Columbus as the club parted ways with head coach Caleb Porter. The club has an option to keep Artur another year per the 2023 Free Agent List released by MLSPA, however, Onstad could be looking for him to be the piece to solidify the center of the field alongside Coco and Hector.
Latif Blessing – Ghana, 25 years old
Latif Blessing has seen his minutes decrease during the 2022 season. This was not necessarily a big surprise since he is competing with top talents like Ilie Sanchez and Kellyn Acosta, who both arrived in the off-season for the Black and Gold of LAFC. Blessing has even gone to social media to vent some of his unhappiness, just to retract them and apologize for the misunderstanding. Interesting to say the least. Either way, Latif has still played in plenty of matches with LAFC and helped the team win the Supporters Shield. Los Angeles has an option to keep Latif another year per the 2023 Free Agent List released by MLSPA. Even if the team wins MLS Cup, the writing on the wall will likely see Latif leave the club.
Wil Trapp – USA, 29 years old
It is incredible how players quickly fall out of favor when it comes to the USMNT. It wasn’t long ago when Wil Trapp was wearing the captain’s armband for the Stars and Stripes. Trapp helped Minnesota United move up the table and make the playoffs in his two seasons with the club since arriving as a free agent from Inter Miami in 2021. Trapp has some of the best numbers in MLS when it comes to pressures, tackles, interceptions, blocks, clearances, and even aerial challenges won. He plays simple passes to the more talented players on the field after winning back the ball from the opposition. Oh, and Wil Trapp is another guy that was in Columbus during Pat Onstad’s tenure there. Minnesota United has a club option to keep Trapp around another year if they can come to terms.
Jonathan Osorio – Canada, 30 years old
Here is where we start thinking outside the realms of possibility. Jonathan Osorio’s playing style is more of an 8/10 role. He can be a box-to-box player or an aggressive player on the attack. Osorio helped Toronto succeed in recent years by propelling the team to reach the MLS Cup final 3 times and ending runner up in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. Oso was also a key player for the Canadian National Team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Now, he is out of contract with Toronto and likely not in the plans during a new age for the Reds and Bob Bradley. General manager Pat Onstad will need to pull all his contacts and a good amount of allocation money to sign Osorio, but the slim chance is there.
Kellyn Acosta – USA, 27 years old
Back to Los Angeles we go. Kellyn is set to be part of the USMNT World Cup squad, barring injury, and with his club still in the hunt for the MLS Cup his stock continues to spike upwards. Acosta is a well-rounded player that doesn’t mind doing the dirty work, actually he might enjoy it too much. Kellyn is a two-way midfielder, who can quickly read the game and make decisions as both a box-to-box number 8 and as a regista number 6. The club has an option that could see Acosta stay another year or heck, maybe longer if the club reaches the MLS Cup Final. Yet, the challenge of Houston’s project and money, lots of money, might just incite Kellyn enough to entertain an offer.
Ian Harkes – USA, 27 years old
Rumors were out there yesterday about the Houston Dynamo interviewing former D.C. United head coach, Ben Olsen. Let’s just go with the flow here for a bit. Ian Harkes is probably an unknown name for most, but the correlation is there. Ian played for D.C. United during Olsen’s tenure in D.C. Harkes has been in Scotland playing with Dundee United, helping the team win the second division and earn promotion to the Scottish Premiership. His contract is set to expire at the end of May. Harkes forte is to progress the ball up the field, always looking to build up the attack, and at 27 years of age his experience and skill would increase the competition of a depleted team with an uncertain future.
Victor Guzman – Mexico, 27 years old
A lot of the Houston Dynamo fan base have been asking for a Sebastian Driussi-type player after witnessing the success that he has brought to Austin FC since his arrival. Well, Guzman has a lot of similar characteristics that could make him successful if he was to make the jump to MLS, especially to Houston. In Victor’s eight seasons with Pachuca he won Clausura 2016 and was the runner up recently during Clausura 2022. Guzman and Pachuca are currently disputing the Apertura 2022 finals against Toluca. Guzman started his career as a defensive midfielder, but his former coach Diego Alonso saw that he was a versatile player capable of rotating anywhere in the midfield and even played him as a wing-back and striker at times. The midfielder is physical, with good individual technique with the ball at his feet and is able to create and finish in front of goal. As of today, he has appeared in 245 matches for Pachuca and scored 56 goals. Doesn’t the Houston Dynamo have a player with Pachuca ties? Let’s get the HH effect going here and land Victor Guzman.
Matias Rojas – Paraguay, 26 years old
Alright, here is a South American attacking midfielder in case another Mexican player is not what the club is looking for. Matias currently plays for Racing Club in the Argentine first division, where the club finished second in the table behind Boca Juniors this season. Rojas has slowly increased his game with Racing since his arrival in 2019, to the point of getting call-ups to the Paraguayan national team along with Sebas Ferreira. His stats aren’t as impressive as you might see but are similar to Bebelo Reynoso’s numbers before he made the jump from Argentina to MLS, and he shares similar attributes with the man from Minnesota United. Rojas could potentially be a diamond in the rough for a new team since his contract is set to expire in 6 months, therefore why not Houston?